Skip to main content

The little boy's game

I don't doubt that regular visitors to this space are well aware of my love for the game of baseball.  I am passionate about the game and its traditions and like to think of myself as a student of the game, too.

These interests were magnified substantially when my son entered my life many years ago, as I met his mother and sister.  And as I've explained to my son over time, baseball is dynastic in nature, passed along from one generation to the next and the next.  And now that HE has a son, he sees that, too.  So it's been with a great deal of interest and pride that I have watched my now five-year-old grandson come to love and appreciate the game of baseball as well.

As I believe I have also noted here, my son began night classes in law school some 80 miles away, commuting there three nights per week.  As it happens, he started these classes about the time that my grandson's fall T-ball season began, and those games were usually played on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evenings.  With our law student away at class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and not available to help coach the team, as he had in seasons past, I've stepped in as needed and helped out.

My duties have usually involved being the first base coach when my grandson's team is at bat, and then staying on the field when the team is in the field, trying to keep these four to six year olds engaged and focused for safety as well as for good play.

Since my son didn't play as a younger kid, I missed seeing the chaos that often is T-ball.  Kids don't always know where to run, when to run, or what to do with that ball if it rolls in their direction!  So adult assistance is always essential to success, which is often judged quite loosely.

In any case, the final game of the fall season was Wednesday evening.  It was something of a special occasion, too, as our daughter and her family were visiting from Colorado.  And since it wasn't a class night, I assumed that our son would be coaching as he usually does when he's available.  But on that day he had a dental appointment, so it was understood he'd be there when he could.  My wife generally picks up our "local" grandchildren from school while both mom and dad finish the workday, and Wednesday was no different.

So we arrive at the field, and to add to the intricacies of the situation, the official coach of the team had injured his knee the previous weekend.  And the wife of one of the other parents who often helps to coach caught me as I arrived with our grandson and told me that her hubby wasn't going to be able to make it, and I'd be needed.  I nodded and helped get the players onto the field to do a little throwing and catching (which they hate, since all kids prefer batting to fielding).

Our son arrived from the dentist, but as the game started he didn't take a position on the field, instead taking photos of the team in action.  So I stepped back onto the field to help get our players positioned defensively, which is a loose description of what goes on.  Mainly, my job was to keep them looking toward home plate so that a well-struck ball didn't strike them, and also to keep them from playing in the dirt instead of watching for the ball!

Our defensive inning concluded and by default I wound up working at the plate with each of our players.  Customarily the coach from each team does that, to help the kids position themselves to hit, getting the height of the tee just right and so on.  I had never done that, so this would be something new.

Since the kids all know me as my grandson's grandfather (a couple even know that I'm "Poppy" to him and his sister and cousins) they weren't intimidated by a new face at home plate.  I made a point of asking each if the tee position felt right to them, made sure to place them at the proper distance from the plate so that they could make good contact, and offer encouragement as needed.  I'm pleased to say that virtually every player seemed to hit just a little better that game than usual, including my grandson.

The score is seldom the issue in T-ball.  Every player bats every inning, and even if outs are made they're not recorded and hitters remain on base.  But several of our players logged extra-base hits that night and I was glad I could help, at least a little.

So if anyone from the majors is reading this, there's a coach in waiting available for next season!


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Oscar Magico!

Good Monday morning to everyone!  If you're like me, and stayed up to watch the Oscars last night, you're a little sleep deprived.  I mean, after all, how often does an awards show end with a major twist in the ending?

If you didn't watch and have not watched or read the news, then you don't know about the colossal screw-up that ended what was a pretty entertaining Academy Awards show last night.  The final and biggest award, for the Best Picture, was being presented by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, selected apparently because 2017 represents the fiftieth anniversary year of their vehicle "Bonnie and Clyde."

In any case, after a brief political statement, the pair got down to business and introduced the nine nominees, then Beatty appeared a bit flummoxed by the contents of the envelope.  Dunaway laughed and said "you're impossible" and announced "La La Land," the odds-on favorite, as the winner.

In the midst of acceptance speeches b…

Learning opportunities

Good Monday morning to you.

Perhaps I should state up front that it's a bit of a blue Monday here in the Big Blue Nation, as our beloved Kentucky Wildcats went down in defeat to the arch-rival North Carolina Tar Heels last night in a wild and highly competitive game.  Kentucky's team never really got going in the first half, owing to foul trouble for three starters, and that foul trouble and lack of rhythm carried over for the rest of the game.  Somewhat miraculous that Kentucky had the lead at a couple of points late, but Carolina's depth and experience won out.

Though my wife doesn't agree, that's pretty much the end of basketball for me this year.  I don't watch much other college basketball except to see who Kentucky might end up playing, so if they're done, I probably am, too.

My company is getting into a new aspect of business that you've probably seen and heard about, but because I don't talk in detail about work in this space, I won't el…

Stunningly apathetic

Good afternoon to everyone.  Unusual day and time to post, but my schedule got a little fouled up this week.

Are you planning to watch the Super Bowl?  For a number of years, starting when our kids were, well, kids, we really made a big deal of the day of the big game, buying special snacks, planning a menu appropriate to the site of the game or the participating teams' cities, and so forth.

Last year was great, since the Denver Broncos won and our daughter and her family are season ticket holders!

But this year?  Hard to get excited about the New England Patriots (again) and the Atlanta Falcons.  Admittedly, the Falcons have a Kentucky native and UK grad on the roster, tight end Jacob Tamme, but he was injured mid-season and won't play.  But otherwise, the Falcons don't have any players who command a high level of attention from me.

And then there's the Patriots.  Sorry to my friends in the northeast, but I don't care for the team owner, the head coach, the offens…