Thursday, May 8, 2014

Herding Cats

I think I've devoted plenty of space in this blog in the past, giving examples to support my grandson's exceptionally gifted status so I'll just cut to the point of this post...are you ready?....T-BALL! Yes, the "most amazingly gifted grandson, in the history of grandsons, is playing t-ball!!!

OK, just as a note of explanation to those not familiar with the sport...t-ball is "baseball-light." That is, the players hit a baseball from a tee. After that, the only obvious difference between t-ball and regular baseball is that each player plays every inning and each player hits every inning. 

I have to say, this is the single best hour of my week! The kids have a great time, the parents cheer for every player, (often on each team), the coaches are encouraging to the players and the overall atmosphere is one of excellent sportsmanship. (It's unfortunate that doesn't continue very far beyond the t-ball field!) Wait, I forgot to mention that t-ball teams are composed of 4-6 year old (mostly boy) players...

I have to tell you about the coaches. Before the season's games started, I went to watch Carter practice. It was one of the first practices and the coaches were trying to teach the boys some very basic, fundamental, aspects of the game. They spent a majority of the practice time with the idea of "catch (or run after) the ball and throw it to first base." They practiced "catch the ball and throw it to first, catch the ball and throw it to first, catch the ball and throw it to first..." over and over and over and over. The boys thought it was great fun! Each time the coach bunted the ball toward a player, all of the boys would run to the ball. ALL OF THEM! There was no concept of left field, short-shop, first base or right field. Literally, every player on the field ran toward the ball to throw it to first base. I laughed so hard, my sides were splitting!

The next "drill" involved two boys who were to stand at home plate, then, when the coach hit the ball, one boy at a time would run to first base. Got it? So, the coach hit the ball guessed it, both boys tore out racing each other and all of the rest of the team toward the ball so they could throw it to first base. Hahaha! by now, I'm laughing so hard, I'm afraid I need to find a restroom! Pandemonium ruled the day!

The boys did get better, they actually learned what was going on pretty quickly and they continue to improve every week. But, there are several 4-year olds on the team, and being 4 years old means that you don't have a great attention span and if you don't keep yourself entertained, it might get a bit boring waiting for somebody to hit a ball near you; so, there is a fair amount of dirt drawing and pebble hunting and parking lot watching that goes on. BUT, let a ball get near any of the guys and they are all after it! 

I have to say, the coaches and team moms/dads are AWESOME! They are positive, upbeat and extremely patient with the players. I must confess, though, one of my favorite parts of the whole game is watching grown men try to control these little guys. It really is like watching them attempt to herd cats!



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