Take Me Out To The Ball Game

We just started a new adventure with Davey…t-ball!

From the start, my husband and I decided that we would encourage our boys to participate in everything extracurricular.   This doesn’t mean they must choose one thing, nor does it mean that we’ll push our dreams or visions onto either one of them.  We just want both of them to have the opportunities to explore, to play, and to learn the value of teamwork.

Stretching before practice.
Stretching before practice.

Up to this point, Davey’s only foray into the sports world has been soccer.   He’s played 2 seasons of it and is already registered for a 3rd season.   He’s not much of a player on offense, but he’s definitely learned his role as a goalie.   I was amazed at his persistence and resiliency last season as he blocked goal after goal after goal.

As with anything we endeavor in with our boys, my husband and I have learned to not have any expectations, at least not now.   Henry has yet to have the opportunity to play in sports, but Davey is still young and learning.   I may have once harbored some dream somewhere of having an all star athlete in Davey, but reality set in and I just want him to have fun and to have the opportunity to decide what he wants to do.

practicing his run around the bases.
practicing his run around the bases.

So, with two seasons of soccer under our belt, I decided to enroll Davey in his first season of t-ball.   We’ve practiced with him in the backyard, determined that he may be a switch hitter, and have encouraged him to participate.   He’s still learning how best to catch a ball and who he should throw it to when catching it.   Our expectations; however, are extremely low.

waiting on a ball to be hit his way.
waiting on a ball to be hit his way.

Tuesday we kicked off his t-ball season with his first practice.   He was adamant about wearing his cleats, the same ones he wears for soccer, and needing a baseball cap.  I tried to encourage his NY Yankees cap, but he kept deferring to his Buffalo Bills cap.   To each his own.

We had a nice little discussion of the need for him to NOT run around on the field, to listen to his coach, and to play nicely with the other boys on his team.  We’ve had this same discussion before each soccer practice and game, but it’s never sunk in.   This time something seemed to click.

ready for another opportunity to catch the ball.
ready for another opportunity to catch the ball.

I watched as my boy listened intently to his coach, stretched before practice, ran the bases, and learned how best to catch the ball.   I kept my mouth shut for once, not wanting to interfere or distract him.   I hung back and clicked away with my camera and watched in awe at how my once little boy now looked like a big boy ball player.

He went into the outfield and tipped his cap up to wipe his forehead before pulling it back down using the bill of the cap.  He then slid his glove on his left hand, balled up his right fist and punched into the palm of the glove, insuring that it was indeed fitting and in place.   Then he leaned over, knees slightly bent, and held out his glove, ready to catch (or attempt to catch) any ball that headed his way.   Boy, did he look like a real ball player.

the ball that rolled between his legs.  he'll get it.
the ball that rolled between his legs. he’ll get it.

I watched as the kids hit the balls off the tee, with some balls heading in Davey’s direction.  He hustled to grab a couple of them, but at other times seemed content to just stand his ground and allow for others to get the ball.  One ball rolled between his legs as he tried to snatch it up, but he immediately turned around and hightailed after it.

Finally, it was his turn to be up to bat.  For a couple of moments, there was a bit of uncertainty as I explained to his coach that we are unsure as to whether Davey is a lefty or not.   Once we decided on letting him hit left handed, he took his first swing, missing the ball by a couple of inches.   The next swing he hit the tee, but by the third swing he had a good solid base hit.

first time at bat.
first time at bat.

After hitting the ball, he stood there for a moment unsure of what to do next until his coach nudged him along to 1st base.   I watched with pride as my boy, both hands placed firmly atop his helmet to keep it in place, ran as fast as he could to 1st base.   With the next hitter, he had the opportunity to advance to second and again I chuckled as he held tightly to his helmet and tagged second.

second time at bat
second time at bat

My husband didn’t get the opportunity to watch Davey practice, but I took a bunch of pictures.  Last night, Dave and I sat down and looked at the pictures as I explained how well Davey did.

third time's the charm.
third time’s the charm.

“He looks sharp, doesn’t he?” my husband asked.   I saw the smile beaming across his face and could feel the pride swelling up inside of him.   My husband is a HUGE baseball fan and he’d sure be happy to have one or both of his boys playing baseball.   Soccer hasn’t really done anything for my husband.  It’s not a sport he played, nor is it one he followed.   Baseball is American’s past time.   It’s a good Saturday afternoon, eating a hot dog and peanuts, sort of adventure.

running to 1st base.
running to 1st base.

Davey has one more practice next week before starting the regular season.   Don’t worry, I plan to keep you all updated on his games.

Hey, batter, batter, batter, batter.  Swing, batter!


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