The sun was baking, the bugs were flying, and the breeze was all but existent. We knew it would be tough, we knew it would be long, but we hoped he would make it through, with the resilience of the Doser he is.
Being in the heat for an adult can be brutal, but playing tee ball as a 4 year old, takes exhaustion as well as stamina to whole new levels.
Saturday was our first tee ball game of the season, and it was a double header at that, on quite literally the hottest day of the year. Should I have been surprised, nearly 41 years old and a lifetime living in the South? I wasn’t. As a matter of fact, I thought back to my grueling summer days of band camp, and knew that if I could survive eight hours of that torture, then my flesh and blood, my first born, would be able to survive 2 hours of tee ball.
As the kids slowly trickled in, their parents in tow with chairs, sunscreen, bug spray, cameras, and coolers of drinks (wait maybe that was just me), a little pre game practice began. Just as the game was to start, the water seemed to break, or maybe the kids were just looking for an excuse to avoid the inevitable game, and the entire team trekked inside to the bathroom. Quite the crew they were, and more entertaining for me was seeing my husband as the leader of the group.
Bathroom breaks were over, all teammates were present, and it was time to start some tee ball. As my husband gathered around the teams, he quickly reminded me of one of the many reasons I love him so. Removing his cap, and encouraging the kids to do the same, he went down on bended knee, head lowered and thanked our Lord for the day, the children, and the opportunity to play. And then with an “Amen” he stood up and proclaimed, “let’s play ball.”
So, the thing with tee ball and 4 &5 year olds is that they don’t have much patience for being in the outfield. Waiting on a ball to come their way is excruciating. It’s akin to waiting for that boy or girl who you really have the hots for, to call you. You wait and wait and wait. You hope and pray for that ball to come your way, and much like when the phone rings, when that elusive ball is hit, you immediately jump and run for it. All of the kids run, not just the one who it was hit towards. I watched in amusement as the first ball was hit towards first base and the poor kid in left field nearly ran over all his teammates just to get the ball. They reminded of the seagulls from Finding Nemo, with their shouts of “mine, mine, mine” as they scrambled to be the one to get the ball.
When they’re at bat, it’s a whole other world. Their excitement is intoxicating. Their eagerness to hit the ball as hard as possible and as far as possible inspires even the laziest of us to want to do more. Davey looks like such a big boy until he puts on a batting helmet, and then he’s immediately reduced back to my little baby boy, but he chokes up on the bat, offers himself as a switch hitter (yes he hits left and right), steps into the swing and hits the ball. At times it’s a foul, but he still makes contact.
Tee ball is exciting for me, more so than soccer, maybe not as much as football, but we haven’t gotten there yet. Tee ball represents America. It’s the beginning stages of baseball, America’s pastime, and reminds me of all things warm and like home. I love that Davey wanted to take it back up again this season. I love that he’s learning to hit a ball that’s thrown at him. I love that he gets into his catcher’s stance and has even asked for a big wad of gum to chew.
For the next six weeks, our lives will be inundated with hot summer nights on the baseball field, steamy Saturday mornings at the same place, an overabundance of Gatorade, batting practice, catching stances, and we might even throw in some hotdogs and ice cream. When my little Davey Doser is at the bat or in the field, this mama, as always, is his biggest fan.
With his daddy as coach, he seems to have taken to the game a bit more, or maybe it’s just because he’s a year older with a bit more focus. Who knows!
Hey batter, batter, batter!