Just as I was ready to post a recipe for wild mushroom ragu, I got completely off track for a while with the horror in Boston. Then last week I was going to post a really delicious paprika chicken with spaetzle and I caught “some kinda bug” that landed me in the emergency room Saturday for a couple bags of fluids. Since I’m feeling a little better but not yet in my full upright position, let’s talk about something other than food this time.
Like how we finally have some beautiful spring weather here in New England. My husband’s busy flicking channels trying to catch baseball and the last games of the hockey season. I’m not much for watching sports on tv although I don’t mind an occasional night out at Fenway Park to see a ball game. Personally, I think there’s lots more action and fun going on down at the local Little League field.
For those of you not familiar with American baseball, it’s pretty simple to understand. It works like this:
Somebody throws the ball (the pitcher) at someone who’s holding a bat (the batter). Usually the batter misses and if he misses enough times he has to go back and sit down with the other guys. If he hits the ball, somebody in the field usually catches it…and he has to go sit down. If not he gets to jog (millionaires don’t like to run) to 1st base. Then other guys from his team get up to hit the ball so he can move on to 2nd base, 3rd, and finally home. It goes on like that for way too long. Of course there’s other things that happen and rules but most of it is throwing a ball, missing a ball, and guys adjusting whatever’s in their pants that for some reason always needs adjusting.
T-ball is the young kids version of the sport. Since you don’t want a 5 year old throwing a ball at another kid’s head, there isn’t any pitcher and the batter hits off a “T” or ball holder. They keep swinging until they finally/hopefully hit the ball and run to 1st base. Since there’s no outs, every kid gets a chance to hit the ball until you’ve gone through everyone and then you switch sides.
Anyway, back to when we first moved here…I showed up at a meeting in town one night thinking that I was signing Niki up to play on a T-ball team and came home with my car loaded with a bag of bats, balls, Little League approved helmets, a whistle and clipboard with the list of my team. I’m not positive that I got a whistle, that could have been when I went to sign Niki up for soccer and came home with my car full of soccer balls. My husband thought that me being a coach was a riot until I got one of the bats. Really, how tough is it to coach T-ball?
First thing… call all your kids’ parents to let them know when the practice and games are and what the kids should bring. I had my list ready and figured I’d start with a friend whose son was on my team…
“Hi Sharon, I’ve got Jordan on my team and we’re having practice on Tuesday. Have him bring his own glove and athletic shoes that stay on his feet.”
“Does he need a cup?”
“No, no, I’ve got a big water jug and I’ll bring plenty of cups for everyone… Sharon? Are you snorting coffee through your nose? Sharon are you ok?”
There, that went well and just 8 more calls to make. Now in my defense, let me explain that I had 2 sisters, no brothers and 1 daughter so the only cups that I’m familiar with are sippy cups, Dixie cups, and coffee cups. Any cups specific to little boys is not in my field of expertise.
Moving on to our first game since the first practice was cancelled due to rain. Coaching T-ball goes like this:
“Okay guys, we’re up at bat first so everyone sit on the bench until it’s your turn to hit the ball. Kaitlin, you’re first so put your helmet on. Aw, I’m sorry sweetie but we only have blue helmets and everyone has to wear a helmet.
ADAM, only the batter can swing the bat so please put the bat down and sit on the bench until its your turn.
Kaitlin, please put your helmet on because we have to start the game…I’m really sorry we don’t have pink…hey, how about if I put a pink sticker on a helmet for you next time? Excellent!
ADAM, stop swinging the bat and go sit on the bench!
Lookin’ good Kaitlin but why don’t we turn you around so you’re facing the ball – you can hit it better if you look at it”.
ADAM, Put. That. (deep breath) Bat. DOWN. and. SIT. on the BENCH.
That was so close Kaitlin, now just swing a little higher and try to hit the ball instead of the T.
ADAM take your glove out of John’s face.
You’re doing great Kaitlin, try again. No, no don’t cry, you’re doing fine…you don’t want to play any more? You want to try in a little while? Well ok, if you want to go sit with Mom for a bit you go ahead and then come back when you want to play some more.
ADAM don’t pinch Jill…or anyone else.
Okay, Garin let’s have you up here buddy. You ready?”
And didn’t Garin nail it out to left field! Wow this kid must have played ball…so why is he standing there?
“Awesome Garin, run to 1st base”. And Garin started running. Then he did a U-turn and came running back to me.
“Garin, that was great but you need to run to 1st base.”
So Garin’s standing there nodding and said…“Ok, but which one’s first?” Ewww boy…just assumed we all knew that but okay need to remember to cover some basics. He took off again after I pointed but came back to let me know…“you know I kinda figured that but I wasn’t sure so I figured I’d just check with you, thanks.” He started off again but before I could get the next batter up, there was my pal Garin back at my side…“Umm, coach? I got where 1st base is but after that do I run to 2nd base? Okay, and 2nd’s that one way out there? Good, that’s what I figured but I just wanted to check with you, thanks. Oh yeah, then after 2nd is 3rd base? Right got it, thanks. Oh, when do I come back here?”
Now you might be thinking, isn’t this kid out by now? I mean we just had a 10 minute meeting discussing all the places that Garin has to be in the next half hour or so. First, this is T-ball so remember, there are no outs and everyone gets to run the bases. Second, that ball that went flying out in the field? Let’s see it went something like this…
It went between Jason and Mark who then got into a wrestling match, kept going until it landed at the feet of Amanda who didn’t notice because she was just about done making the pretty dandelion necklace for her mother and then had to run off to the sidelines to give it to her. Brian did see the ball and ran over from the other side of the field but then threw it to 3rd base because that’s where his friend Michael was. Their coach convinced Michael to throw it to 1st base but it only went as far Jessica who was doing a cartwheel at the time. When she was done with the best cartwheel ever, she picked it up and rolled it past Brian on 2nd base who threw his glove at the ball then chased it and kicked it back to the outfield…you get the picture. And although Garin had plenty of time to get to 1st base standing up, he decided to do a slide into the base which annoyed Julie who then started pushing Garin off the base because that’s where she was standing. Julie’s coach and I ran out for a quick explanation about having to share the bases and we finally got around to batter #2…whew!
Usually you play until each player on each side has hit 4 times but the other coach and I agreed that for the first game 3 innings was plenty and the mosquitoes were starting to bite. Plus I had to get back to my bench to stop Adam from bonking the bat off the other kids heads to see how tough the helmets were.
And my husband thought I didn’t know enough about baseball to coach T-Ball!