Tuesday, October 2, 2012

THE PEANUT GALLERY: Model Tee

If I could do it all over again, I would play little league baseball. You would think a guy like me with a love of the game like mine would have played throughout his childhood. But my parents owned a swimming pool business and baseball season was their busy season. I don't blame them, but if I could go back I'd tell them the put the kid in for at least one season.

So we're breaking new ground with Peanut playing t-ball. As a result, every little thing she does on that field is magic. Especially this:

Lord Helmet.

She knew she looked awesome in that batting helmet yet tried her best not to smile. My helmet euphoria was short-lived, however, thanks to a mom who felt the need to vocalize her concern about head lice. Total buzz kill. I had the itches for Peanut's entire trip around the bases. Oh yeah, she smacked a hard single to left in her first at-bat: 

Little Slugger
I had no expectations of this entire experience. When I first asked Peanut if she wanted to play t-ball, she immediately answered, "Yes." It was one of those pleasant surprises you cherish as a parent. As I've mentioned before, while she likes playing the sport, she doesn't like watching it. I feared her experience of being bored at a baseball game would sour her on the national pastime. But no, she was excited.

I was hopeful she'd be really into it. Then on the first day, she shattered my dream in an instant by refusing to practice with me like a lot of the other kids were doing with their dads. Instead, she sat on a bench with My Director, and complained, "I wish I were home so I can get nice and snuggle-y." It was one of those early autumn days, the first chill of the season coupled with an overcast sky made her pine for a lazy Saturday.

Then the coach blew his whistle and she was off, game face squarely on. When they asked for parents to volunteer, you know I gladly jumped in to help. First up: base-running drills. Peanut was the only child in the group who did not listen to me. Fine. I get it.

Then we moved on to pop-ups. Noticing Peanut taking instruction from everyone except me, I gave her an out. "Do you want to go with me or go with the coach?" With a sheepish grin, she pointed to the coach. Message received. Loud and clear. I backed off and just watched. A few tosses later, she caught her first pop up.

Pink hat. Pink glove. 
On the car ride home, I told her, "It's ok if you want the coaches to teach you and not daddy."

"Yeah," she answered. "Because you were kind of distracting me, daddy."

Way to lower the hammer, Peanut.

Please stop taking my picture.
That is fine. Just watching her play, watching her run the bases and swing the bat and field a ground ball makes my insides dance with joy. It's like watching her open her presents on Christmas morning, but I'm the kid.
"Daddy, if I smile this once will you leave me alone?"
On the third week of t-ball, they played an actual game for the first time. As we parked the car and walked toward the field, Peanut asked if I'd practice with her. A complete 180 from two weeks before. My heart soared. "Absolutely," I said. We fielded grounders and pop-ups for ten minutes. I was in my glory.

Maybe I am living vicariously through her, at least a little bit. I want her to have something I never did: a baseball-playing experience. That's what she's getting, as she stands there stationary in the field as every ground ball rolls by her and the boys on her team form a rugby scrum on top of it. Luckily for her, I have no delusions of grandeur. I just want her to have fun.

We discovered a few months ago that Peanut may have some natural baseball ability, as I wrote here. She does not, however, enjoy watching a game.

7 comments:

  1. Wonderful time in your life, so enjoy it! How soon they grow up. :( Great blog, thank you for sharing your family with us.

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  2. i'm a mom of 3 boys and my husband is a coach, bball fanatic and college player. we live on the town fields. best thing you can do is what you're doing - watch and enjoy and let someone else do the coaching.. plus, you might want to consider getting in a little dad softball league of your own. never too late. :)

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    Replies
    1. It's a lot of fun to watch. God forbid I don't teach someone else's kid how to turn a double play correctly. No thanks.

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  3. No, no, no. They generally have adult slow pitch or fast pitch softball leagues. YOU get to play. You still can. You're not dead, you can play. My hubby picked up ice hockey 4 years ago. At the tender age of 43...

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  4. Love your blog & love reading about your love for your daughter. More men should take note & not be afraid to openly show their awe & wonder & love of their children. Thank you for setting such a good example!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love your blog & love reading about your love for your daughter. More men should take note & not be afraid to openly show their awe & wonder & love of their children. Thank you for setting such a good example!

    ReplyDelete

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