Tonight Tre and Max each had their first baseball practice.
So. If you’re wondering what happened to us, that’s it.
Seriously, I don’t know what I was thinking. I mean, yes, the boys were begging to play, and now that Clay is here to lend a hand with tiny details, like KNOWING ANYTHING ABOUT BASEBALL, it seemed only meet and right to give into their woeful cries.
But aaauugh. I mean that.
To start the season off with a bang, Tre had practice at 6:30 at one park and Max’s practice was at the same time at a different park. Fine. Clay took Tre, I took Max and Raphi, and we struck out to defeat the world of baseball. I wanted Clay to go with Tre, because I fear he’s going to need the most help, skilz-wise. Tre played t-ball once, many moons ago. I was pregnant with Raphi, as I remember. Tre was happy to have a t-shirt, and looked forward to the snacks, but was not exactly filled with fire for the game itself. When he was on base he liked to pass the time by raking up grass and hiding it under his hat. Then, when people looked at him he SMILED and yanked off his hat, causing grass to fly everywhere. OH WAS IT FUNNY! To Tre, anyhow. People were generally looking at him to scream, “RUN, TRE, RUN! NOW! YES, WE SEE THE GRASS! RUN!”
So. After that illustrious beginning his baseball career lay fallow for five years. You can see where I’d worry. So I sent Clay with him, and I toted Max to his practice. Seven year olds, how serious can that be? It’s like play baseball, right?
It’s like play baseball with seven year old boys. The coach got them all out on the field, tossing balls randomly, and then called out to them,
“Ok, guys! Who has played t-ball before?” Hands shot up, then were lowered, then shot up again. A dad hissed from behind the fence,
“Put your hand down, Scott!”
Boys twisted their caps on their heads, practiced bouncing balls on their shoulders, and made farting noises with their armpits.
The coach counted, then said,
“Great! Who has played TWO years of t-ball?”
Another show of hands, another feverish,
“Put your hand down, Scott!”
And then a mom called out,
“Mike! Put your hand UP!”
The coach counted, boys explored their bellies, nostrils, and peered into the depths of their gloves.
“Ok! Who hasn’t played t-ball at all?”
Max raised his hand, along with another boy.
“SCOTT. PUT YOUR HAND UP,” called his distraught father. Scott looked startled, but raised his hand. The novice players were herded off to one side, where one coach worked on throwing with them. Coach Heidi is fabulous, positive and encouraging and energetic. I, personally, would have driven a ball point pen in my eardrums to stop the noise if I was her, but she handled it with good cheer.
“Ok, Scott, here’s the ball! See? I’m going to throw it now. TO YOU! Catch it, ok?” Scott balanced his glove on his head and said,
“You know, I’m getting a puppy.”
“That’s GREAT, but right now it’s time to practice. Put your glove on. READY?”
Just then a mom ran on the field to usher the other boy away. He had apparently played t-ball for two years. Coach Heidi finally tossed the ball to Scott, who watched it roll past him. She told him to go get it and turned to Max.
“Ok, Max. Ready? Here goes.”
She tossed an easy ball to him; he caught it, and then opened his mouth to flap his tooth at her.
“I have a VERY loose tooth. See?” He waggled it with his tongue. “I can’t make it come out but it keeps bleeding.”
“Good catch, Max! Can you throw the ball back now? To me?” He looked startled to find the ball in his glove, and tossed it back.
On the sidelines I sat with Raphael, who entertained himself by pouring half his water bottle on us. I watched the mess of a baseball team on the field, wondering how one would ever ever get the fundamentals of baseball across to a group of kids who were still baffled by questions like, “Which is your RIGHT hand?”
The boy at bat hit the ball and ran for first. Having arrived safely there, he decided to try for second base, which he seemed to think could probably be found somewhere in right field. He ran off, oblivious to the cries of his coach and teammates. And he was one of the better players.
It’s going to be a long season.