T-ball distractions

T-ball and competition amongst 3-4 year-olds

So I was fairly surprised when Sebastian’s T-ball classes turned into a full blown league, complete with team names, different colour T-shirts and yellow baseball caps. However on reflection, it may be that the element of competition introduced early will engender a sense of competitiveness…

It turns out this is true, but not in the kids. To my relief, they are much more interested in other stuff, such as ‘where is that bee going?’, ‘what is up my nose?’, ‘what is my mum/dad/brother eating?’ and ‘ooo, flower’ !

It is the parents who have the competitiveness that drives them to yell little Brent confusing tips from the side line – this syndrome appears to get worse as the children get older. We stopped by an evening ball game the other night, a local team made up of 11 year-old boys. What an insight that was – the boys playing were little models of major league players, right down to the gum-chewing and intense expressions. The dads on the side line were no less intense, handing on gems of tips gleaned, one assumes, from their years of successful playing. It was quite a spectacle, the only damper was when one unfortunate, slightly chubby boy got caught out and returned to his team-mates almost in tears to be greeted with a lesson on ‘how to hit it next time’.

Anyway, back to T-ball, for those who haven’t encountered it, basically it is baseball without the pitchers. The kids on the batting team hit the ball off a static ‘tee’ and theoretically run to first base, while the opposing team try to throw the ball (usually to first base). This is a somewhat mystifying move though, as noone EVER gets out.

It is however a pleasant Sunday afternoon activity to watch ones son join in this activity. The fun generally starts when the lethargy and boredom set in amongst the players and their minds start wandering, as mentioned previously. I particularly like it when little Sienna doesn’t have a clue where to run and sets off at pace directly towards third base, pursued by the young coach, fresh out of college, who has obviously had very little interaction with 3 year-olds in the last 15 years or so. Or when Bradley, being hot and thirsty, sits down at third base and refuses to move, despite his team mates all trying to run home and the coach and his parents all frantically pleading with him to ‘run to home Bradley’.  My proudest, funniest moment today though was watching Seb who, standing on the catchers ‘mound’, was trying to emulate the players on TV (specifically the catcher, in this case) by wearing a look of fierce, intense concentration and bending his little legs to a squat position.

Monty always enjoys it too, as he gets ALOT of attention, usually from the players at inappropriate moments…

I do have to say though (in the spirit of being caught up in the competitive parent thing) that Seb hits a good ball AND runs to first like a pro AND is a wicked fielder, running for every ball he can and enthusiastically throwing it to first base, even if the unfortunate fielder there is not looking in the right direction (with inevitable and noisy consequences).

There are moments though where he is like his dad playing in the outfield… and I shall therefore be pushily asking the coach not to put him there next semester


PS some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent

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