Batter Up…

May 2, 2009

Baseball is in full swing for both of our boys. This is Mack’s second year of baseball but first year of kid pitch. Cayden’s brand new to the sport so he’s cutting his teeth in T-Ball. Connie and I, being the supportive parents that we are, have all ready reprogrammed our weekly routine to support this endeavor. It’s not easy, especially during the school year but we’re making it happen.

We‘ve been going at it a few weeks now so I figured it might be time to provide an update on their progress. Let me start with T-Ball, after all in the world of baseball this is where it all begins.

T-Ball- I’m pretty sure that the only reason Cayden is even remotely aware that he’s playing baseball is because we make him put on a uniform. At his current developmental stage concepts such as competition and winning are abstract at best. What mostly interest Cayden are the bugs and flowers you can find in center field and the collection of miscellaneous grown-ups sitting near the baseline yelling at his fellow bug collectors to pay attention. Cayden is also extremely fascinated by the stitching on the inside of his glove. I know this because I often see him with his face inside the pocket as if he just caught a human head.

I’m sure it’s irritating for my son when an occasional baseball rolls by, interrupting what ever daydream he is currently fixated on. But he handles the interruption quite well- he simply gets out of the way and continues on with his mental journey. I don’t get upset with him- I can still recall Mack’s first two years of soccer when all he wanted to do was fly around the field pretending to be an airplane. Strangely his flight pattern never coincided with the path of the ball- go figure. The best thing about T-Ball is the kids get to interact with these amazing people called coaches who have three times the level of patience of a normal human being. Where they found these saintly parents is beyond me, but I‘m certain they weren‘t recruited from the 0530 metro platform crowd. Also no one ever loses in T-Ball. Everyone plays, every scores and at the end of the year every one gets a big honking trophy. Some parents complain that this method of organized sports won’t teach their kids one of life’s most valuable lessons i.e. if you suck someone is going to kick your ass and take all the rewards- but I’m fine with it. Let my kid learn those lessons a little further down the road- let them play, let them win, and let them all be champions for just a little while. All in all, a great experience for my kid. He’s learning some fundamentals (most likely by osmosis), meeting some new kids and with a little luck he should be pulling down a 7-figure salary right about the time I retire from my second career.

Mack on the other hand is in his second year of baseball- the 8-9 year old kid pitch league. Kid pitch is an entirely different sport than T-ball- these kids are actually in it to win it. I am amazed at the amount of development that occurs in just a couple of years. The pitching piece is a little crazy- you can count on a batter taking one to the grill at least once an inning- but those kids are tougher than a pair of woodpecker lips and shrug it off like nothing happened. Mack is focused and truly enjoys competing. I’m pretty proud of his ability on the field and the level of sportsmanship that he displays regardless of whether they win or lose. The biggest draw for Mack however is not the sport itself, it’s the fact that he gets to wear an athletic supporter and cup. Even before the season began he was pestering us to get him one, so Connie finally gave and made the purchase- I didn‘t know they had them that small- who would have known? Mack‘s enamored with his grape helmet- so much so that the minute he got home from the sporting goods store he threw it on and asked Cayden to test it‘s tensile strength by beating on it vigorously with both fist- mind you, while he wore it. He then asked Cayden to kick his junk repeatedly with, and without, shoes on. I finally stepped in and called a halt to the testing just as Cayden was about to head butt Mack’s groin- it was just slightly too creepy for me to allow. The trouble with this whole scenario is that once Cayden starts something he‘s hard to shut down. In fact for the next several days he would ambush Mack and smash his crotch to see if the cup could withstand the assault. Problem is after the first 24 hours of wear Mack placed it with the rest of his uniform and went unprotected while not on the field. More than once Cayden brought the poor guy to his knees.

The cup has become the centerpiece of Mack’s baseball experience this season for more reasons than just Cayden‘s research methodology. For instance, a few night ago while I was standing around flapping my face with a bunch of other parents Mack approached me with his hands crammed down the front of his pants. The group of parents I was talking to stopped what they were doing to watch what was happening. Mack reached in and with a good solid tug released the cup from it’s secured location and brought it out into the daylight. He then asked me to hold it for him for the remainder of the practice. I’m not squeamish- but I felt that holding my son’s sweaty cup for 4-more innings of baseball was a bit much. It’s kind of like having your elderly Auntie ask you to put her upper bridge in your front breast pocket for safe keeping- not going to happen. Undeterred by my response, Mack placed his water bottle on the ground and then put his nasty old hard hat right down on top of the nozzle. The other parents (I think there was about 6 of them) watched the whole thing unfold. They didn’t say anything but I could tell they were wondering if I was going to let my kid continue to use the bottle that the cup was resting on. I ended up giving him mine and spending the rest of the game walking around with his cup in my hand. Funny I didn’t shake a single hand after that- word sure does travel fast. Since then the cup has been lost about a dozen times and has replaced Mack’s baseball hat as the item we scramble to find before games and practices. You would be amazed where that thing turns up- next to the TV remote, kitchen counter, bathroom cabinet- I even found it on my work bench one time. I told Mack I’m going to staple it to his crotch so he won’t lose track of it- he thought that was cool.

Well that’s the baseball update. We have games tomorrow starting at 9 am- promises to be interesting because we have team pictures first. I should probably polish Mack’s cup he’ll probably want to wear it on the outside of his uniform- man that kid is strange.

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teri and the cats of Furrydance posted the following on May 2, 2009 at 5:59 pm.

so funny…especially the nozzle part

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