Put Me in Coach, I’m Ready to Play…

This past Saturday was my oldest daughter’s last tee-ball game of the season…and thank goodness it’s over! Not that she didn’t have a ton of fun or that we didn’t meet a lot of nice people, but tee-ball has kind of been consuming our lives for the past three months. With one game and at least two practices every week, we have been pretty busy. Add a new baby and my husband’s three-week night class into the mix and things got extra hectic.

We don’t regret signing her up for tee-ball in the least even though it did start off kind of bumpy. The original coach was really unorganized and really creepy, to put it nicely. We had to start the season by making the league dismiss the coach. But one of the dads stepped up at the last minute and agreed to be the head coach. Four other parents, including the head coach’s wife, stepped up to be certified as assistant coaches. I offered to set up a communications systems, and all of the other parents joined together to do whatever was needed to get the team running smoothly, especially since we were at least three weeks behind the other teams due to the previous coach.

It’s a really nice league, and for a pretty small fee the kids get their full uniform (jersey, pants, socks, and cap), a free soda or two free icey pops after every game, a nice photo package, and a trophy. One game of the season was recorded and broadcast on the local public access channel, and we were able to buy a copy. Since the camera was in left field and our daughter was playing third, she’s all over the video. Due to the video, I also learned that they have a very wise policy of not putting a girl alone on a team of boys. They always put at least two girls on a team if they are going to put any. Our team has three.

The team started out really rough in the first game; we got totally creamed. Thankfully, we had a week and a half to practice before the second game. My husband took our daughter out to work on a few skills she was lacking. Basically, she would stand like a statue in the field waiting for the the ball to come directly to her. Her catching was a little off, and she would hesitate to run after she hit the ball. After a little practice and individual direction, she really improved. The team went on to have a seven-game winning street, thanks in part to some aggressive base-coaching.

Due to her excellent throwing skills, power and accuracy, she earned the name “Rocket Arm” from one of her coaches. That also secured her a consistent spot at third base. And to her daddy’s excitement she also played pitcher’s mound in a few games. She earned a game ball for hitting the first home run of the season for her team (of course, most home runs are the result of the high error rate in tee-ball). Unfortunately I missed her triumphant moment because I was still in the hospital with the new baby, but my dad got a great picture of her crossing home plate.

The whole season was a learning experience for the whole family. My husband and I both learned that it is much different to be the parent of a ball player than to be the one playing ball. My husband learned not to schedule anymore night classes for the spring or summer. Besides learning tee-ball skills, our daughter learned about being a good sport even when you don’t feel like it. And her first crush on a boy taught me that we had better start thinking about rules for courtship and dating and how to handle that whole mess before it becomes a big issue.

She has one more year of regular tee-ball and then we’ll have to decide between coach pitch tee-ball or moving her on up to softball. My husband has decided that next year he’s going to the coach’s clinic; he just can’t decide if he wants to be a head coach or assistant coach. We already talked to our current coach about trying to get Bailey back on his team. Sadly, we can’t keep the whole team together because most of the kids will be moving up to coach pitch. We had a good, but personality-filled, batch of kids (and parents) on the team.

My daughter is sad to see tee-ball ending, but I’m hoping to set up a few team play-dates at our practice field before the summer is over. To be honest us parents kind of regret not seeing each other as much, too. I am also hoping that when she moves up from Preschool to Developmental gymnastics in the fall we can get her in the same class as one of her female team mates. In the meantime we hope to reconnect with some of our homeschooling friends over the remainder of the summer.

Even though she is willing, DD#2 won’t be eligible for the pre-tee-ball until the summer after next, but we bought her her first glove last week. She’s already shaping up to be another “Rocket Arm”. My husband wants to get himself a new glove before next season, because he’s realized that if all three girls get into playing ball he will have another 17 or 18 years of official or unofficial coaching ahead of him. 17 or 18 years…wow!

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