Tee’d off at the Park

In the outfieldFor a British guy who grew up on pick-up football up on the “rec”, the first t-ball game of the season for my oldest son was quite an event. Especially as I am one of the coaches!  This is a far cry from a group of friends getting together to kick a ball around using cast-off jumpers for goal posts. This takes some serious organization! (thank you Albany Little League!)

The baseball diamond in the local park looks good enough for the majors and the kids look sharp in their matching Scrappers uniforms. They also look very small standing in the outfield waiting to field the first hit of their baseball career. And hit the kids do — it’s the fielding that is the big challenge. And while no-one is meant to keep score, all the kids know it’s a draw because everyone gets home and no-one is tagged or thrown out!

Suited up!And what of the coaching? Turns out I am pretty good at standing by first base and encouraging the would-be baseball star to stand with his foot on the bag, hold out his glove and watch for the ball to be thrown in. Now teaching them to catch the ball is a whole different level of complexity. I figure if I can keep one step ahead of the tee-ball team, I’ll be okay — at least for this season.

My son loved it and can’t wait for next week when they are playing the River Cats. I had a blast also — there’s nothing like working with a dozen would-be-baseball players who all have dreams of being the next Buster Posey as they don the diminutive catcher’s uniform and walk to the plate.

I am also left wondering about the level of organization involved. Will this mean they can only play if they have a manicured diamond, whitewashed bases and a legion of coaches? Or can we also teach them that a pick-up game in a park with friends and discarded jumpers is a fine way to play in the park? I for one hope so.

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