We hear these words approximately 18million times a day.
Smilies has been obsessed with baseball since he’s been home. Although the husband is a huge baseball fan we’re honestly not sure where Smiles picked this up from. The husband hasn’t had time to follow his beloved Royals very closely this year. We do play baseball with him, but we also play basketball and soccer. For whatever reason he’s captivated by this all-American pastime and we’ve decided to indulge it. Although it was too late for league sign-ups the husband managed to get him on a team (granted, it is mostly 9-year-olds) and their first game was last night.
I would really like to know what was going through his little head. Every night we look at the calendar and talk about what’s coming in the days ahead, and since the first practices and game were rained out but we had already told him that day was “baseball”, baseball has meant different things. Sometimes it means catch in the yard. Sometimes it means batting cages. Sometimes it means Wii sports. But last night was the big night!
The night started off with practice at the batting cages. Since we signed up so late, this was our very first time meeting the coach and team. One of my very favorite things about Smiles is the look in his eyes when he is so excited he can hardly believe something is happening. As he received his jersey (temporary with a taped number, no last name, and nine sizes too big), and then his pants, and then his hat, that twinkle grew brighter and brighter. He started to realize he was on a team and although he didn’t know quite what to do it was obvious he was in heaven. He’s a pretty decent hitter- especially considering that he had never even held a bat until four weeks ago- and made a great showing at the batting cages. I wonder what he was thinking as practice wrapped up and we made the short drive to the fields. Was that it?
Of course, it wasn’t. We guided Smiles to sit down for the pre-game talk and watched as he shyly put his hand in the team huddle. As they took their place in the dugout we stuck close by to help direct him. Here’s the highlights and some random thoughts from the game:
- He’s in the first year of kid pitch. 9-year-old kid pitch is REALLY BORING. There are a lot of walks.
- It’s also very dangerous. Numerous kids were hit with balls and many more came close.
- And the games are almost 2 hours long, if they end on time. His game went nearly 30 minutes over time. After 40 minutes the husband looked at me and said “Maybe we should have done soccer.”
- His first at bat he took his stance…outside the batters box. There was an awkward pause and then the umpire and coach helped move him into position.
- Smiles made contact in his first at bat! It wasn’t a great hit but it got him to first base. Maybe it would have been a double if he actually ran after he hit it, but it took him several seconds to realize what to do.
- He was then walked around the rest of the bases. He hustled home and walked right past it. The whole crowd started yelling at him to touch the plate- few of them know our story or that he doesn’t speak English. He stood by home plate looking at the crowd, looking at the coaches, wondering what to do for a few seconds- but then he scored! His teammates gave him high fives afterwards and it was so cute.
- He made contact again on his second at bat! But that’s about all I can tell you because right at that moment Wiggles was climbing on the bleachers and fell off and his nose was bleeding so badly I thought all the blood in his body might drain out. But it didn’t.
- The coaches decided to put him in left field and the husband and I got really nervous. He knows nothing about fielding. About half the time he puts his glove on the wrong hand. Luckily left field doesn’t see a lot of action in 9-year-old baseball. He got yelled at several times for scooting over until he was nearly shoulder to shoulder with the center fielder.
- The pitcher misses a lot of throws from the catcher. One of those throws rolled all the way back towards Smiles. He ran to get it as fast as he could….and then threw it really hard to first base.
- His team won! After the game when they were shaking hands Smiles sat in the dugout until a coach prompted him to join, but by that time it was pretty much too late.
- His non-competitive team has 2 practices a week and anywhere from 1-3 games a week. Some of the games don’t start until 8:00. Last night was one of them and the kids weren’t in bed until 11. That’s not ideal but it’s fine for a weekend…but some of those late games are on school nights. What kind of idiot schedules 8/9-year-olds to stay out that late on a school night? And is a 4-time a week commitment really necessary at this level? I don’t know how I’m going to handle activities for 4 kids. It stresses me out.
- Speaking of idiots, who puts small pebbles on a playground floor? Trying to watch Wiggles play was like being in a war zone.
I’m a little weary of the commitment but we’re so excited for Smiles to be a part of the team. He loved it and is already asking when he gets to play baseball again. Looks like we’re officially a baseball family!