This past weekend we had T’s first two T-ball practices of the season. This is his second year with the league, and he was hoping to be on the same team as last year. I knew from hearing parents talk last year that most of those kids were moving up to Farm* division this year, so the only bonus to being on the same team would be that I wouldn’t have to buy a new sweatshirt.
When I got the notice that he was placed on a different team, I was afraid he’d be disappointed. I explained what had happened, and he didn’t have a problem with it. Since he doesn’t really handle disappointment and change very well, I was surprised and impressed with his lack of reaction.
After dealing with practice times changing a dozen times, I had low expectations of the team’s coach. We weren’t given very much notice, and it was impossible to make any other plans while waiting to see when practice would be. The coach admitted he was managing two teams this year, and that was making scheduling difficult. I was annoyed and figured he would end up being a total jerk.
We headed to the field for the first day of practice and we were the first ones there. This gave me a chance to actually speak with the coach (unlike last year when we were just barely on time and the coach had already started with the other kids). He introduced himself to me and T, and I realized my first impression hadn’t been entirely accurate. He may struggle with scheduling, but his enthusiasm with the kids is fantastic.
Earlier in the week T had missed out on his first day at gymnastics because of some knee pain. He was still limping the day of practice and didn’t want to go. I told him that I would talk to his coach, and that he wouldn’t have to do any running.
When I talked to the coach about the running, he smiled at T and told him, “I’m not going to run you kids today. But you let me know if it starts bugging you, alright?” I could tell T liked this response. Then he went to practice throwing and catching with one of the other kids.
They did end up practicing hitting the ball and running to first base, but it wasn’t about running fast. It was about getting comfortable with the bat and the tee. So when T limped his way to first base, there wasn’t a problem. And he didn’t even whine about it. He just walked over there, high-fived the coach, and went to switch spots in the outfield.
Really, the only problem either of us had with that first day of practice was that it started at 5:30 p.m., went half an hour over, and we were freezing by the time it was over.
The second day of practice went even better because T’s knee was feeling fine. He ran up to the coach and told him how he was ready to run. He joined his team in running the bases, practiced hitting the ball, and played catch. He had a smile on his face the entire time.
I think one of the bonuses to this second year of T-ball, is that he is more familiar this year with what is actually going on. Last year he was going in with no background in baseball. Now he knows what to expect. Plus, these kids are all a little closer in age and experience than the ones from last year. Last year’s kids were all on their second year (except for maybe one or two). It wasn’t a huge problem at the time, but now I can definitely see the difference. He is more comfortable with this group, this coach, this year. He’s excited to get started on the games, and is already talking about how he wants to play Farm* next year.
*P.S. For those of you who don’t know (because I certainly didn’t , Farm is the division right after T-ball where, instead of a pitcher, there is some sort of weird machine that pitches the ball to the batters. At least that’s what I understand. Basically it’s for skills between T-ball and an actual pitcher. T keeps getting confused and calling it Barn. Which makes us both laugh.