I'm a little hesitant to bring up the topic of organized sports for little kids because, well, I basically think it's gotten way out of hand. Friends of mine spend entire summers carpooling to ball practices and driving across the state to watch middle school kids play baseball. They complain about not having time to go on a family vacation because baseball runs until this date and football starts on this date and lifting/ cardio/ plios is MWF all summer long. They tell me that their summer is so busy and they are just running around like crazy all the time. I get all weird and tingly inside because while I want my kids to have the opportunity to participate in athletics, I really want them to have the opportunity to participate in life and childhood even more than that. But I digress and shall save that rant for another time. (Someone remind me, please.)
At any rate, Charlie is really interested in baseball right now and begged us to sign him up for T-ball. Last year, I must have been living under a rock because I completely knew nothing about T-ball even though almost every child in this town who is under the age of seven participates in it. I volunteered Mason to help coach once a week (he ended up helping out every single time-- supposedly because I told them he would but really because he loved it) and my two boys were assigned to the Maroon team.
The session ran twice a week during the month of June and after having a couple practices (where the kids "learned" to throw, and catch, and hit the ball off the tee) they played games against teams with different color t-shirts. Charlie loved participating and knew several of the kids involved because they had been in his preschool class. Each week we would hear him say, "Oh! Brayden is on the Green team! Oh! Jenna and Evan are on the Blue team! Tonight we play Keira's team-- the Yellow team!"
For the most part, the weather cooperated which meant that Anna and I were able to make it to most of the practices/ games. We would sit on a blanket and chat with the other spectators-- and usually Anna tried to eat grass and sticks and little mushrooms. (Seriously, the girl cannot stop.)
The proud grandparents made it to a game and were impressed by their little rookie. On both occasions he had knock-out hits and they all started to dream about his professional ball playing days in his future. (Okay, maybe that was just his mother.)
And while I absolutely loved watching Charlie and his little friends (some would dance in the outfield, some lied down, several would wrestle each other for the ball, some passed the person in front of them when running the bases, some would fall down while trying to swing, some lost their shoes, some cried, and some laughed), I just really couldn't take my eyes off Charlie's coach.
Without being too sappy, there is just something magical about watching your husband coach your little boy-- and do it in such a loving and caring way. Mason always was the home-plate guy, assisting the little ones as they took their turn to bat. He would position their little hands on the bat and help them get in the right stance before taking a swing at the ball. Often, we could see him whispering things to them-- and later I asked him what he was saying. He smiled at me and said that he always asked them if they were going to knock it out of the park. Or if they were ready to hit a homer. He said this with such a twinkle in his eye-- it was impossible not so see the excitement that he had as well. And as the little players rounded the bases and stepped on home plate, he gave each and every one of them a high-five and a little word of encouragement.
While I understand that sports change as kids grow older, I'm so proud of this little community for keeping the main thing the main thing when it comes to this little-kid league. Each and every kid played, everyone batted, everyone fielded, everyone ran all the bases every single time. The teams lined up and did the "good-game/ high-five" thing at the end of each game and then headed home to take baths and soak up the goodness of the day.