When George and I were in college, a little league team used the university baseball diamond for games. The first time we noticed them at play, we paused briefly to observe. It was the cutest thing we’d ever seen. Itty bitty kids were scattered all over the field clad in oversized jerseys and enormous batting helmets. Parents stood in close proximity cajoling little ones to swing the bat, catch the ball, or run the bases. I thought to myself, if we ever had a little boy, he’d have to play tee ball. Little did I know, we’d have two little boys awaiting the opportunity.
After taking dance lessons last summer, the boys eagerly awaited their chance to try tee ball. Each week at the end of dance class Harper proclaimed, “Next spring, I play tee ball!” He was a good sport and humored me by attending dance classes. In the fall, I polled parents in our neighborhood and moms of multiples group regarding youth sports. I decided i9 Sports was the best fit for our family and enrolled the boys. It was affordable for us, the practice and games were scheduled back to back, and the league fostered character building.
The first weekend in April our season began. The first game was organized chaos: the kids struggled to make sense of the game and preferred to nosh on snacks or pick dandelions. Over the course of the season, our rag tag team of tee ball players grew. By the last game they could hit the ball off the tee and run the bases with minimal assistance.
“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” – Babe Ruth
Much to my dismay, the weather was anything but springlike. The girls and I shivered on the sidelines and attempted to stay dry on damp days. We made the most of it and cheered for our boys.
Each week, the team focused on a particular aspect of sportsmanship. At the end of the game, the player who best demonstrated the weekly goal earned a medal. There were enough opportunities for each player to earn one, but they had to earn it- everyone didn’t get a medal for being there. Mason earned his medal at the second game for listening. He beamed with pride as the coach hung the medal around his neck. Early on in the season, Harper often wandered away from the game and came up with excuses to avoid playing (e.g. use the restroom, snacks). Towards the end of the season, he became more interested in the game and started enjoying himself more. That week, he earned the medal for having fun with the game. This boosted his morale for the remaining games and he certainly had more fun.
Tee ball was slightly different than I envisioned, but it was a wonderful experience for our family and worthwhile. In fact, Harper recently asked when they’d play tee ball again.
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