This one I should have seen coming.
On Friday, the last day of the t-ball season, the Butterfly Blues–my team of seven 5- and 6-year-old girls–finally got it together. Just as I was wondering whether my nonstop stream of exhortations (“Keep your hands back! Don’t take your eye off the ball! Drop the bat before you run! Stop eating dirt!”) had had any effect, the Blues gave me a final-game treat.
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They still sometimes need to be told to run to first base. They still sometimes need to be told where first base is. They still sometimes need to be reminded that the game they’re here to play is t-ball, not “Play With the Stray Leaf on the Ground.”
But a funny thing happened over the last couple of months. The seven 5- and 6-year-olds I coach have become better ballplayers.
Now, as noted above, they are still very much athletic works in progress. But where they are doesn’t matter; how far they’ve come does.
Firecracker is one of my players, and as much as I want her to approach the game with Utley-level intensity and focus, she’s among those who need to reminded that staring at the game two fields over is a good way to whacked in the coconut by a ball she should have been prepared to catch. Nevertheless, she, too, has begun picking up how things go.
Our last practice of the season was last night; our final game is tomorrow night. By the time we exchange the final high-fives, I’ll be ready for the break. But I’ll also be damned proud that a group of little girls most concerned with whose mom was bringing the post-game snack somehow learned a little bit about playing ball. | DL