After the Ladies Prayer Retreat in March, I signed Jed up to play tee ball. He’s been doing so wonderfully with martial arts, but I wanted to see him participate in some sort of group activity. What says “all boy” more than hitting a ball with a bat, right?
I found out what equipment he would need, and excitedly went out to buy it for him. After picking out a bat, a helmet, and deciding Darrel would need to pick out the glove thanks to the fact that I know NOTHING about baseball, I went ahead and bought a tee and some balls.
Jed didn’t need the tee and balls to play on the team, but I figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get some practice in before he showed up the first day.
Back in high school, Darrel played baseball, so I thought this would be a great opportunity for him to go spend some “male bonding time” with Jed.
Jed was beside himself with excitement that day!
Zac was pretty excited, too. That child just loves balls.
When we got home, I got to listen to two hours of repeated “Can I go play with my new bat now, Mommy?” nagging until Darrel got home. When he walked through the front door, he didn’t even get to say ‘hello’ before Jed was literally leaping on him, begging to go outside to play.
I was feeling pretty pleased with the whole situation.
That night, both boys (and Daddy) had a great time practicing with the bat. I just knew tee ball was going to be a roaring success!
Honestly, it actually was a roaring success. I just hadn’t factored in the fact that the kids involved are – wait for it – LITTLE kids.
Sometimes during the games, Jed would be fielding and would spontaneously drop his glove to pretend to be a dinosaur. Well, that’s just fun, right? So other kids would stop fielding and start playing dinosaur, too!
Not exactly paying attention and playing ball.
Another time, Jed apparently saw a kitty cat walk near the field, and spent half the game completely lost in thought about where the kitty went, where it lived, if it had food, and asking everyone if they saw the kitty cat, too.
It wasn’t just Jed, either. Other kids would randomly decide they didn’t want to bat, and no amount of begging or bribing by their parents could convince them to do so.
Kids used the chain link “cage” as a climbing wall, ran in circles while fielding, started wrestling matches while waiting to bat, and any other number of amusing diversions from actual tee ball.
Even when they were actively playing, it was farcical! Once they got the idea that, after the batter has hit the ball, they’re supposed to catch it, our team went after that ball with gusto.
Never-mind that another kid got to it first; three other kids would tackle that kid trying to get the ball!
The best one for me, though, was during Jed’s second-to-last game, when suddenly Jed screamed out from near the pitchers mound “I have to go pee-pee!”
At the top of his voice.
Every person sitting in the bleachers (all 40 or so of them) laughed out loud.
Jed came running across the field toward me and tried to climb the fence. It took me and two coaches to convince him to run back to the gate to leave the field.
We hurriedly went to the bathroom, and on his way back, he decided to cap off the experience for everyone by shouting “OK! I’m back! I went pee-pee!”
Thank goodness everyone in charge seemed to understand 4-6 year old kids. The entire experience was very low-key and well suited to the age.
All the games were one hour long. They didn’t keep score; each team just batted until all players had gone to bat, then switched off repeatedly until the hour was over. The coaches were great about redirecting the kids to pay attention to the game, but didn’t get at all frustrated at the frequent dinosaur roaring, wrestling, and ‘laying on the ground to watch the clouds’ that happened.
I’m told this is NOT typical once the kids reach 7 and move up to regular teams. Apparently, our area takes kids baseball games VERY seriously.
I’m not looking forward to that.
I am, however, looking very forward to next years tee ball season!
Not only was watching the kids play absolutely hysterical and adorable, but I just fell in love with the other kids on our team. They were sweet and friendly, and warmed my heart with how inclusive they were of Jed.
Even better, at one of the later games of the season, Darrel started chatting with a fellow team mom about photography, since they are both photographers. He quickly called me over to join in on their conversation, though, because he’d discovered we might have something in common.
Turns out, her son has – I couldn’t believe it – an IgE to dairy, histamine intolerance, and MCAD!
We were talking so intently during that game that several times Jed left his position and ran over to tell me I needed to watch him.
Even better, she has a younger daughter who is exactly 4 days older than Zac, and those two kids LOVED playing with each other.
Why, yes, I do really want to become friends with this family. Having people to hang out with who understand exactly what you’re dealing with would be a blessing beyond belief!
On that note, I have to say food wasn’t really an issue with tee ball.
The kids brought or bought snacks, of course, but I discovered that Jed is growing wonderfully aware of his food needs. Whenever offered a snack, he would ask “Mommy? Can I have that?” And when I said “No, I’m sorry, baby.” he would matter-of-factly inform the offering child that “I have allergies.”
It actually turned into a little discussion with the kids on two occasions. They looked confused when he said that, so I asked them “Do you know what allergies are?”
Some of them said yes, others said no, so I was able to teach them a little about food allergies. A few of the kids had allergies of their own, actually, which helped a lot. One couldn’t eat eggs, the boy I mentioned earlier can’t have milk or many other things, another can’t have peanuts, and all of them informed me (much to my amusement) that they are allergic to pollen.
I’m sure running around in the spring on a baseball field helped with their seasonal pollen allergies quite a bit!
All in all, it was a great experience. Jed loved playing, had great respect for his Coach, enjoyed being around the other kids, and one day, when we didn’t get the message that practice had been cancelled and showed up anyway, he actually cried because he couldn’t play ball.
Zac had the hardest time of all of us, in fact. That little sweetheart is a natural ball player, and he really, really, REALLY wanted to go play ball with his brother! It took over half of the season before he stopped trying to dash on to the field or crying because we held him behind the fence.
Fortunately, next year he will be old enough to play.
I can’t wait to see both my boys pretending to be dinosaurs on the baseball diamond.
Has your kiddo ever played tee ball? Was it just as amusing as our experience?