Two years ago, we started our foray into TBall and found ourselves knee deep in oversized baseball caps, wild thrown balls and the energy of a four-year-old magnified by twelve other little persons. We specifically chose a park district league that focused on FUN with a team element and less ensuring that the sport was played in its purest fashion.
Learning to go with the flow, find inspiration in the small things and keeping little bodies active and engaged was the name of the game. Early on, Jim referred to the whole process as herding cats and it pretty much was.
For his first adventure into coaching, I was extremely proud of my hubby (and Charlie of course). He somehow managed to make the game fun, engaging and interactive. I also think (and hope) they learned a bit along the way.
So when we went to Jack’s first TBall practice this week, I had high hopes for the same experience. Jim isn’t the coach, but we anticipated that the league would reflect the same type of program. Little did we know…
If you start the parent meeting by encouraging parents to remain “positive” on the sidelines and having to remind them that it’s just a game, it might be a bit too intense.
When you stress that all kids will get to play a position and will stay there for half-innings, to that I say, good luck. I can hardly get my four-year-old to sit still during a 30 minute television program let alone on a field with grass and flowers and shadows to play with. Think I have the next Paul Konerko? I can assure you at four-years-old, you won’t know with my son.
Oooh, let’s play catch! This is fun. Oh wait…you want tiny hands to grip a ball the traditional way with fingers wrapped just perfectly so? It’s not the minor leagues – I think a little instruction with a lot of fun might be better suited for this crew.
Let’s run around the bases! At the end of practice! Five times in a row! Surely your little legs that are nearing bedtime won’t be like jello…and ready to collapse at a moment’s notice!
Let’s not forget ALL of the children running around the bases at the same time. Colliding and falling into one another. Surely that’s not an accident waiting to happen…
At the end of the practice, we discovered that the practice had been scheduled minute-by-minute. Do you know how often my kids keep me right on schedule with things exactly the way I planned? Oh wait…
It might appear that I sound overly critical. But as a parent who paid for this program, I was hoping for a much more relaxed style. Teach the kids the basics of the game, but focus on the fun. Some days, they’ll chase the butterfly. Others, they will be mitts all in. But when we start the sport with the belief that everyone’s headed for the major leagues, I think we’ve identified just how off course we’ve gotten in society.
Do I ascribe to the “everyone should get a medal” philosophy? No. But I think I set my expectations just a little bit lower for kids who still eat their boogers.
Disclaimer: My husband DID volunteer to coach this year, but they had enough parents. He has also coached the past few years and is coaching Charlie’s team now. Believe me, we are not *those* parents. I LOVE open dialogue and believe that sharing and learning from one another is how we improve. LOVE hearing the feedback so far!
What’s your take on the first few years of sports? Start fierce with the competition or take the scenic route?