If you are having a down type of day and just need to giggle and even laugh out loud — you need to go to a Tee-Ball game. There is nothing better than watching a bunch of 4 year old children screaming with glee and running around a baseball field trying to catch a ball – or even better, hitting the ball off the tee, forgetting what comes next and then not remembering where the bases are located! And that was just during practice!
Today was my granddaughter, Lizzie’s first day of Tee-Ball and it was an hour of clapping, laughing and squealing with happiness — and that was just from the crowd! For those unfamiliar with Tee-Ball, it is the way we introduce small children to the Great American Pastime – Baseball! Instead of a pitcher, there is a “tee” at home plate on which the ball (usually a tennis ball) is placed. The child gets to swing at the stationary ball until they hit it into the field. Then they get to run to first base. Next batter, same drill – until all of the children get to bat and run the bases. There are no outs and no score is kept. Every kid gets to bat. When it’s the team’s turn to be in the field, every kid is in the field and there are no positions. After a child hits the ball, parents on the sidelines throw a bunch of balls into the field so every kid gets a chance to catch a ball and throw it home!
It sounds silly – and it is! The little guys hit the ball and then have to be reminded what direction to run and to stop at the first base where a parent is stationed just to make sure they don’t keep running. There is a parent at each base for that very reason. When a child comes Home, they are greeted by the coach who gives them a high-five. Every child gets to run Home.
The fun part is watching the kids run and scream and try to get a ball. Sometimes there is a collision, but no one cries – they simply get up and find another ball. My favorite part is watching them run to the middle of field after they hit the ball – think they get to help the other team catch! Parents run out to the child and lead them to the base – and sometimes stay with them through the whole journey.
Lizzie was no different from the other children – except she is a leftie and a little bit mouthy like her mother and grandmother. We started the day with her informing us that she could NOT play with that ugly brown glove. She wanted — no she NEEDED a pink glove. She just wouldn’t be able to play without it — much like a diva insisting that only green M&M’s be put into her dressing room. It would be so bad, except as a leftie she needs a different glove than the rest of ‘righties’ and they are hard to find! Luckily, God was smiling upon us lowly servants of the diva, and we were able to find one at Scheel’s for only $9.00. Oh Happy Day!
We then proceeded to the ball field where Lizzie was going to be shown the finer points of playing ball — like throwing, catching and hitting the ball. We started with catching. The coach was showing the kids how to put their hands on the ground, scoop the ball into the glove and “pretend to be a crocodile and SNAP the glove shut”. At this point, Lizzie informed the coach (and the crowd) that she couldn’t do that because “crocodiles were mean because they eat your blood.” I could see this was going to be an interesting game.
We then learned how to bat. Although Lizzie is a leftie, she has only seen right-handed people play baseball – so she had a tough time realizing she had to hold her bat a different way – and actually aim towards the outfield instead of the crowd!
Throwing went pretty well – after her mother went out and showed her that she needed to throw the ball with the hand that didn’t have a glove on it!
The final instruction was running the bases. Lizzie appeared to understand this when she was running with the group – so we thought all was well with that one.
Then the game started. Games only last 20-30 minutes — mainly because that’s about as long as coaches last herding all of those cats! Lizzie’s team was at bat first. The coach sat them all down in batting order — which for some reason Lizzie felt was just a suggestion – so we had to keep putting her back in the order. At this point, she demanded some water and sunscreen. She was thirsty and she had to have that sunscreen NOW! In order to keep her in the ranks, her demands were met quickly. Her turn to bat came and she hit the ball the first time! Then we had to chase her out of the infield and back to first base. After that she made it second and third – after taking detours once again to the infield. When it came her turn to cross home plate, she liked it so much that she ran back to third base five times so she could do it again! We finally caught her and made her sit down.
Then it was time to play in the field. She did pretty well with grabbing a ball and throwing it back to the sidelines – although she seemed to think she needed to scream like a banshee every time she threw the ball. We’re going to have to work on that.
Overall, it was a great day for the diva and her minions. We enjoyed watching her play with all of the other kids – and she enjoyed being part of a group having a great time! Next week she will play again — and she will have her pink glove, water and sun screen — we’re re-negotiating the part about the green M&M’s after the game!