Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Little League of Their Own

Ah, Spring is here!

Out come the boys of Summer... particularly my boys of summer.

Yes, the Looney boys have started Little League. Colin, my youngest, was the instigator. Once he piped up that he wanted to get into it, Evan followed suit.

Colin's in tee-ball. Tee-ball is awesome, because half the kids can't even remember what they're supposed to be doing halfway to first base. They don't broadcast the score, and the standings are basically kept secret until the end of the season, so we can just concentrate on the kids having fun.

Of course, that doesn't mean that all the teams do that. Some coaches are a little more... intense than the others. Being that I'm pretty intense, and that being around people like that, especially in opposition to people like that, really amps me up, it's not a good thing.

Evan is in the Minors, which is definitely more competitive. Since watching him swing a bat is like watching an old guy do Tai Chi in the park, he's only getting on base due to bad pitching, which at this age is, of course, rampant. He's been beaned twice and walked twice. I've got a batting tee and a Hit-Away on order for him, but it is what it is.

The first time he got on base, courtesy of said bean-ball, he didn't cry or fuss (which was a small surprise.) He took his base and worked his way around, eventually getting tagged out on the way home a few batters later. The coach gave him a game-ball that day, for taking one for the team without a tear or a fuss. We're having that sucker mounted.

Did I mention he plays right field? My little trooper. He fielded his first ball yesterday. He got nowhere near catching it, but he did get right to it, snap it up, turn and hit his cut-off man, which is great, considering I usually seem him out there reenacting Scooby-Doo episodes.

Colin's first two games were the same way. Neither the coach nor I could really get him to look in one direction, get into a stance, not fight with three other kids for the ball, get into a proper batting stance, and so on. Then his last game something clicked. He stood in a stance in the field, laser-focused on the batter. He managed to knock down one ball, but he lost the race to home for the force. He muffed the other two that came his way, which is normal, but at least he went after them. After missing the force out he looked like a big-league whiner: head down, muttering to himself, looking up at the crowd as if to say, "Yeah, I know, I'm better than that!"

Then the boy gets up to bat and his stance is perfect. He stares at the ball, squinty-eyed, and waggles his bat a few times, and I hear the coach for the other team say, "Watch out, big hit!" Well, that was cool. Wasn't a big hit, but he did get on base, whacking it through the infield. He would have gotten more on the ball, but he has that natural tendency to drop the back elbow, which takes a lot of power out of the swing. We'll work on that.

He got around to third base and came rumbling (he's a pretty stocky kid, not fat, but solid) home on the next at bat. The opposing fielder snagged the soft hit and raced home and beat him to the plate for the force. Didn't matter. My son slid into home. Okay, technically he slid from home, since he didn't start his slide until he'd touched the base. Where the hell did he learn to do that? He doesn't watch baseball on TV that I know of, and they don't work on sliding until the Minors. Well, it doesn't matter, because it makes for great spectating. He eventually did score a couple runs on the day, and is really getting into his game.

Pictures came yesterday. If I get around to it, I'll scan a couple and patch them into the bottom of this post. In the meantime I'll just bask in my Boys of Summer, and just appreciate how Baseball is much more about these kids than it ever could or should be about the Millionaires Club.


It's about me, dummy!!!


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