Spring means the gentle thunk of a bat hitting a ball, because baseball season has started. This year Dash has moved up to the Major League of Little League, where the kids pitch as well as hit (last year he was in “machine pitch” so you don’t have to rely on small kids to throw a ball the right way) and now I’ve gone and upped my own ante by signing Mabel up for T-ball too.
I had no intention of doing that, because I thought she had no interest in it. But when we took Dash to his first practice last week, on the first day of warmer weather, she asked me if she could run the bases while the big kids were busy with warm-up throws and catches. I watched her race around the diamond, and pause on one base to give a swing of an imaginary bat, and I realised I should at least make the offer. She’s been feeling very “second child” lately, and complaining that nobody cares about her and that she’s not important at all.
“Mabel, would you like to do T-ball?” I asked, when she got back to me, sitting on the bleachers in the late afternoon sunshine. I expected her to say no.
So I sucked it up, found out when and where the T-ball practices are, and decided that we can do it, though Thursdays will be hectic for a while. It’s not that my kids are overscheduled; it’s just that everything happens at once: between them, for a while, they’ll have four different activities on Thursdays, not counting school. But the main thing is that she’ll get a team t-shirt for games and a trophy at the end, and she’ll feel very important.
Dash has three practices a week, plus games, which is a ridiculous amount, but at least it’s a short season. It’ll all be over by the end of June. T-ball is baseball for the youngest kids, where they don’t have to hit a moving ball at all but instead hit a ball that’s sitting on a tee – like a giant golf tee, if you like. It’s a lot more relaxed, only twice a week including games. (I am not sure how many games the T-ball league does. I imagine they’re all a bit, well, vague.)
It turns out that T-ball is unimaginably cute. I don’t usually think of Mabel as small and cute much any more, but with all these other teeny 5 and 6 year olds (she’s on the old end), all swinging and missing and failing to catch the ball and scuffling over the same ball and daydreaming when they should be paying attention – well, it’s most entertaining. Dash came with me and was vociferous in his disgust at their terrible technique.
And she got her team t-shirt and cap already. She is busy re-honing her self-image into Mabel, ace T-ball player.