It's baseball / softball season again at our house, and both kids have gotten a game in. Helen played in a rescheduled game on Saturday afternoon (Ed was out raking the field bright and early, which paid off when her team was able to play at 3:00 that day, delayed from 10:00). Connor's team got their first game in Monday night - just before the rain (thank you weather!).
Helen's team is largely unchanged from last year. There are a few new girls, and several dads helping out. I have mixed feelings about this pile of dads. Obviously, it's great that they want to support their daughters - but it strikes me as a little annoying that they're all in for a sports activity but not big volunteers in other parts of their lives. It could be as simple as timing. I suspect many would say it's because they actually know how to play ball, so it's a natural fit. Maybe that's it. But I can't help but wonder about the message being sent "you're valuable to daddy when you're playing ball!". Hopefully I'm wrong. The other issue I have with the pile of dads is that there are probably half as many coaches as players. And while this could create an atmosphere for a really efficient practice, I sometimes worry that the girls see so many adults on the field as a sign that they (the girls) must not know what they're doing. That also makes me kind of sad.
Every year, a few new rules are introduced. This year, the girls can keep running until the ball is under control in the infield - though still they don't take bases on overthrows. Possibly most exciting is that by the end of the season, the girls will be pitching. Helen has been to a pitching clinic and generally seems interested in the activity. I hope she at least gives it a try, though she has already expressed fear at hitting another girl. I assured her that part of this level was learning how to jump!
Helen made an out at home plate when she was playing pitcher (though she just stands there- the coach does the pitching), fielded several balls, and generally displayed competence on the diamond. She had fun. Her whole team has improved. There was only one call to "stop playing in the dirt" and one girl caught a ball in the air! This is pretty much the most amazing thing a kid can do at this level.
Connor is playing in the same league as last year, but with a new team. Most (maybe all) of his team moved up a league. But Connor's birthday keeps him in the younger league for another year. I'm not sad about this. Ed reports that the boys in the next league up are BIG! Connor had a great first game. He walked his first time up, stole second and third, and was left stranded. His next at bat was a basic repeat, except he ran in from 3rd! His third at bat he hit a single into the outfield and eventually stole home. That was quite exciting, though did leave quite a bit of dirt on his WHITE pants. His final at-bat, he represented the third out and the tying run. He got two strikes, a foul tip, and then hit the ball. One kid scored on his hit and the next got thrown out at home, ending the inning. He was definitely excited by the whole affair.
Afterwards, Helen and Connor played on the playground, which always makes my heart happy.