Henry has been so excited about being on a Tball team this year. We were picked to be on the Astros. They are orange and that’s Henrys favorite color right now. Our best neighbor friend was picked to be on the team too. We started practicing weeks in advance of our first game and the boys (and 1 girl) had a blast working on their skills and developing a friendship with each other. Watching them get better with each practice was great fun for the mamas and daddys.
Our little team started winning and winning big each game. At the moment I write this we are still undefeated. We are the only undefeated team in the league. It’s exciting but it’s not right. We have 5 year olds on our team. There are 3 or 4 players who are naturally gifted and are practiced with often at home. They of course get put in the key spots on the field. We do not have that player in our home but we have one who loves to play, wants to learn and succeed. When the team gets ahead (look at scoreboard in the photo) the not so naturally gifted get to try those key fielding spots out. This is the one time out of 12 games Henry has stod at the pitchers mound. What I love most is his stature in the photo. He’s so confident. I hate that it had to be 13 to 5 to warrant him the chance and it’s the only one he has gotten this season. He’s 5. It’s tball. He just wants to try, touch the ball, throw it and stand and hike his leg up a few times on the mound. Every little guy’s dream.
He’s also 5 and very smart. He can count to 100. He can tell time and read a score. He’s near brilliant, I know. He knows the only reason he got to stand there is because we had won within the innings allotted and time was still left to play. He still smiles with excitement to be on that mound.(He isn’t yet jaded like us, thankfully.) I smile too, but his Daddy fumes about the injustice, and rightfully so.
This picture on the mound is my fave because the little guy in the outfield is doing what both the naturally gifted and those with just the simple desire to play do at this age ….play in the dirt. They are just little guys who want to have fun and be given an equal chance. They didn’t ask to win or dominate the field. We get so excited about winning over and over that we steal their innocence in playing the game. It’s shameful.
My henry is a hitter. He loves the hitting but not so crazy about the “gloving”. We were hoping this season would improve that “gloving” aspect. Thankfully, his hitting has been solid and stayed fun for him. He loves to hit and run. His face is precious to watch. I scream and yell for him. It’s fun and we try to make the best of it. Then reality strikes.
When you are driving home from your 5th tball game in 1 week and your child asks “why am I not able to ever touch the ball or run after it. I want to catch it too. Baseball is boring!” it breaks your heart. Aches my heart to try to answer that. At 5 he should not feel like he’s not good enough and have in his little sweet head that those naturally gifted baseball boys are “cool”. He acts awkward around those boys now and he didn’t before we started playing real games. It kills my heart. He’s 5. It’s not right to play 5 games in one week and never get a chance. It’s just not right to play 5 games in 1 week. Period.
So, it’s the 1st game after a little break from the 5 game week and your precious fuming husband has had enough and walks into the dugout and takes this tender hearted, spirited, baseball loving boy off the bench while all the others are on the field and takes him home. While said wife is keeping the official book in the stands because no one else really ever volunteers but the sweet neighbor friend who has a busy toddler in tow. The book is quickly placed in the dugout and the fuming wife and broken hearted mama follow them to the truck.
What was the breaking point you ask? Well, Henry asked to play pitcher while all the others were getting assigned spots and was told no and sat in dugout and then was told to go to catcher….we were 12 points ahead. Tball doesn’t need a catcher, really though. Heaven forbid we loose a game so all the boys get a chance to try, learn and have fun on the field. It’s Tball! It’s designed for that purpose!
I know I can’t fight his battles as he gets older and I will always respect a coach. I’m a team player. We don’t bred quitters in this house. This is 5 year old Tball though. This isn’t time to teach heirchy and winning and loosing. I didn’t sign up for competitive baseball and I sure didn’t sign up for weeding through self confidence issues with my innocent 5 year old. These kids don’t even have the basic fundamentals of the game mastered. We hope he will want to play again next year and that the confidence he had on that pitchers mound that night will stay with him as he continues to learn the game. We are going back for team pictures and his trophy because he deserves that like every 5 year old boy who shows up and shows out on the field the best he knows how.
Henry still asks if he can go to baseball practice instead of the ballgame. He says he wishes he had practice instead. That says it all. They just want to play and have fun without keeping score. Shame on me for keeping up with our winning record and not noticing this problem sooner in the season. I love my fuming husband. He always sees it with the best eyes and heart.
We came home from that game early and played as a family in the yard. We laughed, squealed and had fun while Henry got to do some “gloving”.
For the love of the game, just let them all have a chance to play and have fun.