Baseball season arrived in my town this weekend with our very own Opening Day, complete with a parade, opening ceremony, and, for our family, my son’s first ever T-Ball game.
It was a day my husband has been waiting for since our son’s birth.
Seriously. I’m convinced that, when our son was born and the doctor said, “It’s a boy,” my husband’s first thought was “baseball.” I’m surprised he didn’t slip a baseball glove into the crib in the hospital.
Forward life six years, and my husband is coaching our son’s team, the Cardinals. During Opening Day, he looked more excited than the kids. He wore his coaching shirt, with our town’s Little League insignia embroidered over his heart, and he had a gleeful smile on his face and a longer stride than normal as we walked our town’s streets during the parade.
As coach, my husband was given a giant red and white bag to carry the T-Ball tee, baseballs, and helmets. He sends regular emails to the parents of his players, he maps out the snack schedule and who will start at bat first, and he puts together his lesson plans. This man is prepared! I wish he had taken to our wedding planning with as much commitment.
Being the coach’s wife, however, didn’t mean that I woke up on Opening Day with an encyclopedic knowledge of baseball (though, boy, would my husband have loved that!).
But I did learn five important lessons from that first game, including:
1. Bring a chair. We have a dozen (no exaggeration) of those collapsible camping chairs, and I brought 0 to the game. When the field is covered in mud and goose poop and you leave your chair at home, you’re standing for 90 minutes. So put a chair in your car at the start of the season and take it out when the snow starts again.
2. People take T-Ball very seriously. The “game” is three innings and no one keeps score. Every kid gets to bat once an inning, swinging the bat over and over until contact is made. The word “game” therefore is questionable. And yet, we had zealous parents who yelled from the sidelines with that tone of voice that made me just a little bit concerned for the intensity of youth sports.
3. It helps to have the pants. Does your kid need to wear the gray polyester baseball pants from the sporting good store? Naw, but at $12 a pair, they are a good investment because they are so easy to wash. Those grass stains come right out. Lest you think I’m a laundry detergent ad, I’ll also note that the kids look awfully cute in them, too.
4. Snacks. Pack ‘em. Water bottles, too. Maybe even some wine for the parents for the evening games (I’m thinking about it).
5. Let the joy in. My son laughed the entire game. He smiled big when he heard the crack of his bat against the ball. He cheered on his friends. He ran around the bases with confidence. It was exactly what we had hoped for when we signed him up for the team.
How will I feel about T-Ball at the end of our season? If the first game was any indication, I’ll feel great—as will our player and coach. I imagine they’ll already be planning for next year.