Some parents take the game of t-ball very seriously. If a child does anything other than completely focus on the game, you’ll hear parents complain, “He really needs to learn to pay attention!” As if some scout is going to come along and sing, “I must have your amazing child for the Major Leagues! Let’s sign him up right now!”
Relax, parents! Pretend it’s jut a game (here’s a little secret – it is).
As a fan of funny YouTube videos and America’s Funniest Home Videos, because I love to laugh, so many things inspire laughter that I don’t have to look far to find it, because when it comes to little people running around a baseball field playing t-ball, kids are always a home run for me.
I’f you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching little kids play t-ball, you know exactly why I find them so funny. I’d love to bring a recliner to the games, grab a bowl of popcorn, and sit back to enjoy them – for two reasons: 1) because these games are hilarious; and 2) because the bleachers are so uncomfortable.
Enjoyable memories of past games bubble to the surface. For instance, one time, one of my grandsons, who stood not far from second base, began to sing and dance, oblivious to the game going on around him. Had both of his parents been there, they’d have been livid, because his focus wasn’t on the task at hand. I, on the other hand, couldn’t stop laughing. This child, whom I love dearly is no Micky Mantle. In whatever world he was living at that moment was far more enjoyable to him (and to me) than the game he was supposed to be playing.
Another time, one little kid, a future Rembrandt perhaps, used his shoes to draw pictures in the sand behind second plate, and then he bent down to lean on his feet so he could do a better job with his fingers while coaches and parents alike screamed, “Get the ball! Get the ball! GET-THE-BALL!!”
I’ve seen little kids run out into the field and twirl around or performed acrobatics, and I’ve seen one child pick up home plate to look for bugs. The world is still so new to these little kids, and with the attention span of a gnat, they are always eager to explore something new.
At other games (what I am about to relate has happened more than once) the batter hits a ball toward the pitcher. In a gesture of true “team-spirit,” every single player on the team runs to get the ball. I’m sure some of them had no clue as to why they were running, because so many of them weren’t paying attention, but when they saw their teammates running, they joined in. Those moments bring joy to me even now, because I remember crying from laughing so hard.
Yes being a spectator at a t-ball game is one of my most enjoyable experiences. If you ever get the opportunity to attend one, you’ll see kids leave in the middle of the game to talk to their parents because they’re thirsty or they have to go potty or they’re hungry or hot or just tired of playing the game and they want to go home or go to the park – never mind that they are supposed to bat next or guard third base. Their personal needs come before the game. Heck, their personal needs replace the game.
On those rare occasions when these mini-players actually hit the ball on the first try, they don’t run to first base – they jump up and down in exhilaration, turn around to search the bleachers for their parents and grandparents and shout – I DID IT! I HIT IT! while the parents and grandparents send grand sweeping gestures aiming the child toward first base, yelling – Yay! Congratulations! Now run! Run to first base! Go! Go! Go!
All the other kids scramble to get the ball, while the child who is still enjoying her (or his) success suddenly gets that little glimmer of light beaming in her/his eyes, and all the coaching kicks into gear. Oh, I hit the ball and it’s time to run, so the child runs! – maybe not to first base – maybe to third – sometimes straight past the pitcher to second base. Because children realize in that moment that they are playing t-ball and they remember what they are supposed to do – just not how.
As you might guess, scores don’t matter much in t-ball, so nobody really pays attention to them. If you ever get a chance to sit in the bleachers at a t-ball game, even if you don’t know the players, and even if you don’t like sports, you’ll find plenty of reasons to laugh. Some moments are definitely AFV worthy. Just remember to get parents’ permission to tape the kids before you send it in.