David played in his first T-Ball game tonight. Now for anyone that knows David, it is a given that if it involves throwing a ball, David will love it. Right? Well...not really.
At the two T-Ball practices, David ended up in tears and attaching himself to either Brian or me. For a child that is talkative and a bit of an attention seeker with the youth group, he is quite shy and timid around kids his age. Add to that the confusion of 14 five year olds on a baseball field, and you just don't have a positive experience in David's eyes.
In addition, his only other team experience was soccer last year, and that was even worse than the baseball practices. We would literally bribe him to just get him to stand on the soccer field for the game. It wasn't that he didn't like soccer. He loves to kick around the ball. It was all because in the first game, he headed to the wrong goal and the parents laughed. It wasn't even intended in a mean way. Everyone was just laughing at the fact that David was kicking the ball towards the wrong goal and a herd of 4 year olds were following behind him. The embarrassment of that situation coupled with the fact that 5 other little boys were constantly running towards him (one time resulting in a head on collision) ended the desire to play soccer for David.
So, this T-Ball game was a BIG deal at our house. Brian and I didn't care if he ever touched the ball, hit the ball, or if he ran the bases backwards. ALL that we cared about was David staying on the field and having fun. For a rather competitive mom, that is not an easy thing to say, but honestly, I really just wanted him to enjoy the game.
And he did! You would have thought the kid hit a thousand homeruns by the smile on his face and my face when the game was done. (Unfortunately, Brian wasn't able to go because he is still sick.) David hit the ball both times at bat. He ran the bases well...except for when he forgot to run from second to third even though the coaches were all yelling, "Run! Go David! Run David!" (I blame that on the fact that the batter's helmet was too big and he couldn't see without holding it up though!)
While his team was in the field, he played in the dirt, and one time even sat down. His coaches tried to coax him up, and when they couldn't, his head coach went and sat down on the field next to him as the game went on around them. The coach sat there and talked to him, and eventually David stood up and "played" the rest of the game. When the game was done and we were walking to get his free snowcone, David looked at me and said, "I love my team! I played baseball and that was so much fun!"
I could have cried right there. It touched me to the depths of my heart to see him proud with himself. I am so thankful he has a kind-hearted coach willing to sit down on the ground to encourage my child to give his best effort in a loving way. One of the moms pointed to them sitting on the field together and said, "Now that is a good T-Ball coach. That is what it is all about right there." I couldn't agree more.
When we got home, David asked me where his hat was. He said he had to put it on to show his dad that he was a player. As he climbed out of the van, he said, "I am a player...I am a BASEBALL player." Then he repeated "I am a Baseball player" over and over until we went inside the house.