“Have you ever watched a T-ball game? All I have to say is, God bless T-Ball coaches! Those are the real MVPs. They’re the ones taking one for the team so that our kids can participate in one of the most confusing sports a 5-year-old could play.
T-ball is a really inclusive game that doesn’t put pressure on the kids. At all. It’s really upbeat, where everyone runs all of the bases regardless if they got out at first base. All of the kids get to bat, play pitcher, play catcher, and take turns at different positions in the outfield. It’s awesome that it really is just one big game for the kids to participate in.
But oh my heavens, do a bunch of 5 and 6 year old boys have zero attention span. I honestly thought it was just my son that struggled with this. He’s surrounded by four sisters and a baby brother, so I really had no way to compare his energy. Turns out he’s just a normal 5-year-old boy who, quite literally, has very selective hearing and the inability to focus on something for longer than 13 seconds.
For 15-20 minutes at a time, these boys have to stand out in the outfield waiting (hoping!) for a ball to get hit their way. Do you know what those boys are doing during that time? They’re looking at flowers growing in the grass. They’re kicking dirt around. They’re talking to each other about the slip and slide they played on that day. They’re discussing whether or not each of them has watched the Paw Patrol episode where they save some big purple dinosaur. They give zero cares about the other team batting. Like, at all.
These coaches have to keep their attention so they have to constantly yell, ‘be baseball ready!’ To which each player squats down with their glove out for a total of 4 seconds before returning to their regularly scheduled shenanigans. These coaches then yell for them to ‘throw the ball to first!’ But what these little whipper snappers do typically is just throw it to home. Maybe we weren’t clear during practice which base is first. Or maybe none of them paid attention? The best part of this is when the parents, who take this whole experience way too seriously, start yelling it too. As if hearing their own mom and dad yell it will magically make the kid know where first base is.
Once the coaches reiterate which one is first, they finally start chucking that ball towards the first base man. That alone is terrifying because that poor kid never knows if that ball is coming at his feet, over his head, or directly at his face. So us parents just hold our breaths at every throw, hoping that it’s not a straight liner to some part of his body. The coaches stand behind to make sure that ball doesn’t get thrown into oblivion, risking their own selves in the meantime. Shout out to you, first base coach. I know you got hit a few times trying to protect a kid that didn’t know he needed protecting.
When the ball is hit past all of the outfielders, five of them run towards it to fall on top of it. Then they all fight over who gets to throw it towards first. It’s like a little mini wrestling match in the outfield that the coaches have to break up. It’s honestly one of the most entertaining parts of watching this game! Once someone stands up, holding the ball like a trophy, he starts running towards the diamond with it. The other four run after him, trying to get the ball away from their own teammate. I guess mostly because they wanted to be the one to throw it. They worked hard for that ball, after all! The coach runs after them reminding them that only one person can throw the ball in.
Once it’s time to come in to bat, it’s like herding cats. These coaches have to take the time to sit all of them down in numerical order because these kids forget which number they are. Every. Single. Time. Then they have to explain who is batting first, who is second, third, etc.
I’ve learned from watching that each kid has a particular helmet and bat they prefer. So, finding each combination every time is tedious work. The coaches then have to stand behind the batter, holding the bat with one hand while also simultaneously setting the ball on the tee with the other. The coach gives a few pointers, let’s go of the bat, and backs up quickly enough to avoid the inevitable swing that’s coming the second he releases his hand. I’ve seen the coaches jump out of the way from a swing a few hundred times. Those boys are ruthless with their arm rotation! They have zero awareness of what’s around them. They just know they’re supposed to hit this ball off of this tee and they have to do it as hard and as fast as possible.
Meanwhile on the bench, the other boys are waiting their turn. But instead of paying attention and cheering on their teammate, they’re passing around sunflower seeds and spraying each other with squirt bottles to cool each other off in the heat. They’re also laughing about how their yellow jerseys remind them of bumblebees. Then they pretend to use their hands as bumblebees, buzzing around and stinging each other in their arms.
The coach at the bench reminds them to cheer for their teammate and they throw out a few, ‘go Easton! Yeah Easton!’ and maybe even a few claps. But then their attention span returns to more sunflower seeds, more squirts from the squirt bottle, and more jokes about things little 5-year-old’s find funny.
Honestly, the whole thing is one big comedy to watch. We know neither side of this game are taking this super seriously. I think that’s the best part of T-ball. We all know it’s just one thing we participate in so our kids can start to understand what being part of a team means. Also, it’s a way for them to burn off some energy which is a win for all of us. Of course there’s the few parents who are trying to raise the next MLB player, but for the most part, us parents unite in finding this whole thing ridiculously entertaining.
At the end of the game, there’s an instantaneous, ‘where’s the snacks?!’ from every single player. Let’s just agree that the only reason these kids sit through an hour and a half of standing in the sun is because they know the reward in the end. There’s an ice-cold juice box and delicious treat just waiting for them after every game. If you asked any of them what their favorite part of T-ball is, I can guarantee all of them would say the snacks.
I’m an athlete to my core but I don’t think I could ever volunteer to coach T-ball. I’m a mom, so I think I’ve figured out most of my strengths and weaknesses up until this point of my life when it comes to kids. Being the coach of my son’s T-ball team, where there’s 13 boys, would be a real big weakness for me. There’s a specific breed of people who could match the energy of 5-year-old’s and teach them a game with so many variables. I, however, prefer to watch the hilarity ensue from the comfort of my own lawn chair.
God bless T-ball coaches. Y’all are amazing human beings with the patience of a saint!”
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