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My oldest son, Bryant, is now playing his first year of Little League baseball. He’s almost six, so he’s in machine pitch and loving every second of it. We’ve had some funny conversations and happenings already in this season, and I wanted to use this platform to share those with you.
On his second practice, his team decided to ‘rent out’ a ‘really nice facility in Durham’. So in walks 12 five to six-year-olds for practice. Bryant is obviously super pumped that practice is at ‘Baseball Business’ and can’t wait to start. The decided to do some catching and throwing first, and Bryant decided to catch with his face and not his glove.
Thankfully, that was the only blood flowing injury of the day. He was back out there three minutes later after we cleaned off the blood in the bathroom.
Every player is announced, a few awards were given, and the pledge of allegiance and little league pledge were read. The end though was the highlight of the day, where all the kids threw their hats up in the air.
Honestly, I'm just glad we found his hat!
It is a little league rule that all players must wear a cup. I was trying to explain this to Bryant and I could tell he was more than confused. I told my wife I’d take him to get a cup when I got off work. So of course, she went ahead and took him to get a cup herself. As she was walking around Dicks Sporting Goods, Bryant was shouting, “where are the Penis Protectors”? As patrons and staff laughed and Bryant giggled at the idea of the cup, my youngest son Tyson started screaming “PENIS PROTECTORS” as loud as a 2-year-old can shout.
Now, it’s game day. Bry is hyped, but he also asked about the post-game snack three times. The game starts and Bryant is on the bench and batting last (like father like son). My wife, a former D1 college athlete, leans over and says, “I wonder why he’s batting last and on the bench”. I look out to the field and show her that the team is in numerical order for positions and batting lineup.
#1 was pitching
#2 was catching
#3 was playing first, and so on.
She looked back at me and said, “I’m embarrassed I even said anything”.
Bryant’s line: 0 for 1 with a K, a few fielding errors, a few grounders caught, and 1000 smiles.
I asked Bryant if he had fun! He said, “YES, it was awesome, I even hit the ball!" (he had a foul ball). I said, “That’s great buddy! Wanna go get lunch?” After our postgame photoshoot, we headed off to Mattie B’s, a restaurant in Durham and he got sliders. Bryant talked about the game some more, and he had some questions about baserunning. Then, he got quiet and looked at me. I thought, this is it, he’s going to ask me to help him with his hitting! He says, “Dad, If I had my bat, and a perfect stance, and took a great swing...could a Gorilla hit it farther than I can?”
He’s five-years-old. And your son or daughter is young too. Enjoy the time you have with them playing a game you and they (hopefully), love. Praise their effort. Praise their enthusiasm. Have them thank their coaches for their time after practice and games. That night, I tucked Bryant into bed.
He looked at me and said, "Hey dad, thanks for coming to my game".
I said, "Sure buddy, I loved it!”
He rolled over and that was it. Out of all we talked about, the most important thing for him was just that my wife and I were there. So I challenge you all to BE THERE for your kids at their games. As much as I think I know about baseball, I learned a lot from Bryant that day about what matters to him.