Let’s Play Two!

“It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame….Let’s play two!”
–Ernie Banks

erniebanksLegendary Chicago Cub and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks had it right, when it’s a beautiful day for a ballgame, why not play two?  While Mr. Banks was referring to his time as a Major League Baseball player, he may as well have been talking about any time there is a chance to play a ballgame.  Except for maybe when it is T-ball, but that is exactly what Kaitlyn did this past Saturday.

The weather was absolutely perfect.  A little on the warm side, but there were just enough clouds in the sky to provide a brief break from the intensity of the heat.  Each team in Kaitlyn’s T-ball league has one Saturday where they play a double-header, and this past weekend saw the Cubs taking their turn (no, the irony of using a quote from “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks is not lost on me); it was not even one of those revenue-maximizing split day/night double headers either.  Saturday was an old-school traditional double.  Two games, one after the other.

Now, keeping a dozen or so 5-6 year olds entertained and focused during one game is difficult enough, but when you add in the heat and an extra game, the task was somewhat monumental.  And it showed.

Kaitlyn had her share of “moments,” which basically consisted of her not paying attention and playing in the dirt for a minute.  Luckily, those were mostly contained to times when the ball was not in play or about to be in play.

Early on in Kaitlyn’s baseball career, I have figured out that she enjoys hitting the most.  She will play the field because she has to, but she would rather be hitting and running the bases.  She is happiest when she is on the base paths.  Rounding ThirdI can’t say I blame her; plus, it burns off some of her boundless energy.

When it comes to fielding, Kaitlyn is easily frustrated.  She wants the ball hit to her so that she can throw it to first (it seems the object of every play is just to throw the ball to first).  She is hard on herself when she isn’t the best one on the field.  She has set a high standard for herself, and is incredibly hard on herself when she does not meet that standard.

As expected when there are two games involved, Kaitlyn did have a small meltdown.  It happened between games, and she was having trouble focusing on practicing before the second game.  It was short-lived though, and the game went on without incident.

All-in-all, I think the double-header went pretty good.  I am still not sure of the thinking behind scheduling 5-6 year olds to play two games on the same day, but it could not have gone much better than it did.  I am happy that Kaitlyn enjoys playing baseball so much, and will happily watch every one of her games.  For my part, I do my best to stay out-of-the-way and just encourage her; we practice in the backyard together, and I try not to add to the pressure she puts on herself (I think she wants to be the best for me since I played and coached baseball for so long, and she does not want to let me down.  It has been hard to make her understand that she cannot let me down as long as she tries and she is enjoying herself.)  Being part of a team has forced her to be a little uncomfortable because she does not excel in the whole social interaction stuff, and Amber and I are happy she makes the token effort at socializing with her teammates.




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