Future Baseball Hall of Famers..

This was posted by Yaddy in the forum. However, this is the kind of thing I’d like to see people submit for front page stories. Sorry for putting it front and center, Yad, but I think it deserves it.

My 8 yr. old son had baseball tryouts on Saturday. This is our first year playing, with no previous experience, not even t-ball. It was a bright and sunny day, just about perfect to watch a little baseball. There was a group of about 30-40 boys, with a couple of brave little girls who got rounds of applause when taking their turns.

Part of try-outs is to see who can follow directions, and needless to say, the coaches looked at us parents with a twinkle in their eye when they boldly told the kids to, “Stay in line in the order you are called!!”

Each prospect was then called in turn to take their try at two fly balls and two grounders that were launched from pitching machines mounted on the pitchers mound. After fielding the balls, they were to throw them into 2nd base. Then, they were to run to short stop and field two balls pitched from a machine set up at home plate and throw those to 1st base. There were a handful of boys that you could tell had extensive previous playing experience. The right stance, glove held correctly to prevent the grounders from getting past, and right-on-the-money throws to the correct base.

There were a couple of kids there who really had no business being out there…ones that could benefit with another couple of years in t-ball. I was glad to see that not one coach belittled or prevented these kids from taking their turn, but careful to protect them from the possibility of bodily harm. It was amazing to see the human kindness shown to these little ones who just wanted to give it a try.

Then there was a giant group of kids who: 1) didn’t catch/stop any of the balls 2) barely threw the ball to the right base 3) and sort of knew where to go next. This is the group that my son fell into. God bless them, they all looked so cute in their caps, cleats and mits, but none looked to be the next Nomar (or, insert favorite player’s name here..). But it didn’t really matter…they all were having fun…and I am really hoping that all the other parents of kids will NOT take the season too seriously. I want them to see that if some of these kids are destined to be great players, they have a few more years to polish their skills.

These are the years of Saturday afternoons watching your kid pick daisies in the outfield, have a hot-dog and pepsi and get to know the other folks making it out to the game.

I ran across a book by Willie Morris, the author of the book that the movie, “My Dog Skip” is based on. It’s titled, A Prayer for the Opening of the Little League Season.

I quote:

"Above all, grant us boyhood and girlhood, where in time's soft reverie we are forever children, and where baseball shall dwell with us always, and where sharp grounders are eternally fielded in a new leather glove and drives to deep center are ceaselessly ensnared in shoestring catches and the wicked curveballs are met with two-run singles to left-center, to win the game in the bottom half of the ninth.

In thy infinite widom and grace, our Great Umpire in the Heavens, grant all this in perpetuity to all the baseball children of the earth. Amen."

Sorry to go on and on and get a little sentimental..but its too easy to forget how FUN this is.

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