An Open Letter of Thanks

Well, another tball season is officially in the books.  Our team lost their playoff game by one point yesterday.  Considering many of the players on the opposing team were taller than me, that is quite an achievement.  

My oldest got the last home run of the year on his last at bat.  My second got a triple.  We all cheered and watched in awe as the boys kept the balls in front of them, and generally knew where to throw the ball when.  In comparison to the first game it was like watching a pro team.  

They were sad that they lost, but not that feeling sorry for yourself sort of way.  They were proud of how they played, even though they didn’t win.

I have to thank everyone involved in the Nationals this year.  I have only two years of tball experience before this, but I have to say (no offence to the other teams), this way by far my favorite year.

 They learned a lot.  I saw kids that barely knew where first base was throw there automatically on a ground ball. The boys in the outfield learned that it is easier to block a ball that lands in front of you than to chase after one that goes over your head.  Runners not forced to go were holding on second, running only after the ball was thrown to first.  Most of them even understood to hold on a fly ball.  They threw to the cut off man, they backed up the pitcher, they caught fly balls, and even turned the odd double play.  My boys are some of the more experienced players.  Not once did they complain about the younger kids.  They could recognize that everyone was doing their best and were getting better.  

And this was only possible because of our beloved Coach Joe.  I don’t know how he managed to keep track of, teach, and mentor every one of those little heathens, but he did it.  I am sure if I asked each kid on that team who was Coach Joe’s favorite player, they would all answer “me”.  And that is how it should be.  He found something to praise about each kid.  He focused on and praised them for their strengths, and then helped them with their weaknesses.  He viewed this experience for exactly what it was:  a chance for the kids to have fun and LEARN about baseball.  No one is going to go straight from tball to the bigs, and unfortunately that obvious statement is lost on many of the other coaches.  Even in our tight playoff game, the kids played all different positions.  Even some of the munchkins played the infield in the later innings.  My second (who isn’t the world’s most consistent catcher) played pitcher in the last inning, where if we could hold them we could win.  It wasn’t about winning.  It was about the kids.

I also need to thank a most amazing group of parents.  I was very sad yesterday because I would no longer get to hang out with them.  We would gossip and complain and yell “RUN” at the kids (okay, that was mostly me yelling at my boys, but I have seen them run faster to escape a house spider than they run to first base).  The younger siblings left to fend for themselves were all extremely well behaved and got along very well.  

Every year at sign up they ask you if you want to be on the same team as last year.  My response this year will be “If my two aren’t on the same team as last year you will be hearing from my lawyer.”

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