He Finally Hit The Ball!

I signed Abra­ham up for the Old Brook­lyn Youth League tee-ball league back in April. Due to an enroll­ment mix-up he got put into a coach-pitch soft­ball team instead. More than a lit­tle bit out of his league. He’s been strug­gling a bit with the gross motor demands and focus nec­es­sary to play on the team, but he’s just bare­ly 6, so no one real­ly cares — except for him. He’s been fight­ing against it because sports aren’t very fun when you’re no good at them. It’s the same whin­ing I dealt with ear­li­er in the year with regard to writ­ing. He just wants to not do it because it is hard. He hasn’t yet inter­nal­ized that the more you prac­tice the less hard things become. So play­ing catch or bat­ting prac­tice have been more men­tal strug­gles than phys­i­cal ones.

The biggest obsta­cle for him has been hit­ting the ball. It’s not easy. Each time he’s been up to bat and struck out 1–2-3, he’s got­ten more and more down­cast. He struck out on his first at bat and didn’t want to leave. He want­ed to keep swing­ing. His next at bat he decid­ed to go out there left-hand­ed, and his coach let him. Lo, and behold, he knocked a ball foul and ran to first base! He was so excit­ed. And then crushed and not under­stand­ing why he had to go back to the box. He refused to leave first, because he’d earned that base, by gum! Then both teams & the spec­ta­tors began cheer­ing for him and encour­ag­ing him to go back and swing again.  Of course, he struck out again, but every­one let him run the bases any­way. It was a great change. He was so hap­py, and start­ed singing “I Love Base­ball!”

The encour­age­ment from the coach­es, both teams, and all the spec­ta­tors made me cry. I’m glad I was wear­ing sun­glass­es. This league is about as non-com­pet­i­tive as you can get, all of the adults are focused on mak­ing sure the kids have fun and learn about good sports­man­ship, cama­raderie, and how to play the game.

Tonight when I put Abra­ham to sleep he said: “When we get up tomor­row morn­ing, can we prac­tice base­ball?”

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