Friday, April 30, 2010

The Reluctant Coach and Softball Possibilities

On the sports front, we had our first t-ball practice the other night, and as expected, it was a little chaotic. What I find most amazing is how the parents can sit around and watch and do nothing in the way of helping while two adults scramble to find their way. It's a little crazy, if you ask me. As I've mentioned in the past, I never set out to be a coach, and given the choice, I would have balked at the opportunity.

However, N is so thrilled to be playing, he was beside himself, he couldn't stop talking about opening day. In light of this, how can any self-respecting parent not do their best to help him realize his raison d'etre? Besides, the rec center director kind of gave me a very subtle ultimatum. He said that they needed two coaches, and after sending out a request, he had no takers. If things continued this way, he would have hated to have seen the season postponed or even canceled. How the heck would I explain that to N? Furthermore, how could I look at myself in the mirror if I hadn't at least given it a try. Then again, all the other parents don't seem to have a problem with this approach, I'm guessing because things are being taken care of.

Anyway, I agreed. I figured it wouldn't be rocket science, and there was one other parent who agreed to take the helm, so I could in essence be an assistant coach. For one hour, twice a week, we would teach the kids basic baseball fundamentals, and the difference between being a good sport and a punk. I don't think the parents have very high expectations. Plus, I like being there to help out N and give him some pointers. I just find that many kids intimidating, especially with all those parents watching.

The practice wasn't so bad, in the end. Sure, we didn't really know what we were doing, but the head coach, CW, is a take charge kind of person. She is clearly someone who is able to oversee other people, because she's confident and doesn't waver. We broke the kids up into two groups and practiced hitting and fielding/throwing. Most of the kids are 5, some are 6, so N is the elder statesmen. Most of the kids are also girls, so many pink gloves, so it adds an interesting dynamic to the playing field. Plus, N is in essence taking a step back. Last season, he was in the big leagues with kids that were all bigger than him, and the coach threw them into the fire by forsaking the tee and pitching to them. Now, N doesn't want to use the tee, and wants pitches. We may have to adapt, because as anybody knows, you just can't hold a good man down.

I think we need to tweak our plan, because the hitting takes so long that at some point, the kids that I'm throwing with get bored out of their minds. CW is open to suggestions, so I told her we should just scrimmage, and that's probably what we'll do next practice, break up and play a small game. That way they're all engaged in the same thing.

And maybe some other parents will step in. You just never know.

On another front, I learned that on the adjacent field, they have 3rd and 4th grade girls softball. I noticed some of A's friends on the field, and thought she might like to play. I broached it with her and she said she'd think about it, but I think some of the chorus girls are in it. I think because it is girls softball, it won't be as intensively competitive as boys baseball, but we shall see. A is good at playing ball, she can hit the ball, and she has some speed. Catching needs work, but she also has a good arm with good form. In other words, she doesn't "throw like a girl." I hate to be chauvinistic, but it's a valid reference, especially amongst ball players in the know.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Herman Hooyschuur and Maria Yan for the pic.

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