Awkward Week: Up to Bat

I have little to no athletic ability. Sure, I can sink wadded up balls of paper into across-the-office trash cans—typically when no one’s looking—and I play a pretty mean game of table tennis, but I’ve never played team sports or anything. Not really.

My wife swam in high school, but she isn’t what anyone would call athletic either.

As our firstborn has demonstrated both talent and interest in sports, we figured it would be a good idea to get her into something official, hence our first-ever foray onto a softball diamond this afternoon. Actually, my mom played softball for years, but I usually spent her games looking for bottlecaps.

I’m not a sports guy, if you couldn’t tell.

I’ve tossed a ball around with my 6-year-old from time to time, so she at least understands the concept of throwing and catching, but as I walked her toward the sign-in tables and paired-off lines of girls lobbing (overhand!) pitches into each others’ mitts, I realized that I should’ve talked to her a little more about the game.

“Do you know what you do after you hit the ball?” I asked her, pointing to home plate as we passed. “In a game, after you hit it?”

She thought for a moment, then: “Throw it back?”

“You run,” I said. “Run to first base.”

I got a blank look in return.

Fortunately, based on my observations from this morning, she’s a quick study and will likely trick everyone into thinking her parents know at least a little bit about softball. I mean, she’s not perfect right off the bat or anything, but she’s confident and has good hustle and is coordinated enough to actually connect a bat with a ball, or later throw that same ball in the direction she intends it to go.

I’m excited and nervous about this new phase in parenting, in life. I don’t know the team sports environment, either from personal experience or as the parent of a participant since this is so new.

We also chose today to start dance lessons for our 4-year-old, so we felt like cliche parents today for the first time: loading three kids into the minivan and shuttling everyone from home to rehearsal to home to practice to home.

So it begins.


4 thoughts on “Awkward Week: Up to Bat

  1. My kids play sports I knew nothing about until we signed them up. Even when I have no idea what’s going on out there, I’ve always loved watching them play. And I keep my cheers on the generic side so no one knows how little I know! Have fun!

  2. There is Youtube, you can learn anything from youtubevideos, I was told. And there are rule books – to be read. There even is a sports part in the newspaper, if you feel a little lucky. I am sure you can at least learn the rules – and the names for things. Take that as an opportunity to broaden your horizon that would not have come up without kids.

  3. Welcome to it! But don’t worry we all stumble through it. The first year I coached my daughters soccer I was told, make sure they all have fun and all get a popsicle at the end. It was sound advise.

  4. You’ll do fine. It’s not so much about knowing all the rules and techniques (they’ll be the experts soon enough). It’s about being there for them both and cheering them on.

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