How Will Our T-ball Experience Go?

It’s raining today. Feels fitting. It always rained on the day of my first softball game. It would end up canceled and rescheduled for the end of the season. Welcome to BigBrother’s first t-ball game day. Canceled. To be rescheduled. Such is life. He wore a t-shirt with a baseball on it to preschool today. What are the chances he’ll forget about the game when we pick him up from school? Minimal? Figures. I suppose we’ll have to read Froggy Plays T-ball a few extra times at bedtime tonight to appease him. That’s okay though because that book is a new favorite for all of us.

Ready for T-ballI’m pleased with our coaches and team thus far. Much like our basketball experience, our coaches understand that children in the 3-6 year age range don’t quite understand the concept of t-ball/baseball. Our team is a good mix of first year players and a few kids who have played before. Basically, it’s an introduction to listening to someone else and teamwork is what we’re going for along with some fun and cute memories.

Okay, mainly the cute memories. Like the time my cousin was running to second base but a train started to pass the field. So he just stopped to watch it pass. Stuff like that is priceless stuff to tell the boys’ future spouses. Or the internet. Right?

However, I’m not particularly pleased with some things going on in the “league” right now. My friend’s daughter is on a different team. She’s three years and four months old. Her team is full of five and six year old boys. That’s not the problem though one could argue that they could have better placed children on teams. The problem is the coach. As they had to reschedule the first practice due to weather (oh, Spring), her husband who had been set to be an assistant coach, couldn’t attend due to work. My friend went with intention of helping in place of her husband. Having played softball all through school and loving the sport in general, she felt qualified to do so. When asked where her husband was, she informed the coach that she would be helping today in place of her husband due to the schedule change. The coach looked at her and said, “I really wanted a man.”

What?

That man is lucky he didn’t say those words to me. I’ve actually had a hard time not calling the YMCA for my friend and launching into a tirade. I don’t quite understand, however, what caused this issue. The teams are co-ed. There are women coaches on other teams. It’s not as if this a professional, touring t-ball team with a big “NO GIRLS ALLOWED” sign hanging on the field fence. It’s a YMCA league for kids who are three to six years of age. Boys. Girls. Both. In the end, everyone wins as they all get trophies. Why did he have to play the gender card? Why can’t woman coach? Why did he think he could get away with saying that?

Of course, my friend then had issues as her daughter, who was born premature, is the smallest three year old in our entire preschool. So, it would follow that she’s one of the smaller three year old kiddos most people come in contact with. She then had parents of the boys on the team saying things like, “That girl isn’t even old enough to play!” I swear, if I would have been my friend that day, I would have blown up, verbally assaulted everyone and then my child would never have been welcome in YMCA sports ever again. Perhaps it’s lucky that it was my friend and not me.

And so, some tips to pass on so you don’t anger mothers like me in the future:

1. If you’re a parent of a child on the older side of the age range, do not make comments about the size or age of the smaller, younger players. I don’t know many parents that would enroll their one year old children in t-ball. Assume that the child is old enough to play if she’s present.

2. If you’re a coach, don’t be a sexist pig. That little girl deserves a right to have a coach who is going to treat her as if she can play just as well as those little boys. She deserves to believe that she can do whatever they can do. And if you treat her mother like she’s “less than” you just because she doesn’t have the same genitalia, you’re cheating her out of that experience. You can tell me that experiences in t-ball don’t matter and I’ll counter with, “Then why the over-dramatic need to win?”

3. For Pete’s sake, remember that it’s just t-ball. Let the kids have fun. Leave your competitive spirit for arguing who is going to win on American Idol. Don’t bring it to the t-ball field. Let them be children. Let them have fun.

It really doesn’t seem all that hard, does it? Shouldn’t organized sports at this age be about laughter, learning and ice cream after the game? Shouldn’t we be encouraging our children to learn about fair play instead of forcing them to win at all costs? Shouldn’t we be nice to each other?

Or am I off in right field picking dandelions by myself?

Whatever the case, I hope BigBrother’s team (The Bees!) beats that coach’s team into the ground. Oh, wait, I just played into the competitive spirit, didn’t I? Will it make it better if I make enough cookies for both teams to have afterward? It will? Okay. I’ll do that.

Here’s hoping that our season is fun for all. Including my friend’s daughter’s team.

 

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