Sapphire Designs 2011

Whoever invented "T-ball" had to have hated people of all ages.

My six year old great grandson, "Sputnik" I call him, has been signed to play T-ball. Each team has about 25 players around 6 + or - a year or so and everyone on the bench bats. No outs; no runs counted. Just hit a ball off a T-stand and run to first base. When everyone has batted once, that ends the inning. Then they go out into the field - boys and girls alike. One stands on the pitcher's mound, one on first base and one as catcher. There are about eight infielders and twelve outfielders. Four coaches are scattered among them trying to make them pay attention, which is an impossible task.

After about the third batter, the outfielders drop their gloves and start playing with their hats. After about the fifth batter, the infielders start looking for butterflies and bugs and cloud formations. And that's because every batter hits the ball to the little boy or girl on the pitcher's mound with the coach and parents yelling, "Run to first!!!!" and off they go. The pitcher drops down on the ball and smothers it; picks it up all excited and throws it somewhere between second base and home. No one ever knows where it's going to go. But, the first baseman runs it down no matter where it goes - drops down on the ball and smothers it, then runs over and tags first base even though the runner has been there for quite some time talking to their first base coach who's been telling them, they have to go to second base when the next batter hits the ball.

Then the first baseman throws the ball somewhere between third and the first base bench which the catcher chases, drops down on and smothers. He or she then tosses it to the coach who chases it behind the back stop and brings it to the T-stand for the next batter.

By this time, the crowd of proud parents and grandparents has quieted down and are waiting for the next batter who is trying to find a helmet that fits; however, there's just 2 sizes - huge and bigger. These babies put on a helmet that looks somewhat like the box my bride's new stove came in. When they turn their little heads, the helmet doesn't turn---so---they're looking out the right ear hole, with their left eye looking at the coach who is trying to explain to them how to stand to hit the ball straight at the pitcher. Same instructions which he gave them the last inning and the last game----but they forgot.

After a few swings hitting the "T" and swinging over the ball, they hit the ball to the pitcher and everyone again yells, "Run to first." And it starts all over again.

By now, the third baseman walks off the field to get a drink of water and coach goes and brings him back. All the outfielders have lost interest in their hats and are throwing their gloves in the air. The infielders are watching the outfielders. One starts dancing. His dad yells, "Decide if you want to play ball or take dance lessons!" The crowd has a good laugh.

While we were distracted, the batter finally hit the ball. Hooray! It went between the pitcher's legs and through the infield into the outfield. The outfielders are taken completely by surprise and freeze where they stand----staring at the ball as everyone yells, "Get the ball!!!!" Twelve outfielders descend on the ball in a big circle----and just look at it.

Finally one drops on the ball and smothers it, then gets up and throws it over the first baseman's head, past the other team's bench and into the parking lot. What an arm on so little a person. The crowd's on their feet. A mother chases it down by an SUV. The batter stops running halfway to first and watches the mother chase the ball. Someone yells, "Keep going to first!" Such excitement as the mom has the ball now and throws it in the direction of the home plate coach who drops down on it and smothers it.

This goes on for two innings. Every player on each team bats two times and the game's over. No outs and no score is kept. Then the adults take pictures and say things like, "You were great! You did so good this time."

In the parking lot, we hear little players saying things like, "I don't want to come back." and "I hate this game." But they'll all be back next week to start all over again and we'll be there, also, to cheer them on.

Yeah, someone hated people of all ages and invented "T-ball."

Jerry Soyka ©June 12, 2010 Used With Permission All Rights Reserved By Author Mail


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