Last night, I got to watch a T-ball game for the first time…

A few days ago, my friend, Hilary, was expressing some parental frustration* that her son’s three-inning T-ball game could go for 1 hr 45 min. I think that you parents know what I mean by ‘parental frustration’. It’s that feeling of “this is crazy, but I love it because of the children, and I’ll love it even more in a few years when I can look back at it and laugh”.** And my response (which can only be explained by noting that I’m a parent without my children right now) was to ask whether I could come see a game, ’cause I thought it would be fun. She assured me that I was welcome, but wasn’t sure if I was being sarcastic or not.

* My interpretation of her Facebook post.

** Children’s holiday music concerts also inspire this feeling.

So last night, I went right to the T-ball game after work. I knew that I was in for a treat from the moment I arrived. Here are the highlights that I can remember…

  • When I arrived, one team was practicing its fielding. Immediately it was evident why you might expect a three inning game to last for a while.
  • Clearly, some of these players are trying to imitate the professionals. There was one boy who had a long, elaborate, and convoluted windup every time that he threw the ball. And then the ball went six feet.
  • T-ball rules are a bit different. I found this out in the top of the first inning when the second batter came up with a runner on first. He grounded directly to the second base area. I couldn’t be sure, but it seemed like someone tagged second before throwing to first. And yet the runners stayed on their respective bases. So here are the main rules that I can remember:
    • Every player bats.
    • Every batter gets a single, except the last one.
    • The last batter gets a home run and clears the bases.
    • Nobody gets out.
    • Lots of runs are scored, but none of them are counted.
    • Everybody wins or nobody wins, depending on how you look at it.
    • Oh… and there are no balks. 🙂
  • There is an incentive for players to arrive close to the start time: they bat in the order they arrive. So the last one to arrive gets to hit the home runs.
  • The pitcher does quite a bit of fielding, since the hits often don’t go very far.
  • But when the hits get past the pitcher, you can have a whole crowd of T-ball players swarm the baseball. It’s like they have baseball radar on…
  • Except for the ones playing with the dirt. I looked out once while a batter was taking his swing, and counted four different boys (including the runner on second) playing with handfuls of dirt from the field.
  • The parents are coaches, of course. There were nearly as many coaches on the field as there were players.
  • Some of the coaches may or may not have been eating their supper while coaching.
  • The coaches help both teams.
  • I was a bit annoyed by one coach who was a bit more “instructive” with his kid than he was with other kids. (Parents – if you are acting as an adviser to a group of children and your child happens to be a part of the group, please don’t treat your child differently. Save the parenting for home.)
  • When the game is over, the players are treated to a sugar high.

So – I had a great time, and I’m pretty sure that this game didn’t last as long as the last. Thanks, Hilary and Jason for the fun (and the supper)!

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