Sometimes I don't know what to say to them. My natural urge is to say "who's your best buddy" like coach Rege Sofranko did to everyone during my first year of T-ball. Rege said that all the time, and by this coined my first nickname ever: I-Don't-Know Gorinski.
Somewhere I have a plaque with that name on it.
It's a lot easier to type about my White Sox T-ball glory days than it is to explain how awkward it is to coach T-ball when you don't really have a natural "coach" personality.
I don't know the kids. I very much don't know their parents.
Oh God-here comes the guy with the stroller, his one kid always goes on the field in a Ninja Turtle costume and the littlest boy has a baseball helmet on; he thinks it's his practice. The little girl is horning in too, hovering over by the snacks the whole time.
They are part of the coaching package for now. I don't know. It's my job to lead and instruct and most importantly, help the entire team have fun. That definitely means disciplining other people's unique little snowflakes too. Ugh.
And this is not GoWags. There's a huge variation in interest, expectation, physical and mental development, skill, and need for "mom time-outs" (breaks to go see mom), that each child brings to the table. I really get tired of hearing myself talk, as a coach. "Okay now lets do this/you over there/no she's next/where's your helmet/don't hit the coach.../.../..." Can I get a mom time out?
But yeah. You're right. I love it. The kids are great. If only I can meet them where they are. I am getting to know them.
The way Brian* throws off his right hip. I've never seen someone throw a baseball so much like a bale of hay, and I feel horrible for "correcting" his mechanics. It's like using a beautiful wild dogwood tree to make a dugout.
The way Cindy needs a little extra space in line**.
The look Brett gave me when I told him "that was an awesome jump off the back of those big bleachers."
The way Kyle wraps his bat back behind his opposite ear and wrings out his torso like a washrag before swinging.
The way my oldest now comes home with a sudden zest for baseball, yet still asking if he's going to win a trophy.
And on and on...
If winning in T-ball is something like learning the game and not getting a bloody nose, then so far, we are definitely losing to bloody noses. Other than that, we're having fun and getting some exercise. We're learning that not everybody wins. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose because that's life and that's okay, especially okay if you tried your best. We're getting the snack right. We're like an entire team of Nolan Ryans in the juice box/cookie part of T-ball, thanks to a strong off-season pick up of a team mom who works at Pennsylvania Bakery.
We're (hopefully) learning gratitude by gathering together at the end of practice and naming something we're thankful for. Everything from Jesus to water has gotten a shout out, and yipes, lots of things in between. We're getting the sports-mandatory "hands in 1, 2, 3-TEAM" thing down too. Except we yell "1, 2, 3-HERF."
Herf Jones is our team sponsor. I don't know what or who Herf Jones is, either.
But now you know what I'm in it for.
*All names changed. Again, I have no idea how much these people appreciate the coaches remarks.
**Grammar police: sometimes incomplete sentences just feel right. Tball thoughts, not a dissertation.
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