I attended my Bebbeboo’s nephew’s Tee-Ball game a few weeks ago. The team was comprised of kids 4-7yrs old. I don’t know how to describe the experience other than as “frustrating hilarity”.
One tee-ball kid was OCDing over a patch of dirt. I’m pretty sure that he was sorting pebbles alphabetically. Every time my eyes would check up on him, it was obvious that he had zero interest in the game that was going on around him. His dispassion fueled lengthy debates about his commitment to the sport and triggered arguments speculating as to his ability to perform the sport. At some point, because of his intent gaze and furious digging, I became certain that he was trying to dig himself out of the game from pure embarrassment, possibly attempting to seek sports asylum in China.
Saw two kids get beaned in the head with baseballs because they weren’t paying attention to the game. Each instance made me laugh out loud. Yes, I might be a bit of a sadist, but each event was genuinely funny. Neither kid was hurt. Or I should say, neither kid received a concussion. One was wearing a helmet, and the other wasn’t paying attention when she was beaned, so instead of crying outright, she looked around to see if it was worth bleating about. Since nobody was paying attention, she opted out of crying and went on about her day. That was a fun psychological process to witness!
Two outfielders played a rousing game of soccer with a baseball mitt. Another kid just threw his mitt into the outfield for no reason. One of the coaches had to retrieve it. It looked like a typical test of authority to me. In an instant, the coach became that little kid’s bitch. The little kid stood there looking at him as if to say, “Hm. It took you 13 seconds. Unimpressive…”
One kid ran from second base directly to home plate, avoiding third base completely. Efficient! Instead of bringing the ball to third base and outing the batter, the outfielder chased the batter to home plate. But in a twist, the batter juked the outfielder, ran back to third base and slid in safely with no more threat from the outfielder. WHAT THE FUCK?! You can DO that?!
Apparently in Infant Tee Ball, even if you’re tagged out, you are still indulged the privilege of running to home plate. And you get to slide into any base you want, as much as your heart desires. If you want to slide into first when the ball is in deep left field, you can. Wanna slide into the pitcher’s mound? Go ahead! The dug-out? Nobody gives a shit! One kid slid into the nacho concession stand. They tagged him out with extra jalapeño. I understand why the kids are allowed these indulgences. It absolutely makes sense to me. But maybe they could make it a little more fun by adding a water slide or some mud or something?
My Bebbeboo and I were clapping more than any of the parents. It wasn’t a competition, the parents just didn’t seem to care. That was really depressing considering how elated the kids looked when they heard people in the stands clapping for them. They displayed an insatiable hunger for attention and it was emotionally gratifying to give it to them that day.
It’s gotta totally suck to strike out at tee-ball. On the other hand, it’s gotta feel soooo good when there are people clapping and cheering for you when you do something good. Or even if you just got tagged out. Kids need that.
If you’ve ever played Nintendo baseball (and I’m talking old 1985 NES,) that’s how fast the kids run. Tek tek tek tek tek. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I’m glad I got to witness it. Here is a visual representation of Infant Tee Ball, minus the awesome catches and 96mph fast balls.
[c] 2010 Russ of America
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