It’s nearly the start of baseball season, with Spring Training having been in-progress for over a month already. While our yard is nothing but muck right now with some remnants of the harsh winter left behind as chunks of dirty ice where the bigger piles of snow once were, the ballparks in Chicago proper will certainly be beaming with lush green grass at the start of April. Perhaps our Spring Break could in a way be a “Spring Training” of sorts here at Rock Father HQ?
Last year, I found myself in the unlikely position of being a baseball coach. Well, not just a coach, but the coach of Addie’s Pee Wee Baseball team. My little girl wanted to play ball, so we signed her up to play in a local, seven-team league. After it was revealed at the season kick-off meeting that several teams were lacking coaches, I left the meeting with Addie not just as her Daddy, but as “Coach James.”
With the ball field as my “office” for two nights and a morning each week, a love of playing ball as a kid was rekindled as I watched Addie hold her own as the sole girl on a team that was 13 strong. In the meantime, Little Finley was watching from the sidelines, awaiting her chance to play - something she’d get a taste of after each game and practice as she ran the bases with big sister.
My wife and I both had some doubts about how it would all go at the start, but the entire experience was a great one for all involved… and Addie’s been missing it, and she’s told us that. I, too have been missing it.
Sadly, the league we were a part of last year has been shelved for this season, and the offer to play elsewhere went out to everyone involved - but we haven’t jumped on-board just yet. The place that would like to absorb the families from last year seems a little too extreme for the younger kids - perhaps a little too into the “winning” aspect of baseball as opposed to playing for fun.
The best part of being a coach was being just another step closer to Addie’s development as a team player (something we need to work on) and a person. It’s something that I hope to be able to do for Finn when she’s old enough to play as well.
For now, I think we’ll get out the gear and play a little bit of ball in the backyard for Spring Break, and although we may not be able to get our baseball skills fully up-to-speed, the girls and I will be spending time together, and then we can focus some of our other skills… our gardening skills. The tulips we planted two seasons ago are starting to emerge once more. No matter what we do, together we will grow.
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