I am sure many of you have children or grandchildren who are playing or have played tee-ball at some point in time. Well, let me tell you, it is currently my favorite pastime.
I know a lot of parents argue that it is a complete waste of time, but I disagree. Not only are your kids spending time outside and exploring a possible new hobby of their own, but they are also entertaining as hell.
Every time a ball is hit off that tee, you can count on the whole team- infield, outfield, pitcher, catcher and you guessed it, even the batter, to make a run for the ball. They will tear their teammates apart for a chance to touch a ball that they have no idea what to even do with once they get it.
I break out in hysterics. I cannot help it. I don’t even care if the coaches are side eyeing me through the fence.
Parents are groaning and yelling at their kids on the field, “Don’t fight over the ball,” and “get off of him“ or “you’re not supposed to be chasing the ball… you’re supposed to be running to first.”
That sequence of events is usually followed by a kid screaming, crying and throwing a fit because they did not get to touch the coveted ball. Then comes the, “It’s okay baby” and the, “you’ll get it next time” or the “don’t make me come out there.”
And here I am, trying to keep myself from keeling over from laughing so hard.
Some of these parents are out here treating it as if we are playing in the World Series. You can hear them from the parking lot threatening their kids from the sideline saying, “If you don’t quit playing in the dirt, you’re not getting a sno cone after the game” or my personal favorite, “your glove isn’t a hat.”
These kids have no idea what’s going on and 9 times out of 10, neither do I. Most of them, don’t care to learn at this point. They just want to have fun and in my opinion that is all it should be about.
The argument is that tee-ball confuses the kids. They play and are allowed to run amok on the field and by the time they reach the age to play in a more serious league, they have no clue what’s going on and this puts pressure on those coaches to teach them the skills they will need to be successful.
My counter is… they have to learn at some point and 4 or 5 probably is not the best age to try to teach them about covering bases, stealing home, cut-offs or any of the other more important aspects of the game. I can tell my 4-year-old that the sky is blue some days and she is going to argue with me. Not to mention, they have the attention span of a goldfish.
At that age, it should simply be about having fun- that’s it. Oh, and entertaining the adults because Lord knows I need a good laugh at least once a week.
So, parents lighten up. Let them kids dog pile for the ball, roll around in the dirt, swing for the fence then run for it.
I was always the flower picking tee-ball player and I ended up playing softball every year after that up until graduating high school- school ball, summer ball, travel ball and All-Stars a few times.
Just because your kid isn’t the Babe Ruth of tee-ball that doesn’t mean it’s a useless waste of time, or that they are doomed for eternity or that they won’t shape up to win championships in the future. I will say it one more time- they are there to have fun, so let them.
(Paige Nash is a wife, mom, digital journalist for the Webster Parish Journal and publisher for the Bienville and Claiborne Parish Journal.)
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