Papa Bear's T-Ball Fears

Mama Bear and I recently signed up Junior Bear and Peanut Bear for an instructional t-ball league with the local little league. At first I was very hesitant to do this because all you are hearing about nowadays are horror stories about how parents are going psycho at their kid's sporting events.

I played organized sports my entire life, and for the most part enjoyed every experience. Sure, there were jerk coaches and nutty parents that I not only played against, but also for. I never let those people bother me too much. I just went about my business and tried to enjoy myself. Although, I did tell my mom that if she ever acted up at a game, I would quit playing sports.

Now as a parent, it is those nutty people who scare me the most. The last thing I want is for my children to have a poor experience doing something I used to love to do and I believe helps mold you as you grow.

So to try and overcome my fear I have volunteered to be an assistant coach for my kids’ team. I didn’t feel I was ready to have the responsibility to setup practice schedules and do all the work that goes into being a head coach because of my work schedule (not that there is a lot at the t-ball level), but I felt that being an assistant I could help make the experience enjoyable not only for my kids but for everyone. I think as the kids get older, I will take more of a leadership role, if not for the only reason to try and keep crazy parents in check.

Anyway, our team had our first parents’ meeting this past week. Overall I think it went really well. Almost all of the parents, including the head coach, are going through this for the first time and I think this is going to be a good time for the kids and parents.

After the meeting I got really excited and began looking forward to the season. So this weekend, with Gamma and Pop Church (my parents) making a visit and the weather reaching the 70s, we went out and bought the kids their first gloves, baseballs, bats and a tee.

When we got back from the sporting goods store the kids couldn’t wait to get started. I had a catch with Junior and Peanut for a couple hours and we had a blast. To do anything with a pair of 5-year-olds for more than a half hour is incredible, so to have a catch for a couple hours was remarkable.

Cookie Bear also got a little glove and ball, but it’s hard to have a catch with a 3-year-old when she has a glove in one hand and a purse in the other. She’s very girly and I don’t think t-ball will be for her -- I think we’ll be signing her up for “instructional shopping” not instructional t-ball when she is their age.

Anyway, when we first started having a catch, Junior and Peanut could barely catch the ball, were getting hit in the chest regularly, were throwing off the wrong foot and had me running all over the yard for errant throws. By the end, Junior was making Rickey Henderson-like snap catches (okay, it wasn’t technically a snap catch, but he was confidently snagging the ball with one hand) and Peanut was throwing the ball with some pop.

By the way, I quickly learned it can be very dangerous to have a catch with a pair of 5-year-olds at the same time, especially when they each have a baseball and they decide to throw the ball at you at the same time. Papa Bear’s “boys” got a scare a more than a couple times.

Honestly though, I couldn’t have been happier and more proud. I know this sounds corny, but I have been looking forward to this day since I found out my wife was pregnant (not the part about getting baseballs thrown at my balls, but rather the having a “real” catch with my kids).

I can remember when we went for the ultrasound to find out what sex the kids were going to be.
The ultrasound woman said, “Twin A is a boy.”

And as she went searching for Twin B (that what the doctors refer to twins as before birth - Twin A and Twin B) I immediately had the following conversation with myself.

“Yes! Awesome, someone I can have a catch with… Now, if the other is a boy that will be great. I can have double the catches. I can teach them how to throw, catch, hit… No, wait. If the other one is a boy, they won’t need me. They will be able to have a catch with each other and I won’t be needed. (Panic sets in) I will be a father with two boys and no one to have a catch with. That is so depressing. I need to be able to have a catch with someone. I hope Twin B is a girl. Please be a girl, please be a girl, please be a girl…”

And like the ultrasound woman knew what I was thinking she said on cue, “Twin B is a girl.”

“Yes!” I shouted. “I will have someone to have a catch with!”

After the confused look from Mama Bear’s face settled, something dawned upon me, it was only one word but it quickly had me wishing I didn’t have someone to have a catch with -- WEDDING. I was going to have to pay for a wedding!

So you can imagine my reaction two years later when we were in the same room finding out the sex of our third child and the woman said, “You’re having a girl.”

Papa Bear: (sigh)

Mama Bear: “What now?”

Papa Bear: “Awesome. Not only are we going to have to pay for three kids in college at once, now we get a pair of weddings.”

Anyway, getting back on point, I’m glad the kids are looking forward to t-ball, and I hope that I don’t turn into that crazy parent I fear.

Although after reading this over, I think I already am a “crazy parent.”

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