Play Ball

Summer is close.  School is almost done.  The weather is getting warmer.  It's baseball season.  I really do like baseball.  It doesn't bother me to be busy with baseball.  I'm ok with being a baseball mom...with 5 boys, it's probably a good thing I'm ok with it!  This year five kids are playing on three teams.  Mathilda and Benjamin play on the same t-ball team, Joshua and Jonathan play on the same 10& under team and Jakob and Joshua play on the same 12 and under team.  I'm not sure how it happened, but we don't have a single overlap of schedules of practice or games.  There is baseball seven days a week though.  Tim is coaching, so I'm sure that has helped with some of the scheduling.  He is coaching Joshua and Jonathan's team.  He's been looking forward to this for so long.

We've been so hesitant about coaching before, knowing that when it starts, it likely won't end until the last child is done playing.  How do you even begin to think about managing that along with everything else that is involved with raising a big family?  I remember the first year the boys played in Eagle, Benjamin was one, Mathilda was 2 1/2 and Jon was almost 4.  Jakob and Joshua played.  They could have played on the same team, but we opted to let them each have their own group, so they were in two different age groups.  It's been fun to watch the kids develop friendships with these boys, especially since they don't go to school with them.  It helps us feel a better sense of belonging here in the summertime. 

That first year, and really, even the next one was intimidating and challenging.  How do you sit and watch a baseball game with 4 other kids being ancy and running around.  There is the worry that they'll be distractive, that they'll fall off the bleachers, get hit by a foul ball or worse, a car when they wander away, or that they'll even be hurt somehow when they are not within an arms reach.  I don't feel like I did a lot of spectating of baseball.  Even though I wasn't the one playing, I was exhausted after each game, and sometimes sore from being climbed on.  Those little ones just aren't content to sit and watch a ining, much less a game!  (I've seen some kids who are, so don't think I wasn't discouraged as well!)  It's gotten easier.  Why wouldn't it?  I've got seven kids now instead of five!  That sounds reasonable because the bigger ones are big enough to help.  BUT...they're playing, so in all reality, it isn't THAT different than it was 4 years ago.  Ages:  1, 3, 5, 6.  (and 8 when Jon isn't playing, because he'll usually still hang out with the little ones, but the two bigger ones would much rather play catch, although they are huge helps!)  I think the biggest difference is that now, this is just what we do during the summer.  The kids have grown up with it.  They know the that playing in the dirt pile is acceptable.  That running around is ok as long as we can see them and as long as they are not near cars.  They make friends quickly with siblings of teammates.  Just today they were playing "house" under the bleachers.  The biggest challenge today is preventing empty spit-out sunflower seed shells from making it into Amelia's mouth!

I enjoy watching the kids play...the big boys especially, because I've gotten to see them improve exponentially over the years.  They may or may not be playing at "select ball" levels, but they're pretty good players.  I can relate to sports.  It's a naturally easy thing for me to connect through.  I get so excited to see them pitch and field and bat!  I love seeing them be a part of something, and I love even more this year that they get to play with each other.  It is so gratifying to see them root for and encourage each other.  There is fun in watching the little kids entertain themselves...sometimes it's just too much.  :)

This is the time of "41 ways with peanut butter" and spitting sunflower seeds, and washing sliding pants daily and cheering on the 'Canes and the Pirates and listening to the announcer say, "Now at bat:  Jay-KUUUUUB ANNNN-DREEEEEE-SEN".  Baths every night to wash the chestnut colored sticky dirt from every surface of exposed skin and rally caps!

From the dancing on third base and drawing pictures in the dirt, to turning a double play or throwing a no-hitter, or cracking the bat to produce a grand slam, it's baseball season.  We are a baseball family in the summer time, and I sure hope that won't change anytime soon.