|Most of the team, and we're mostly organized.|
The car is barely at a full stop when I hear the back door open. He grabs his glove, and water bottle and runs across the parking lot towards the play ground.
(I wonder, Did he look for cars before taking off? But it doesn't matter. Even though it's 5:28 PM, and practice is supposed to begin at 5:30, we are only the second family to arrive at the ballfield.)
At the same time, a five-year-old boy looks up from the playground. By the time Sender gets off the parking lot and onto the grass, the other boy is already sprinting towards him. They meet halfway, exchange high-fives, and have already headed back to the playground.
Seeing Sender (age 7) make friends like this is the biggest reason why I'm glad he's played little league baseball (through the Recreation Department in Allendale) for the past three years.
Engaging the Culture Through SportsHere are reasons how Sender has benefited playing this year:
- He builds on relationships he already had (Malachi, Eulyssa, Janelle, etc) and makes new friends (at his first practice: "This is JaQuan. He's my friend.")
- He gets to encourage others, especially when they complain when it's hot. (Disclaimer: The first year he played, he complained 89% of the time during practice and games.)
- He is a physical young man, and his overall behavior and attitudes are better when he gets to use up some of his energy.
- He is probably the best athlete in our family, including yours truly.
And here is why I'm glad I got to be a part:
- I get to help coach. I don't know much about baseball, but for about two weeks, I was the only dad who was coaching.
- I have fun getting to know the other coaches -- the ones on our team, and the ones from the other team (whom I coached with last year).
- It serves as another way for me to connect with families in Allendale.
For someone who played football for 10 seasons, you'd think I'd be more competitive. But my main focus (and that of the other coaches) is just for the kids to have fun and learn how to play a little bit of baseball. It's not about winning.
And I got to see that good sportsmanship in Sender, as I see him cheer and clap for players for his teammates and players from the other team.
And that sportsmanship is reciprocated. One game, Sender got a friend out twice on the same type of hit (hard grounders to first base, where Sender was playing). After the game, they were sitting on the bleachers next to each other, enjoying their post-game snack while talking.
Love these kids!