T-Ball FUNdamentals


T-ball league play is a little different from regular baseball. There is plenty of hitting and running, but this is not necessarily connected to actual game play. Truthfully, it seems several sports and leisure-time activities get incorporated into t-ball all at once. Among them: wrestling, football, dodge ball, gardening, interpretive dance (more commonly known as the Gotta Potty Jig), other theatrical arts and amateur entomology.
I’m no expert, but general observation has led me to develop these tips for aspiring t-ball players.
Hitting the ball
This part is pretty simple: Step up to the tee and give the ball a good whack! Just make sure your endlessly-patient coach has backed out of the way first. Also, before you swing be on the lookout for confused teammates who may be wandering around home plate for no particular reason.
Base Running
After your mighty swing, the ball usually dribbles out onto the grass about six inches from the tee. This is considered a t-ball home run. As all the players (possibly including even some of your teammates) converge on the ball, resist the urge to jump on the ball yourself. Instead you should head to first base. In doing so, if you notice your coach and everyone else yelling, “No, no! The other way!” Stop a moment to consider their advice, then turn around and calmly walk to first base. Admire the sky, wave to your parents in the stands and inspect bugs in the grass as you go.
Meander around the infield and outfield for a while, then take a running leap and stomp onto first base with both feet.
If you happen to notice your coach is red-faced and yelling, “Go, go, go!” then you can go ahead and stroll in the general direction of second base.
Pause for a few moments to chat with another player about your newest video game. If your coach is still yelling, “Go!” you should proceed, via the concession stand, to third base.
If the mood strikes you and you don’t find anything or anyone particularly interesting at third base and your coach appears to be having a coronary, but is still gasping, “Go, go…” it would probably be a good idea to mosey on down to home plate. Be sure to be on the lookout for any miffed infielders who may be rolling on the ground throwing a tantrum. Avoid tripping over them if you can.
Once you cross home plate, it is time to return to the dugout to finish that game of tag so rudely interrupted by the batting rotation.

Fielding
Once the ten-bazzillion-run-rule is invoked, it will be your team’s turn to play defense. Fielding usually means you spend a lot time standing around. During these excruciatingly boring minutes, here are just a few ways to amuse yourself:
1. Tilt your head back and place your glove over your face like a mask. Hold your arms out to the side. See how long you can walk around like this without falling down.
2. Continue the game of tag started in the dugout.
3. Pull your shirt up over your head and pretend to be a monster. Menace the other players.
4. Stray deep into left field in order to gather a lovely wildflower bouquet.
5. Watch placidly as the ball rolls by. However, if you notice a teammate going after it, this is a call to action. You should immediately push that kid down and get the ball yourself. Expect to be tackled by the rest of your teammates and have the ball wrestled away.
6. Throw a tantrum in the infield. Be sure to grind as much dirt and grass stains into your uniform as possible.
Good Sportsmanship
Contrary to Tom Hanks’s character’s admonition in A League of Their Own, there is crying in baseball–in t-ball anyway. Tears are perfectly acceptable when you trip over your own feet and swallow a mouthful of infield. It is also okay to cry after an opposing player or even a teammate calls you a “Dookie-head.”
After the game, all players take to the field to shake hands. At this time you should avoid flailing your arms about wildly. Delivering a post-game slap in the face to an opposing team member, teammate or even yourself is generally frowned upon.
Once the congratulations are bestowed all around, you should walk up to your coach, grin adorably and ask, “Did I do good? Did we win?” The answer should always be an unequivocal, “Yes.”

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: T-Ball FUNdamentals « Claiming Creativity

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