My boys don't live baseball, but they love it nonetheless. Some kids have been tossing balls since they could walk. Our boys. . . sorta, kinda, once in a while would play catch, usually with Dad. As they get older though they are becoming more and more interested, each spring they are more capable than the last and their interest increases. This is a whole new experience for me since I never played sports as a kid myself, other than gym class, and though I loved phys ed, I just despised baseball out of principle. The fact of the matter is, I really knew Nothing about the game. It was easy to label it stupid though, because my only first hand experience was in public school PE classes, where the teachers assumed everyone knew the "rules", watched the game, and played the game, and then the class--mostly the boys, would spend the next 30-40 minutes arguing about the "rules". To this day, if a dispute breaks out about the "rules", I go to my "happy place" in my mind. Now that my own kids have played for a few years, it amazes me that our teachers back then didn't just lay down the PE version of baseball rules. So far we have been through t-ball rules, farm league rules, minors rules, and we are still learning majors rules, how hard would it have been to lay down the PE rules?
So, tonight when I went out to "play ball" with my boys, I laid down the Mom rule. Rule Number 1 (the only rule): We are playing catch, that's it. I don't pitch, but the boys are both learning, which equals "the boys are both very unforgiving of each other and each other's mistakes despite being imperfect themselves". Therefore, bats and Mom are out of the question. So we headed out to play ball, first Charlie and I, while Joey finished his homework.
As we found our turf, I said to my son, "Charlie you might have to give me pointers, I don't want to throw like a girl."
Charlie replied, "Mom, that's going to be kind of hard since. . ."
Me, "I know I know, I am a girl"
And so we began, the sun just low enough in the trees to not be a nuisance, the sky still blue, the air still relatively warm. Thwap. Thwap. Thwap. Thwap. Charlie is talking away and throwing them in, I had reminded him "no lobs" as we began, and we discussed the wrist snap vs. straight release. Whoa, I realized silently that my feet were firmly planted on the ground, I could snap balls out of the air without moving an inch. By golly this kiddo can really throw this year, no squiggly laps all over the yard for Mom this time.
Soon, out of the house steps Joey, glove on hand and ready. I reminded him of Rule Number 1 and then repeated it again, "We are playing catch, only catch." In the past a game of catch with 2 boys and mom have ended in a grouchy huff for most if not all parties. Joey formed our triangle and we threw the ball. Thwap. Thwap. Thwap. Joey gets a stinker look on his face as he throws me a fast one, he claims is not fast at all. I catch it, smile and remind him "You are pitching to me, we are just playing catch." He smiled back and after a while, we switch up the rotation Charlie to Mom, Mom to Joey, Joey to Charlie, and back around again.
The whole time my ears are filled with advice, "Square up for a grounder Mom", or "catch it in the pocket so it doesn't hurt" or requests, "Throw me a pop fly" Thwap. Thwap. Thwap. After a while, the boys began the usual, try to irritate the other type throws, bullets from Joey to Charlie, sky balls through the tree branches from Charlie to Joey. I instituted, "Throw it back to me" I am determined, I will not let this end on
a sour note. A few throws later, a miriacle happened as we all headed back to the house with smiles and good spirits, fresh air on our shirts and the smell of leather on our hands.