Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Put Me In Coach...

Charlie had his last baseball game tonight.  It was an exciting season -- and one in which Charlie, not only improved tremendously, but also found a love for the game.

Charlie played in a league with 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders.  It was coach pitch to the 1st and 2nd graders and the kids pitched to the 3rd graders.  Man -- there is a HUGE difference in the skill level/coordination between 1st and 3rd graders!

At the beginning of the season, we weren't too sure how Charlie was going to do.  He would pick dandelions in the outfield and barely swing the bat.  Which, by the way, is apparently very typical for 1st graders.  But, Charlie just didn't seem to have a lot of interest (he is not a big "sports" kid as it is), and didn't really put a lot of effort into it.  

We would try to get him to practice with us in the backyard, but he never wanted to.  He would rather goof around and make jokes instead of listening to our instruction and trying what we were suggesting.  And this, of course, frustrated us because we were trying to help him, but he didn't seem to care.

But then, something clicked.  I am not sure what it was, but all of the sudden Charlie became a baseball player.  I am not sure if it was the start of the games (let's face -- games are way more fun than practice), or something we or someone else said, or what -- but there was a definite and sudden shift in his attitude toward the game.

Suddenly he wasn't afraid of the ball and actually learned how to catch the ball with his glove.  Suddenly he figured out how to throw the ball straight (not all the time...but when he concentrated on it). And suddenly, he found some aggression with the bat.

We started playing whiffle ball in the backyard to work on his hitting.  Soon he was whacking the ball into the neighbors yard each time, breaking or denting more than one whiffle ball each outing.

He then started to take those whiffle ball skills and apply them to the real game, and he started to get real hits...not just little dribblers in front of home plate. By the end of the season, if he didn't get a hit, it was huge disappointment for him.  He had gone from being a typical 1st grader who always strikes out, or if he gets lucky, dribbles one in front of home, to a being a hitter.

He also started wanting to play catch with us...like, real catch.  I am not talking us softly tossing the ball to him and him kind of sticking his glove out, and then him "throwing" the ball back at us and us having to chase down his erratic throw.  I am talking us throwing the ball to him, him catching it, and then throwing the ball back to us where we can catch it.  It was amazing (and fun!!).

And he started wanting to practice -- even on his own. He got a pitch and catch for Christmas, and it has gotten quite a workout the past couple of weeks!  Here is a quick video I took of Charlie from the upstairs window.  He was out there for a solid 45 minutes playing by himself.

Too say we are proud of him would be an understatement.  We aren't proud because he is doing well, though that is exciting.  But rather, we are proud because he worked hard, and improved so much, and had a great attitude about playing.  He really looked like he was enjoying himself.

But mostly, I think Jonathan and I are most excited because he seemed to have found a love for a game that we love to watch and play so much.

...And we will always have baseball.

1 comment:

  1. That's great that he found something he has a passion for. Ethan will be going to his first baseball camp next week, he loves to watch his older cousin play baseball and going to Braves games with his Daddy.