Summertime is baseball season in our house. We are entrenched in our second season of Jr. Giants T-ball action which means a lot of hot, late evenings out on the baseball field. And by entrenched, I mean we're kind of up to our eyeballs. My daughter has games two nights per week and (in a crazy moment of weakness) I volunteered to be the Team Mom.
I can't say that I've ever been a Team Mom before so I don't have much to compare it to, but I think it's safe to say that it's a little extra work. When you play in the Jr. Giants league, there's more than snack sign up and team parties to coordinate. I'm tracking reading, distributing baseball cards, leading mini discussions about the "Word of the Week" and making sure the parents know when and where to bring their kid for the next game.
In a comedic turn of events this week, my Team Mom position suddenly morphed into Assistant Coach when one of our regular coaches left town on a family vacation. Anyone that knows me well (or maybe even a little bit) knows that I'm no baseball athlete. I know there is a bat and a ball and some bases involved. I don't hit very well, I know nothing of baseball strategy, and I can't throw the ball to save my life. And so me helping on the field in ANY capacity at all just seemed a little....well, out of my league. Even for T-Ball.
But when you volunteer for something, I believe you should see that commitment through, even when it includes unexpected curve balls. So I did it. I was in charge of the dugout for one whole 50-minute, 2-inning T-ball game.
The most tricky part of working the dugout was getting the kids out to the warm-up circle thing on the field where they stand and take a few swings before their turn at bat. I have no idea what that little space is called. As I sent the first kid out, I told him, "Go over there and wait your turn to bat."
And then I felt like those instructions weren't really sufficient for my not-yet-pro-league group of 5-7 year olds. So then I tried, "Go warm up in the circle."
Hmmm. That didn't sound right either. Surely that little space has a name? So I asked one of the moms in the crowd, "What do you call that place where they do their practice swings??"
"On Deck" she said.
OK. Got it. So as my next player came up I told her, "OK, you're next! Get on deck."
She looked and me with a puzzled look and said, "You mean go over there to the circle?"
Well yes. That's exactly what I mean.
It turns out you can still be helpful as an Assistant Coach even if you don't really know a lick about baseball. That is the beauty of T-ball. The players actually don't know much about the game either, so you're in good company.
Nonetheless, I will be happy to return to my place on the bench next week where I can do the stuff I actually know how to do....take pictures, cheer on the team and chat with the other moms.