The Natural

“Living vicariously through your child” or enjoying experiences through your child, or watching your child do everything you miss doing or never had the opportunity to do. All of these things are what I experience three times a week with peewee baseball at Red Berry’s Baseball World. The mere fact that I’m willing to spend almost 5 hours a week in the CAR driving to and from games and practice shows my dedication to my 4-year old’s passion for the greatest game on earth. What he doesn’t know is how much I wish I was that little boy tapping home plate with the bat, diving for ground balls, sliding into home.

He doesn’t realize how emotional I get when I see him round the bases, laugh with his teammates on the dugout bench, pull his pant legs up to his knees like true baseball knickers, and wave his rally cap. I’m a girl. I never got to play little league – I played softball….. soooooo not the same. But in my past life…… that is the one before kids….. I worked for 7 years in Major League Baseball, and I got that thrill of being part of a team, I have a World Series Ring. Now it is my son’s turn and it is one of the greatest joys of my life to be there with him. So that is the warm fuzzy part. But really, peewee baseball – that is 4 and 5 year olds, isn’t as artistic as I just made it sound. It is actually more like the bloopers you see on SportsCenter, or even more-so like watching the Major League Mascots try to play a game with a foam bat and beach ball. For starters, about half the kids there actually realize they are there to play baseball. The others kind of mosey along like they have no where to go in a great hurry, and aren’t quite sure whether this is baseball, t-ball or soccer. Watching them play is hilarious, frustrating and heartwarming all in one, and in one game you’ll laugh, cry and a bit of both. Today, I decided that these moments were a little too priceless not to share with my friends, so I actually sat there like a court reporter and created a transcript of some of the things that really and truly happened, and really and truly came out of the coaches mouths. Because at Red Berry’s, which is NOT your local parks & rec league, the coaches are paid professional grown men who are teaching peewees to play baseball – boys who have attention spans as short as my pinky and memories as long as my thumb.

These are a few of my favorite quotes of the day:

  • Quit kicking your glove
  • Stop spinning around in circles – coach – bench him, he’s spun around 3 times now!
  • Don’t kill home plate with the bat
  • Peewee Marlins – we DON’T fight for the ball and we DON’T fall down!
  • Don’t pass the runner in front of you (not as easy as it sounds)
  • Stop spitting water on each other in the dugout
  • Why do you have the bat in your hands?
  • What’s that growing out of your left hand? a glove? use it!
  • Why are you wiping off the pitcher’s mound when you’re supposed to be fielding the ball
  • Why are you kicking dirt around when you’re supposed to be in right field
  • Put your hat on right side up
  • We’re not watching airplanes we’re playing ball!

They sound tough….. but really they are big teddy bears….. with a true love for the game and they share it with their peewees. The coaches have a system and a method that in 13 weeks turns dirt-kicking 4 year olds into ballplayers and the kids love it. They love the camaraderie in the dugout, they love cheering for each other at bat, they love making plays and really love to hit, they love the water cooler, they love getting potato chips at snack break, they love earning a baseball card for sitting nicely, and really love earning a patch for great attitude, and best of all they love baseball. To sum it up…… the play of the day…… the smallest boy on the team today was playing shortstop….. the batter drilled the ball at him – looked like a triple for sure – but the ball bounced off this little boys chest, into his glove and he looked up with a smile that could light up this world – surprised and pleased with himself all at once, and threw the ball home and made the play. And Everybody’s Clapping! Red Berry’s Baseball World is the Premier Youth Baseball Facility in South Florida. “Built on Hits, Runs & Values” Red Berry’s Baseball World is celebrating 36 years of “America’s Happiest Ballplayers.”

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About the Author

Liz Whitby
Liz Capra Whitby is a mother of four children ages 4 and under who blogs via facebook on "Four - 4 and Under My Adventures in Mommyhood." She lives in Coconut Grove, Florida, is a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer, however former careers included 8 years in marketing for the Florida Marlins and Miami Dolphins, as well as a second career as a CAP Advisor (college counseling) at MAST Academy - a Miami-Dade County Public Magnet School. Liz is a full-time mom, part-time writer, decent tennis player, and dabbles here and there as a jack-of-all trades, master of none

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