How To Survive Your Child's First T-Ball Season – Without Losing Your Mind.

First t-ball season has a lot of this: Standing around and yawning.

T-ball has a lot of this: Standing around and yawning.

I had never been more excited to hear the word, “penis” in my life.

It was during the ultrasound of our first child back in October 2003. When the nurse confirmed that my wife and I were having a boy, visions of our little guy playing baseball filled my imagination.

Unfortunately, Before Kids Can Officially Play Baseball, You Must Endure The First Season of T-Ball

If you’re a dad heading into your kid’s first tee ball season, have no fear. I’m here for ya buddy.

Don’t get me wrong. There are tons of amazing, awesome moments that occur during your kid’s first t-ball season. They’re just sandwiched between a ton of extremely boring, frustrating, dusty, hot, sticky and sweaty moments.

When you think about it, t-ball is kinda like parenting. It takes a lot of patience. It can be messy. You have to put up with a ton of frustrating crap. But at the end of every day, those one or two special moments make it all worth while.

I’m not here to help you with the exciting moments. The moments that will make you want to run to the concession stand and buy cherry slushies for everyone.

Instead, I’m here to help you get through the frustrating, boring moments. The moments that will make you want to run to the concession stand and buy a bucket of beers for yourself.

Here are some things you can do to keep your sanity and have some fun during your child’s first t-ball season.

First t-ball season

“I don’t care. I’m throwin’ this f#$kin’ sh#t.”
Photo courtesy of Flickr.com

Find Humor In Everything 

That’s a good rule for life in general, but it’s especially helpful when you’re standing among 4 and 5-year old kids kicking and throwing more dust clouds than baseballs.

Here’s a fun little exercise. Imagine what every kid would be thinking or saying to themselves if they were the 4-year old version of Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci’s character in Casino). Here’s an example of what one mini Santoro might be thinking when his dad or another coach tells him to stop playing in the dirt.

“You gots ta be f#%kin’ kiddin’ me. I gots all this f#%kin’ dirt at my disposal, and you want me ta just stand here and not touch it? For what? Just in case junior over dare actually hits me a f#%kin’ ball every thirteen f#%kin’ swings? F#%k you. Ya f#%kin’ a$$hole.”

Look For These Three Kids

Each of my three boys’ t-ball teams have had these three types of kids. Keep your mind occupied at the first few practices by trying to identify them on your kid’s team:

  • The Natural – this kid seems like he was born with a bat in his hands. At the age of four, he has a picture perfect swing and flawless throwing motion. He has his own batting helmet and matching batting gloves.
  • The Talker – this kid’s #1 priority is to talk to all the other kids the entire game. He doesn’t care if they’re on his team or not. He just wants to talk. In a couple more years, he’ll be the annoying kid shouting, “Hey batter, batter, batter, batter, batter.”
  • The Architect – this kid builds and shapes masterful structures using the infield rocks and dirt. He gets extremely angry if another player steps on his piece of dirt property while going for a ball or running the bases.

Prepare To Help Coach

If you think you’re going to just chill out and relax behind home plate in your lawn chair all season, you’re wrong.

EVERY t-ball parent is an assistant coach at some point during the season. Unless you take joy in watching other parents endure cruel and unusual frustration.

The head coach of a t-ball team needs all the help he can get. Usually, the more parents that can help keep kids on task and occupied at practice, the better. I seriously think that herding cats while blindfolded would be easier.

Just Have Fun And Enjoy It

Hopefully you’ve realized that this post was written in good fun.  The point of t-ball is to introduce kids to the great game of baseball. But until the kids get the fundamentals down, there is a lot of down time. Down time and 4 and 5-year olds aren’t a good combination. The most difficult thing for the kids isn’t hitting, catching and throwing the ball. It’s staying focused. So be patient and have fun with it.

The greatest thing about t-ball is seeing how much the kids progress from the first practice to the last game. It really is remarkable.

If you ever need a reminder to keep everything in perspective. Watch how excited the kids get for the post game snack. Let’s be honest, for most kids, that’s the best part of t-ball.

Do you have any fun tips to share with other dads who are getting ready for their first t-ball season?

If your little guy is having a tough time staying engaged when you play catch together, click here for a simple trick that worked for my son.

Thanks for reading,

-Kevin

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Brad Marmo says:

With t-ball starting this week, this post was something of a homework assignment for me. ;) Great post. Looking forward to being bored in the warm summer heat!

Kevin says:

Glad I could give you a preview of what’s to come, Brad. There’s no better way to be bored though.

Mario Sousa says:

Excellent post Kevin. I love your 3 player types it really made me laugh because it is so true.

Kevin says:

HaHa, they’re on every team. :>)
Thanks Mario!

MinivanFullOKid says:

Even I, she of little baseball experience, have been recruited to field balls and overhand throw to these future Hall-of-Famers. Anyone can smile and encourage a child as they develop their skills.

Also, this: “I seriously think that herding cats while blindfolded would be easier.”

Kevin says:

“Anyone can smile and encourage a child as they develop their skills.” What a great and very true statement! Thanks!

jbledsoejr says:

LMBO great post Kevin!!

Kevin says:

That’s awesome Jackie. Glad I wasn’t the only one who thought it was funny. :>)

As a mom of five, who spends a majority of her life at the baseball fields, I love this. I miss t-ball baseball, when kids are clueless to the game, playing in the clay is more fun than the game and snacks can’t be handed out fast enough.

An excellent, humorous look at baseball was written by William Geist: Little League Confidential. If you haven’t read it, do. My teens love the book as well.

Kevin says:

Awesome, thanks! I’ll check out that book.