Little League season takes planning, patience and ponchos

It’s not even spring yet, but it’s already time for Little League registration. This year, I’ve decided to be the mom with a plan instead of the girl without a clue.

Last year was my first experience with Little League, and I had a perpetual deer-in-the-headlights look. My own sports background consists of two years picking daisies and doing cartwheels while “playing” soccer. So I had no idea that signing my second-grader up for baseball was like giving him a part-time job.

My son did great, but I was woefully unprepared. I discovered that there was a very small window of time for picking a kid up from school, feeding him dinner and driving to a weeknight baseball game that lasts until 9 p.m.

I’d sit on the wet bleachers, trying to watch the game but also scrambling to keep my 3-year-old happy. My husband would leave a long day of work and come straight to the field without eating supper.

What about homework? That happened early the next morning before school, which leads to an interesting side note. A lot of fuss is made in America about school performance and standardized test scores. I wonder if politicians consider that those examinations are given during baseball season. We’re lucky the Little Leaguers are awake.

Homework angst aside, there are about a thousand reasons why Little League and other organized sports are worthwhile. That’s why this year I’m going to be different. I’ve spent all winter plotting to be better.

I bought a stadium blanket and golf umbrella. I stuffed an old beach bag with princess paraphernalia, coloring books, bubbles, sidewalk chalk and other activities to keep my 4-year-old busy. I’ve gathered rain ponchos in every size.

This year, I’m going to volunteer for a shift at the Snack Shack instead of feel like a guilty slacker. I’m also buying a prepaid card for burgers to help with time-crunched dinners.

Baseball season is going to be so much fun! I’m psyching myself up so I believe that.

But you know what isn’t fun? Humiliating myself at the batting cages. Last Saturday, when my husband was up in the mountains teaching our daughter to ski, I took our son to the Family Fun Center and Bullwinkle’s Restaurant in Edmonds. I shelled out $30 for an hour of swinging practice.

My son did really well. I, on the other hand, hit one out of every 60 pitches. Does that mean I have a batting average of 0.033 or 0.016? Shoot! I have no idea. Add it to the list of things I still need to learn.

When it comes to baseball, I am clearly out of my league. But this is important to my son, so I’m stretching myself out of my comfort zone as far as I can go.

Jennifer Bardsley blogs at teachingmybabytoread.com.

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