T Wraps Up His First Official T-Ball Season!

T’s first official season of T-ball closed a couple of weekends ago. While we have no clue who won or lost the six games played as no one kept score (and if you saw even just five minutes of one game you’d understand why we didn’t), we still had a winning first season.

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The Wardlow Sluggers!

The Wardlow Sluggers!

T and his teammates learning how to catch during the first practice.

T and his teammates learning how to catch during the first practice.

Coach Chris showed the kids how to field during their second practice.

Coach Chris showed the kids how to field during their second practice.

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Coach Chris and the entire Wardlow Park and other Long Beach Parks, Recreation, and Marine youth sports staff and volunteer support team did one heckuva job. Week in and week out for almost two months, the Wardlow Sluggers had two coaches, sometimes more, on-field twice-weekly (one practice, one game) and wholeheartedly devoted to teaching a group of about a dozen five- and six-year-olds the basic skills of the game, from batting to base-running, with fun and positive sportsmanship tossed in between as the glue to hold it all together.

The Sluggers warming up before Game 3. They didn't ever catch on to the "everyone throw in the same direction" concept. Maybe next season?

The Sluggers warming up before Game 3. They didn’t ever catch on to the “everyone throw in the same direction” concept. Maybe next season?

This is how the kids were positioned by Coach Chris in a typical game. We played on a "Babe Ruth"-sized field, which meant long base paths and 200+-foot fences, so the kids kept to the infield most of the game.

This is how the kids were positioned by Coach Chris in a typical game. We played on a “Babe Ruth”-sized field, which meant 75-foot long base paths and 200+-foot fences, so the kids scored countless runs and kept to the infield most of the game.

This is how the kids wound up on the field after a few hits... all around that pitcher's mound.

This is how the kids wound up on the field after a few hits… all around that pitcher’s mound.

T looking at us, not the batter. Keep your eye on the ball, T!

T looking at us, not the batter. Keep your eye on the ball, T!

It was after this run to third when T made his first T-ball funny for the season.

It was after this run to third when T made his first T-ball funny for the season.

OK, so perhaps the team wasn’t hitting it out of the park ALL of the time. Of course, no first T-Ball season is complete without its fair share of foul balls, AKA what the kids actually do on-field versus paying attention to the game. There were your usual, run-of-the-mill, kids-sitting-on-the-field-glove-off-picking-grass types, for sure, but T had outdone that and with grand slam flair. Once while on third base, when the ball was hit, he ran directly into the dugout. When we asked later why he did that, his response was, “It’s a lot closer than having to run ALL the way home then back to the bench!” Well, of course it is, T, why did I even ask?!

T examines a ball before his at-bat. This was common, and quite cute.

T examines a ball before his at-bat. This was common, and quite cute.

At practice, the kids were all told that when running to first base they needed to touch the base then get "out of the way" of the play. This was T's way to get out of the way: He hugged a lamp post in foul territory about 20 feet away.

At practice, the kids were all told that when running to first base they needed to touch the base then get “out-of-the-way” of the play. This was T’s way to get out-of-the-way: He hugged a lamp-post in foul territory about 20 feet away.

The second and even funnier foul-tastic T “play of the year” was during his final game. After the ball was hit, third base runner T ran straight for a leaf on the ground in front of the third base dugout. He picked up the leaf, examined it closely, and was promptly tagged out, all despite our cries for him to “Drop the leaf!” and “Run Home, T!” Oh well. There will always be another opportunity to stand on and run from third base, but perhaps there won’t be another opportunity to pick up that leaf.

The kids all started to practice hit-pitch at the second-to-final practice. It actually helps the kids develop better hand-eye coordination off of the tee as well.

The kids all started to practice hit-pitch at the second-to-final practice. It actually helps the kids develop better hand-eye coordination off of the tee as well.

T hits the ball during Game 4. Run, T!

T hits the ball during Game 4. Run, T!

T's second-to-final hit of the T-ball season. I didn't get a pic of the last hit, which was hit-pitch and his best hit of the year!

T’s second-to-final hit of the T-ball season. I didn’t get a pic of the last hit, which was hit-pitch and his best hit of the year!

Aside from those highlights, the rest of the season was even more spectacular. By the final game, most of the kids finally had the understanding that once they hit the ball, they are to run to first base; conversely, if they are in the field, once the ball was hit they were to field it and get it to the first base-person either by throwing it or rolling it. Most remarkable however was that by the last game, everyone was hitting off the pitch rather than the tee, including T! His best hit was his last at-bat for the year, line-driving it over the pitcher’s mound up the middle for an easy base hit. Way to go, T!

T made a gift for Coach Chris.

T made a gift for Coach Chris. He set it up to show him. It was a baseball set-up complete with dugout, bases, and scoreboard, all made from cardboard boxes.

Aw, I think Coach Chris liked the gift!

Aw, I think Coach Chris liked the gift!

T and Coach Chris. We hope to see Coach again during future sports' seasons! I did promise him a BevMo card should we find ourselves on his team(s) again in the future, so we shall see.

T and Coach Chris. We hope to see Coach again during future sports’ seasons! I did promise him a BevMo card should we find ourselves on his team(s) again in the future, so we shall see.

Last team photo of the year. Way to go Wardlow Sluggers!

Last team photo of the year. Way to go Wardlow Sluggers!

T's first trophy!

T’s first trophy!

We wrapped up the T-ball season with a banquet at the rec center where kids got a pizza lunch, team photo, and trophy. Yep, T has his first trophy! T also took the time to make Coach Chris a thank you gift, which was warmly received (thank goodness, because it was rather large and, um, abstract).

The team gathered 'round during the last practice of the season.

The team gathered ’round during the last practice of the season.

Great season, Sluggers!

Great season, Sluggers!

Though the kids slapped their final high-fives of the T-ball season, that doesn’t mean T’s sports career has come to a halt. Up next is… flag football! Yeah, I know, are we crazy?! Well, I guess we shall see what the official review reveals in a few weeks. I figure at the price (i.e., free, as all sports leagues through this program are, aside from nominal trophy, t-shirt, and banquet fees), it’s worth trying all of them at least one time through. We will hear more about football later this month, so stay tuned.

I find it fitting that my post today has to do with one season coming to a close and another starting up. Today just happens to be T’s last day of summer break. While I’d love to be spending it out and about doing something super-duper fun with T before school starts tomorrow, we are staying local all thanks to a leaky oil pan in my car. So the car’s in the shop (boo!) and we’re on foot (and scooter) and the bus later for gymnastics. Pretty bittersweet way to end an otherwise awesome summer… though for as awesome as summer was, I have a feeling we’re in for a pretty spectacular school year ahead, too. Play ball!

With Labor Day now behind us, what are you most looking forward to at the start of this school year and into the fall, RMT’ers?

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One response to “T Wraps Up His First Official T-Ball Season!

  1. Pingback: It’s Football Season, Even for T! | Real Mom Time (RMT)

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