LITTLE LEAGUE BLUESAnne Tergesen
When my oldest son—now in 3rd grade—started kindergarten, I was horrified to discover that he was the only boy in his class who didn’t know how to play an organized sport. Soccer, baseball, hockey, whatever—as working parents of three very young kids, we had blown it all off.
Watching him try to keep up with the other boys during an after-school soccer game, I had one of those pangs of guilt that working moms understand all too well. So, I picked one sport—baseball, the only one I had a clue about—and worked with him until he understood the rules and had a basic level of competence with bat and mitt. It worked – all too well. Three years later, I have a huge case of Little League blues.
My Saturday mornings used to be devoted to sleep—or catching up after a week of deprivation. Now, Saturdays in spring are consumed by one thing: baseball. Batter up! Between practices and games, we’ve got to be on one field or another two, three, even four times a day. Sometimes, we get lucky and our two boys have games scheduled close together and at the same field. More often, one has a game at 8:00 a.m. while the other doesn’t play until afternoon. Instead of catching up on my sleep, I consume huge amounts of caffeine and vow to go to bed early—which of course never happens.
Of course, the games themselves can be exciting to watch and sometimes hilarious, too. It’s also been fascinating for someone as uncoordinated as me to watch my kids develop athletic skills. But tired all spring, I secretly curse baseball. I pray that it will rain on Saturday mornings (and clear up by afternoon). In passive aggressive fashion, I’ve avoided teaching my youngest to play. (He’s more of an artist than an athlete, I rationalize.) Next year, though, he’ll turn five and become eligible for T-ball. Then, we’ll have three games and three practice sessions to contend with and my life truly will consist of three things—work, kids, and baseball.