My daughter has played softball for the last two years, and I must say I have more or less enjoyed it. First of all, I have less than zero athletic ability and it thrills me to see that anyone descended from me could be good at anything physical. She totally takes after her dad.
The main pain in the ass is getting her to practices. Since I am on call every third night, and hubby is out of town a whole lot, we juggle how we will get her to practice every night. Sometimes K will drop her off at practice and I will pick her up. Sometimes vice-versa. Sometimes he’s out of town and I MUST take her there. Sometimes I’m stuck at the hospital and he must take her there.
We are very conscientious though, and always try to get her to practice and to the games. She is actually one of the better players and they really need her. Most of the time she plays Pitcher’s Helper (it is coach-pitch softball) and occasionally she plays first base. She is very good at batting, running and catching and throwing, thanks to her father’s near fanatical year-round practicing with her. That certainly doesn’t hurt her natural skills any.
I love to go to the practices and the games. I sit in the bleachers with the other parents and gossip and shout encouraging words and phrases at the kids as they play. We make sure to root for all the kids when they bat or run or catch or throw. I really feel like I’m part of something when I go to those games. Next year I will get one of those t-shirts that say “Bean’s Mom” or somesuch. I really do think A has a lot of natural skills. Her father is one heck of a terrific athlete and I am so glad that she takes after him.
They practice all year round. In the winter when it is cold, they throw and catch in the house. K must have an awful lot of faith in her catching because she is standing right in front of some windows when they throw. I guess the faith is justified because the windows haven’t broken yet.
In the spring and summer and fall, we go out and bat in the driveway. My knee is all bruised up right now because I act as a human backstop to keep the wild pitches from banging into the garage doors. A wears her batting helmet and looks like an adorable little bobblehead with it on. All those little girls look like bobbleheads in their little helmets as they run the bases.
Softball is so incredibly huge in the south for women that there is a gigantic department in the local athletic store devoted to just that; different sizes and weights of balls, bats, gloves, cleats, pants, shorts, jerseys and t-ball setups. We own about fifteen balls (why do we need fifteen balls?). You can get your bobblehead batting helmet airbrushed for a nominal fee at the mall. A picked out a softball with flames coming out of it for her helmet. She is jersey number 14 for her Tuppa’s birthdate and has been number 14 for the last two years. We have two bats, one of which is too small for Amanda, but we bring it with us to practice for the littler girls to use.
The beginning of the softball season is full of pomp and circumstance. There is a massive truck parade on opening day, with demo games. Each team decorates a pickup truck with their team theme (last year A was a Sassy Slugger – retch) with lots of balloons, noisemakers, magnetic softballs and lots of offkey singing. The parade moves slowly from a park up to the softball fields, which are in the middle of nowhere. I am always terrified that A will fall out of the truck on her head, even though they make the kids sit down. You always read about terrible tragedies like that happening and I am a very paranoid parent. The parade is big fun for the kids though.
I hate driving the van over to the fields to meet the parade, because you can never find a damn place to park. Actually, you can never find a place to park. And that for me is a huge deal, because I cannot handle parking the van anyway. It is huge and frightening, and I just know I will back out into someone else’s car or someone else’s kid, even if I do have the fancy backup camera thingie. I am so damn anxious all the time, about driving, and parking, and backing up. Some of it is just my anxiety, and may have nothing at all to do with actual van issues. I just don’t know. All I do know is, when I had my Porsche, I had absolutely no problem parking, backing or driving in tight spaces. I sooo miss that car. But I digress.
The last day of softball is also a huge deal – a gigantic double elimination tournament for four to six teams in each age group. The damn thing takes all day and the kids and the parents get roasted. By the end of the season, it is June and the summer sun is crashing down. My folks had to take A to her season-end tournament because her dad and I were both out of town. They said it was a blessing that A’s team was eliminated by mid-day. They gratefully crawled out of the sun and went out for ice cream.
So A seems to enjoy the softball thing, and so do her parents and her grandparents. My only regret is that is her only extracurricular activity and we haven’t signed her up for anything else. She has indicated an interest in gymnastics a couple of times but I frankly don’t think she has the aptitude for it. We did try gymnastics when she was about three but she was not in the slightest interested, nor did she show any talent. So I guess we’ll stick with softball.
They certainly have enough other activities at A’s school, chess club and math club and Fabulous Fridays and such, so I think softball will just have to be her athletic thing. I think she might even have a shot at college ball one day.