When I signed JD up for T-Ball I was told that his father needed to volunteer. I found this amusing, sad, dated, among other things (stupid).
I boldly announced I was a single mom and that Dad wasn’t involved at all, so the likelihood of him flying in from Indiana for a mere T-Ball regime was slim to none. Then I was told an uncle, grandpa or neighbor could represent my son as a volunteer on the field, in the snack stand or doing field maintenance. Now, as much as I have no desire to rake a dusty field (TRUST ME!), I wasn’t going to let my kid down—or women in general down. Ladies, rake the field! Sell the pretzels! Throw the ball! Show your kids you rule. I love that JD sees me rushing around in the morning getting ready for work and writing out the bills each month. We tote bags of trash to the garbage room together every night. He’s finally old enough to carry light grocery bags in. We do everything! (Well, sometimes I harass people to do handy work that I deem impossible and I’m lucky to have my Dad and brothers when it comes to heavy lifting like the Christmas tree project.)
Regardless of my handy-gal shortcomings, I volunteered for T-Ball: Sassy, cute shoe-wearing, magazine writing Chrissy. Last Saturday, I wore black leggings, a fitted hoody and Converse to the first practice—and lipstick and aviator sunglasses. I looked stylish—I won’t lie. My hair was pulled up in a ballerina bun. I quickly spotted the head coach and introduced myself. I gave him the usual spiel—JD’s dad is not in the picture so don’t bring him up. He lives with me. He has a big, crazy Italian family (that will overwhelm the stands), we’re awesome, yadda yadda. Then I asked what I could do, holding up my Dad’s worn baseball glove. The coach smiled. I’m a spitfire people. He handed me JD’s shirt and hat and told us to warm-up. So, I dressed him up. I was impressed by the neon yellow shirt—it’s 90’s cool and I’m a market editor, what can I say.
Then we did a couple of laps around the field. Families started to show up, but the moms found comfortable seating on the bleachers with steaming cups of coffee and the Dads led their kids onto the field. It was very black and white in that moment. Dads coach. Moms cheer. Now, as a former cheerleader and self-acclaimed girly-girl I wasn’t really surprised, but I was in fact a tad disappointed. Even if I had a husband or boyfriend, or JD’s Dad was in the picture, I can see myself fully participating in T-Ball. I introduced myself to all the Dads as Chrissy. I wondered if anyone thought it was weird I wasn't in the stands, but on the field.
I took a group of 5 kids and practiced grounders. One by one I rolled a baseball to little guys and girls wearing oversized mitts and neon yellow shirts. They missed the balls over and over—their little heads poked through their legs as they watched the ball roll away from them. Crap. I am not a baseball coach, but I needed a way to explain catching grounders. “Kids,” I said. “Does an alligator have a BIG mouth?” Five sets of little curious eyes looked up at me. JD yelled, “Yes!” I opened my arms wide and clapped my hands together. “CHOMP!” I said. The kids giggled and squirmed. “When the ball rolls close to your mitt, use your other hand to gobble it up like an alligator. CHOMP!”
My fab 5 mastered grounders by end of practice. I like to think I coined this alligator move, but my Internet research post-practice tells me otherwise, ah.
Moms, do you participate in team sports? Share! Have a great weekend. Tomorrow we have T-Ball pics at 8 AM (ouch!) and the opening day Little League Parade.
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