I am going to start with my little t-baller and reminisce over his t-ball year. That would be our six year old, Jeremiah. Now, you might be thinking, for crying out loud it's just t-ball. Like it matters! Well, yes and no. Yes, you are right, in the fact that it is just t-ball. And no, you are wrong, because Jeremiah had a set of coaches that determinedly decided to put there all into this t-ball team and make it matter. Jeremiah is our third boy and we have seen a lot of baseball seasons come and go (many of those seasons played in a church league) and we have never been as impressed with a set of t-ball coaches as we were with these guys.
First of all, their organization was impeccable. We usually got two lengthy, detailed emails a week. They sent email reminders about practices and about games, even though we had a game schedule. They sent a follow up email about each game. They were the kings of communication. It was great.
Secondly, our team was the Twins and they had a little cheer we did at the beginning and end of each game and practice: 'Twins! Twins! Twins!' They even ended each email with this chant. I loved it.
Thirdly, these guys grew up playing Lyndon baseball and they wanted each of our little guys on the team to have the same great experience that they had had growing up playing baseball there. So, they put their hearts into it.
Fourth, they had some awesome techniques for getting our kids to run through the bases and actually play the positions they were at. Most of the t-ball teams we played, all the kids would run after the ball when it was hit rather than playing their spot, resulting in mass chaos on the field. Our team didn't do that though; they actually taught them how to play their spot. Incredible.
Fifth, they were so positive and used positive reinforcement with everything. It was great. They also got to know each individual player and really worked with them on their baseball skills.
Sixth, and most importantly, they made it fun. They were a fun group of guys that wanted the season to be the best it could be. At the end of the season they gave each player a baseball signed by all three coaches with the name of the team and the year on it. They said a little bit about each player. These coaches reminded me that every little bit of influence you have counts, even when it is 'just' t-ball (or 'just' preschool, or 'just' _________--you feel in the blank). When you give it your all it makes a difference and you turn something ordinary into something extraordinary.
I got a bit teary-eyed this year at the last game, knowing next year Jeremiah would be moving on to a different team and it would be all up in the air again--what team he will be on, who'll be his coach... We will be facing uncertainty again. But then God reminded me that uncertainty is good. It keeps us relying on Him as we wait to see what He has in store in the next season of life.
One last funny thing about all of this. Jeremiah turned six in June--he could have gone either way in terms of which league to play in. He could have 'played up' in coach pitch or he could have stayed a second year in t-ball. Jeremiah has been playing baseball with his older brothers since he learned how to walk, so as you can imagine, he is a pretty good player. Yes, in all respects he probably should have 'played up'. But we loved his coaches SO MUCH, and we just couldn't part with them, so we decided to play down. Maybe, if he plays professional baseball someday we'll get to tell the story about how he 'played down' in t-ball! Ha! :)