Baseball—An Observation of Opposites

This past Saturday we could be found where we spend every Saturday from April to June — Prairie Ridge Sports Complex. Home of 15 baseball fields and (I’m certain) the windiest spot in the Northern Hemisphere.

Fortunately, this weekend was a wee bit more enjoyable than the previous weekend. Not only did I not have to wear a jacket, but I was able to leave home my three layers of sweatshirts, winter coat, stocking cap, and three fleece blankets this time. (Gotta love Iowa!)

It’s so interesting to note the difference between 12-year-old baseball and 8-year-old baseball. With 12-year-olds, it’s all business. In fact, to them it’s often THE single-most important thing in the world. Hence the tears of frustration when they strike out or the ear-to-ear grins when someone on their team hits in two runners. Their emotions are so pure at this age.

With 8-year-olds, it’s a little different. Sure, there are smiles when they get on base or tag a runner out, but the biggest smiles are reserved for the end of the game when the juice boxes and packages of Oreos are handed out. Our entertainment the other night was watching a boy in the outfield who decided to not only sit down but stretch out and lay down in the grass. Boy #2 is also fun to watch as he usually is playing his own imaginary game, whether he’s in the infield or outfield, which includes him batting, fielding, and throwing — and usually also involves continual twirling at some point.

Some of the photos I took on Saturday (yes, the first time I actually remembered my camera like the other “good moms”) illustrate the difference between 12-year-old and 8-year-old Little League. Let’s take a gander, shall we?

Both of my boys started out their games as catcher. Here are two action shots I got of Boy #1 behind the plate:

Now here are two action shots I got of Boy #2 behind the plate:

No, those aren’t the same photo. If you look really closely, his glove his actually moved down a millimeter in the second photo. And he kept this pose no matter where the ball went, not bothering to move his glove or anything. It’s all about the pose, baby. Here’s a shot where I actually got him to turn his head and look at me so I could get a picture. You can tell how thrilled he was.

I probably messed up his concentration or something. You can tell how serious I am about 8-year-old Little League. Husband and I sit and quietly make fun of the parents who are yelling, “C’mon! We NEED this hit!” Seriously? They don’t even keep score. The coaches pitch. For Husband and I, it’s all about the entertainment, and between the players and some of the out-of-control parents, we can usually find plenty.

Speaking of entertainment, let’s take a look at batting. Oh. My. First off, here’s Boy #1 seconds before he ripped it into deep left field for a double and an RBI. Note the stance, the position of the hands…

And then . . . there’s Boy #2.

Note his form — uh, yeah. Seriously, he looks like he’s seriously injuring himself. Check out that right foot. How is that even possible? And apparently his hips refuse to move with his arms? The funny thing is, he really is pretty coordinated naturally, although his batting this weekend was definitely not representative of that. Probably because Husband hasn’t had him out at the batting cages every morning at 5 a.m., or maybe because he doesn’t own the $80 bat, his own fancy batting helmet, or that titanium necklace that calms his nerves like some other kids on his team. What kind of Little League parents are we?!

But, at the end of the day both boys couldn’t have been happier.

Boy #1 got the MVP pin for the game — and Boy #2 got an ice cream sandwich from the concession stand.

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