Tuesday, March 11, 2008

the softballer

About a month ago, as I was looking through the spring edition of the city parks and recreation department's catalog to determine an available gymnastics class for the twins, I asked Erin if there was any sort of activity she would like me to find for her.

"Ah....YEAH....softball," she answered in a tone that suggested that we'd not only had a prior conversation about this topic, but in fact, several, and she was slightly annoyed at having to remind me of her thoughts on the subject yet again. Only we had not had such conversation in the past. Details, I guess.

"Softball? Really? Do you know what softball is?"
"Well....yeah. I do."

Softball wasn't one of the activities offered in the catalog I had with me, but I remembered a sign displayed at Erin's school about open registration in a local girls' softball league, so I found that website and showed Erin some of the photos in their gallery.

"So, Erin, this is softball. See all the girls with their gloves and catching and throwing, and hitting the ball with a bat. Is this what you want to play? Do you want to be on a softball team like this?"
"Yes, softball, that's it. What color will my uniform be?"
Oh, good grief. I really had my doubts about this.

I signed her up in the girls' five and six year-old division and she was assigned to team "Sharks" (gotta love that!), and tonight was her second practice. So far she's having a great time. Before her first practice I asked John to take her out and get her a glove and some softballs and Erin proudly modeled her new equipment back at home.

I thought gloves only came in brown and softballs only in white. Boy, did I have that wrong. I wondered what the reaction would be when Erin showed up to practice with this pink glove. It turns out that she fits right in with all of the other girls and their colorful gloves. Two of the girls have a black & pink glove that features red flashing lights when they catch a ball. I only wish I were making that up.

Erin and almost all of her teammates share meager coordination, athleticism, and attention span, but good enthusiasm. Keeping their eyes on the ball, or even facing the direction of the batter or the person throwing to them are not naturally occurring concepts, and all of the girls have discovered that gloves worn as hats is much more entertaining than gloves worn as...gloves. But the season is young, and so are they.

The exception to all of this is one girl who is about 4 inches taller than all of the others and according to her mother, has never played a sport before. Her mother also says she is 6.5 years old but I think she may actually be a very short teenager. She is the Michael Jordan of the team. She can hit, throw, and catch. Her first time up at bat she whacked the ball over the coach's head. She's a real secret weapon for the team and I only hope she is able to finish the season with us before signing an endorsement deal and turning pro.

Opening day is this saturday. Check local listings for wrap-up highlights.

No comments: