Baseball season in Maine has finally begun. For all you warm weather folks who are used to spring coming much earlier, that must be hard to believe, eh? Jack had been waiting (im)patiently for this day to arrive, and it has been fun seeing him experience the rituals associated with becoming a Little League Baseball player. Practicing in the gym during the cold(er) winter months, experimenting with the many legit (and some not so legit) ways to soften up his glove, scouring the stores for the right bat and batting gloves, and then waiting to hear which team he was on… just some of the things that led to a heightened level of anticipation for this past weekend’s big day.
Don’t let that sunshine fool you… though the 30 degree temperatures and biting wind chill did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the local Little Leaguers and coaches as the opening day parade made its way from Fairmount Park to Mansfield Stadium. As Jack and his friends excitedly skipped, bounced, and hopped their way along the parade route, it was pretty obvious that he was in his element, and any doubts we had about signing him up for baseball were immediately forgotten.
He played his first game later that afternoon, and despite the lack of experience on the field, it actually looked like a real game of baseball. Coaches pitching kept the game moving along at a good pace, and most importantly, a welcoming, safe, and fun atmosphere was created for all of the kids. Third strikes were called as foul tips, always giving the batter another chance; while all 8 year olds are competitive, the importance of the score was minimized; and both teams definitely had a blast as they played and learned at the same time. We are lucky to have such caring people volunteering their time to coach, and both Lori and I feel very good about the quality of the experience Jack is going to have.
Back to the game… Jack looked, and played, like a pro. He had a couple of hits, played an awesome first base, and was thrilled to make it around the bases and across the plate to score a run. Like his big brother, he seems to genuinely enjoy baseball, and I have a feeling that we will be spending quite a bit of time at his games in the future… now if only the temperature would warm up!