Monday, March 21, 2011

Team meeting

We had our first team meeting last weekend to kick off the season.  All the parents and players came by our house to meet each other and make all the important decisions.  What color pants are we going to wear?  Who is going to be able to help at practice?  And of course we got to have the religious debate about snacks after the games.  We settled on white, and having snacks after games.

I took the kids out back and we played find your position with little treasure maps that I made.  The kids seemed to really enjoy this and I think they learned something.  I plan to run this drill until everyone can tell the difference between 1st and 3rd.  Based on my initial findings it could be awhile.

While T-ball is really all about fun and safety I do aspire to teach the kids a few basic things this year.  Namely:

  • The names of the defensive positions
  • The basics of the game play (inning, runs, outs)
  • How to field a ball
  • How to hit off the tee

The last two I know we will see a wide variance in abilities and I'm really only aiming for them to have an idea of what to do.  In reality my real challenges are likely to be:

  • What hand to wear the glove on
  • Trying to keep your hat on for the whole game
  • Parents :)

Some observations from the weekend meeting:

T-ball is expensive, especially when you have nothing.  The league gave us some basic, dirty gear.  The only think that's of remote use is the tee and the catchers gear.  With the exception of the balls none of the gear is new or pink as the girls like to point out.  So we had to go buy our own helmet, lots of wiffle balls, gloves (+1 for me since I have never had an adult glove) and bases.

It's important we establish ourselves as in charge with the kids and the parents.  More so with the parents.  So far everyone seems cool but I don't think they really have internalized that I really know nothing about this sport.  But hey, they could have coached if they wanted to so they are stuck with us.  My plan with the more challenging parents is to give them jobs.  I can't deal with complaining.

As I've said before, I really know nothing about baseball.  When I was picking up my gear the coach in front of me was telling me that his kids t-ball coach played college and a little minors blah blah blah.  I know it's just tee ball but it's interesting how caught up in it folks are.

It's going to be a fun season.  Our first practice is Friday.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Coach Thornton

I've had dreams and aspirations to be lots of different things in this life.  I love being a dad.  I've always enjoyed my work.  I love building things and I love adventure.  One thing I honestly never considered adding to my list of accomplishments though is the surname of Coach.

In fact organized sports for me in general haven't been a big part of my adult life.  I don't own any pro or college sports memorabilia beyond a few t-shirts from my college and a Mariners hat I bought when I first moved out to Seattle and wanted to fit it.  Sure, I enjoy going to the occasional game but I can't stand the thought of spending an afternoon watching baseball or football on TV.  I know, I'm strange for a 30 something male.   To be clear I'm not some anti-TV guy, I enjoy TV, just not sports.  To be further clear I'm not anti sport.  I love to play sports and I love to exercise and I fully respect those who love sports.  Personally I just know very little and generally have little interest in the mechanics of the two big American organized sports -  baseball and football.

I'll put it this way.  I haven't watched a Superbowl in 13 years.  I could care less about the ads or the game.  I honestly can't even tell you who played.  This year I went to the gym and swam during the Superbowl because I knew the lanes would not be crowded.  I realize most of my friends would consider this highly lame.

My father was similar. He liked sports but if given the choice between watching a game on TV and hunting some game, the woodland creatures would always win, or loose depending on your perspective.

As a child I recall feeling  left out of the discussion as other kids would talk about what a great season the Buckeyes were having or what should have gone better in the game last week.  Then there were the trading cards that all the other kids in school played with.  I remember buying a few packs with a grade school friend (hi Brandon) just so I could fit in but really all I cared about was the gum.

So fast forward to yesterday when I come home from work and my wife tells me that she has signed the two of us up to coach the girls t-ball team.  Apparently there was no coach and she got strong armed into it.   My first reaction was that there appears to have been a mistake, I have no qualifications to coach anyone's kid.  I don't even know all the basic rules of the game.  I sat with the idea for the evening though and I started come around.    Clearly being a coach will put me outside my comfort zone and it has the potential to be a fun adventure.  So I decided I'm in.  I plan to chronicle the interesting lessons learned here.  Follow along.