It's been a long time since I attended a little league game.
I'm pretty sure my complete history of little league-watching ran its course 20-something years ago while escorting Coach Dad and clan to my little brother's weekly games. In my recollection, little league consists of a little bit of baseball, some butterfly-chasing, at least one father per game shouting out instructions from his lawn chair contradictory to the coach's, and a lot of little boys knocking on their cups for show and laughing wildly about it.
Neither my sisters or I ever played the sport on a team, only in pick-up games after dinner in the backyard of our childhood home. I had no clue if girls little league differed any bit from boys, but tonight was my chance to see my super-star niece show me her stuff!
A few observations:
- Now-a-days they don't keep score. Kids are actually playing for fun. No pressure, no screaming dads in the bleachers.
- If a child can't connect with the ball after three pitches, the coach will kindly set up a tee for them. Every kid gets to hear a crack of the bat! (Or at least a tick.)
- On the girls league there's alot of whispering, hand-holding, giggling and bonding socially with your teammates. No cup-knocking at all!
- Outs, schmouts, the inning ends only after every player gets their chance to bat. If you're on base when the inning ends, don't sweat it! They'll wait for every player to finish running the bases to cross home plate and hear the audience cheer their name.
- My niece is the best hitter on the team. Even the coach's daughter wasn't up to snuff. Yeah, she looked the part with her Malibu Barbie tan, stiff and steady posture and her oversized team shirt tied into an 80's knot in the front. But, don't be fooled. That girl needed the tee. My niece used the tee only once. And, that was only because the coach who was pitching's arm got snoozy by the last inning and his idea of pitching became rolling the ball across the plate while the seven-year-old in the oversized catcher's gear went chasing after it like a dog after its own tail. My girl hit 3 out of 4 innings tee-less. And, two of those hits came on the first pitch! The sound of the ball hitting her bat cracking louder than the thunder that was threatening to postpone tonight's game! (No score-keeping in slow-pitch? Um, there's an aunt in the audience.)
So, although, it rained through most of the game and there were many wipe-outs on that kitty litter-substance they call an infield... I am happy to report, there was no crying in slow-pitch baseball. Just a heck of alot of sissy-running.