Earlier this week was Aaron's first baseball practice. I picked up Jada and Aaron early from school, toting his baseball bag that had his mitt, my mitt, and all our dinners. We hoofed it to the nearest subway stop, rode that to Old City, transferred onto the 57 bus, and popped off a few blocks from the ball field, arriving at practice right on time.
Aaron's coach was there, as were most of his new teammates. It was a motley crew of fives and sixes, with about half like Aaron in having never touched a baseball in their lives. For safety's sake, the practice was conducted with tennis balls and Wiffle balls. It was a series of drills - throwing, running, and fielding grounders - followed by batting practice, and many of us parents got involved as needed.
Aaron's first time hitting off a tee was actually pretty smooth - a clean liner to first base, unfortunately blocked by the two kids milling around first, who carried the ball together to first base to record the first and possibly last out in team's history. When Aaron got onto the field, a few balls went through his legs, but he compensated by absolutely decking a kid as the kid tried to beat out a grounder.
Needless to say, there's work to be done. As a lifelong baseball fan, I forget easily that the game is not at all intuitive; there are a lot of rules, and the actions that make up playing a game are not as easy to pick up without significant instruction and repetition. But Aaron seemed really excited to soak it all in. I think the happiness came not from anything related to baseball itself, but rather having a special activity that was just his, meeting new boys, and doing something with me.
As for the routine itself, getting to and from via public was a little painful but not too bad. Jada got to get some playground time in, as well as finish her homework and read through a whole chapter book. And, as usual, getting to ride public and walk through new neighborhoods was stimulating for the both of them. So we have nine more weeks of practices, as well as games on weekends. Let's hope Aaron improves in his skills, and most of all that he gains an appreciation for the game itself.