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Talk trumps t-ball in the heat

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It’s hot, hot, hot, 100 degrees at t-ball time. And still a couple dozen children and their remarkable parents and grandparents and families show up to play!

We set up a makeshift diamond in the shade in the far corner of the smaller diamond’s left field. We run out to one of the light poles in our new center field to do our pre-game exercises. But it is so hot, it is like a sauna. So I have us all just plop down on our bums in the grass.

“Put the bottom of your feet together,” I say, thinking we’ll do the “see if you can touch your nose to your toes” stretching thing, but then Lucas Price, 5, announces, “I got a bug bite.” The whole gang of us, me and about 10 kids, turn to Lucas when his little brother Owen, 3, chimes in: “I have bug bites all over me,” he says. I am worried, but David Reed, 4.75 years old, says, “I have a bug bite.” I start to commiserate, but Roy Gano, 4, tells us, “I have a mosquito bite,” he says. Then Kian Barker, 5, ups the ante: “I have a lot of mosquito bites,” he says and almost immediately his little brother Neirin, 2, mimics him: “I have a lot of mosquito bites.” And says this as if he is the first human being to have spoken. Two-year-olds can be like that. It is our natural narcissism at its finest.

Then it’s Mina Brown, 4.5, that Marvelous Miracle, whose mom, the logical, sensible Martha Brown, suggested we might want to move into the shade — Mina chimes in now:

“I have mosquito bites all over,” she says.

“I have bites all over,” the stunningly beautiful Gini Meekin, 5, says.

“I don’t have any bug bites,” Tommy Moore, 4, says.

“I don’t have any bug bites either,” Jia Sundell-Turner, 4.95, says.

I am a grown up. I am concerned about all these bites, but looking around at these lovely darlings, each child a nearly perfect example of the species homo sapiens, I see not a jit or a jot, not a scratch or a welt. Then Dorothy Paddison, at 6 the grand dame of our little jam fest, says she was stung by a bee.

“I stepped on it in our backyard pool,” she says, acting it out, becoming a girl stepping into and out of one of those plastic blow-up backyard pools. “I freaked out,” she says. “I screamed.” She is as cool as a cucumber telling us this tale of woe. Matter of fact.

“My dad came out,” she says. “He took care of it.”

Elijah Yelton, 4, arrives as Dorothy tells her tale I explain what we’re talking about. He nods and says, “We just got back from Florida.” An hour earlier, his mom, Emy, tells me later on. Just got home at 5. Had to come to t-ball. Thank you, Elijah!

Avril Newsome, 2, is sitting next me, then crawls, bless her, into my lap. You know how sweet that is? She says she can’t find any bug bites on her. She is one of my favorite darlings this summer. She is so lovely. (A dearth of beauty in your life? Then come on out to t-ball where you can swim in it, beautiful children everywhere.) She is so sweet, taking my hand, accompanying me as I put out the bases, taking my index finger into her fist, walking with me as I put out the bag with the bats and balls in it, chatting away the whole time, her tiny artist’s heart brimming with love.

We don’t do any exercises. We just chat about bug bites. You do remember how hot it was, yes?

Back on the diamond, Sierra Sundell-Turner, 22-months-old, catches balls and then takes each one of them to someone off the diamond along the third baseline. I am guessing it is her dad, TJ.

Cheyenne, 7, her exquisitely beautiful older sister, shepherds her back to second base after she’s taken the ball to Whomever Over There. Back to second base, where her mom Nancy is stationed. Her big brother Jia comes to the plate wearing his white toddler’s Perry League cap. It looks really good. In previous years the little itty bitty kids’ caps looked stiff, uncomfortable, but this summer’s white toddler caps are soft and look good on the kids. They make the kids look cool. And I like that. Tommy looking cool. Jia looking cool. I like that a lot.

Brady Clark, 5, was back with his little sister Kaylee who is only 1. Brady tries to help her hit the ball when she comes to the plate, but she is a model of human dignity and independence — and at 1! She does not want his help. She does not want any help. She wants to do it herself. And she does, hitting the ball nicely, softly, a little dribble off the T.

“Wanna run to first?” I say. “No,” she says. “Okay,” I say.

And that’s our Perry League, Yellow Springs’ t-ball program, our beginners baseball program for girls and boys aged 2–9. We welcome all our community’s children regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, sexual preference, ability or disability. You can begin play at any time and there is no requirement to come every week. We’ll be out there, at Gaunt Park, for the next four Friday nights from 6:30–8 p.m. — we only cancel if there’s lightning, or if it’s pouring down rain, right at 6:30 p.m. So if you have a kid who wants to have some fun hitting a baseball, running the bases, doing some fielding, or just hanging out with a bunch of other kids, then come on out. We’d love to have you, we really and truly would.



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