Learning to fly with T-ball
- Published: July 31, 2014
Darija Lackovich-Van Gorp, 4, is delighted with her brand new Perry League T–shirt. She tells me how wonderful it is as she stands at the tee not swinging her bat.
“New,” she says picking at it with her left hand, pinching the brilliantly multicolored tie-dyed 100 percent cotton T-shirt. She has been flying again and says she will show us how to do it this week — she demonstrated this fantastic skill a couple weeks ago as we did our warm up exercises.
“I fly,” she said then, beaming ecstatically as she lifted her arms above her head. With her elbows fairly straight, she aimed her arms out in front of her and then suddenly, surprisingly, she leapt up and out — immediately falling ker-splat! Straight to the ground. It looked like it must have hurt like crazy — I imagine doing it myself, leaping out, as if off a diving board, only to belly flop into the grass. I shudder imagining the pain when the fearless Darija, laughing happily, leaps unscathed to her feet, and does the same leap-fly-crash thing again. “Flying!”
Her sister Lidija, 7, is a stunning beauty whose magnificent eye-popping attractiveness is enhanced by her incredible joie de vivre. Catching and throwing balls is an extravaganza of delight for her — she laughs heartily catching balls, she laughs heartily throwing balls back, and she laughs heartily when I immediately throw a second ball back to her the minute she throws her first ball to me. She catches, she laughs; she throws, she laughs; she catches again, she laughs again. She has me laughing, too, her blissfulness so interesting, so entertaining, so wonderfully contagious.
Maddy McGuire, 5, another living, breathing lighthouse of ecstasy and joy, sees this catching-throwing-throwing-back, catching-throwing-throwing-back routine between Lidija and me, exclaims excitedly and immediately leaps into the action. Now it is two darling devious beauties catching and throwing with me — Maddy wearing a lovely clover wreath around her head.
“I’m a princess,” she says. Her mom Sommer, who made this wild flower crown, and I agree. “Yes, you are, darling one, yes, you are.”
Erasmus “Razz” Thornton, 5, comes to the plate swinging his bat. He conks himself with that bat on the side of his head. It looks and sounds like a serious blow, but before I can say anything, he announces, “I’m a goat head,” which I come to understand means he has a hard head and it didn’t hurt.
Suzanne Szempruch, a Yellow Springs News staff person and photographer, was on the diamond all night with her camera, kneeling, squatting, standing right in the thick of it, taking in all the action. She knows Razz and laughs when I tell her about his “I’m a goat head,” comment.
Mateen Sajabi, 6, and his little brother Sameer, 4, take their turns at bat and in the field chasing after ground balls. Mateen tells me he will go easy tonight in deference to the little ones on the diamond — a 3-year-old — today-was-her-birthday — Adelia Colon; the effervescent perpetual motion machine Sophia Purdin, 3; Darija Lackovich-Van Gorp, 4; and the lovely and athletic Noelle Fisher, 4, looking marvelous in a pink top, pink shorts, pink socks, and pink tennis shoes; and Lila Crockett, 4, and her miniature and energetic run-run-running toddling teetering little brother Eli, 2.
“I can hit it to the yellow,” Mateen says indicating a yellow pole about 300 feet from where we stand at home plate. And before I can even begin to doubt him, he smacks the ball hard and straight. Suzanne Szempruch has to hop and skip to get out of the way.
Lilly Clair Colon, 5, a good, friendly talker and organizer, hits the ball, and hits the ball, and hits the ball again. Then she races onto the diamond to field 100 ground balls, and then 100 more. She and the perspicacious Elijah Yelton, 6, and the hilarious talkative super T-baller Tommy Moore, 6, and the hardheaded Erasmus “Razz” Thornton, and the skilled, extremely and impressively well-mannered Bryce Fleming, 4, and the dedicated good boy Matthew Drummond, 6, with his beautiful new “T-ball glove” (he shows me where it says that right on the inside of the glove’s thumb), and the serious and talented ballplayer Jamari Scott, 6, all hit home runs, racing around the bases at darn near the speed of light, just burning up that infield with their incredible vivacity and speed.
And that’s our Perry League, Yellow Springs’s T-ball program for girls and boys ages 2–9. We’re open to all our community’s children regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, ability or disability, sexual or spiritual or religious orientation. We’ll be out there at Gaunt Park from 6:30 to 8 p.m. for just two more Friday nights — this Friday, Aug. 1, will be our penultimate night of the season; next Friday, Aug. 8, will be our season finale, our potluck picnic trophy night when we give every child who shows up a glorious Perry League trophy. It is a lot of fun and we hope you can join us. We’d love it if you did.