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The marvels and wonders of t-ball

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Myles Stemmer, 8, is a young Adonis who is strong, fast, and agile with a personality as bright a sunrise over the Rockies. When he swings the bat with such assurance and power, it is like you’re watching a young A-Rod.

His sister, Zoe, 7, too, is a priceless creature. “What’s your name?” I ask as she stands at the T ready to hit. “You know my name!” she exclaims. “No, I don’t,” I say, “Sorry.” My ignorance astounds her. She throws her head back and quite beautifully and quite dramatically wonders aloud, “Why doesn’t anyone know my name!”

Why oh why? I don’t know, I say, but I promise you, I won’t forget it now!

Owen Campbell, 3, his forearms covered with tattoos (the wash-on, wash-off kind), he takes this t-ball business quite seriously. He chases after every single ball in sight, running hither and thither, bringing every ball back to Scott Fleming, one of our dads who is throwing out balls along with another dad, Jon Wheeler.

Scott’s boy, Bryce, 5, is a perfect t-ball champion. A redhead, I thought, till he took off his cap and I saw his hair was a dark auburn, or a dark plum, or a dark cherry brown. (Corbin Hyatt, 2-and-a-half, who I said last week was a freckle-faced strawberry-blonde redhead does not, it turns out, have a single freckle on his pure creamy-complexioned face.) Bryce Fleming with his dark auburn-colored hair is a very fine hitter, a swift and certain base runner, and a lively loving smiling friendly fellow to boot.

And then there is the wondrous Faye Wheeler, 2, who surprised and delighted me with her vivacity and perspicacity. What? I mean, she, at 2, figured out one of my little t-ball jokes: we ask the children to “gimme five!” after they come running home — that is I and our long-time, most phenomenal get-their-names-and give-them-to me, on-deck coach Amy Boblitt. When they cross the plate I have the kids slap me on my upturned, open hand, held down low for their easy reach. And then about 30 minutes into our 90-minute evening of play, when the kid hits my hand I jump as if the kid’s slap has just set off a bomb that launches me an inch or two off the ground. I am trying to be funny and entertaining, but have never been sure anyone had noticed or if they did, any idea what I was doing. That is until the wee tot darling cherub Faye Wheeler marched out to the tee to “gimme five” without having hit the ball or run the bases. She just wanted to gimme five — which she did over and over and over again, laughing, delighted, knowing her slap on my hand was launching me, knowing and thoroughly enjoying that it was her slap that was lifting me off the pad. I was and am quite impressed: this two-year-old munchkin, this lovely endearing sprite, understood and appreciated my silly little joke. Thank you, Faye.

Meanwhile David Torres, 5, another sensational hitter and a Road-Runner-quick speedster, is also an interestingly thoughtful fellow — each time he came to the plate he looked up at me with such a penetrating gaze, his eyes and face asking a dozen questions. What? What? What? I asked. But he never divulged what marvelous thing or things he was wondering about. He just gave me one of his thoroughly disarming smiles and then turned to swat that ball out of the park (the boy hit five home runs). Louise Camard, 3, a ravishing, ebony-haired, bright-eyed stunner, on her first night with us, roared around the diamond with such energy and pizazz, scooping up at least 100 ground balls, that I could only marvel. And marvel I did.

And Pierce Anderson, 4, is a wonderful boy after my heart. After chasing and catching balls in the infield and getting himself several base hits, he got down to the real work of the Perry League. He got down on all fours and played in the dirt along the first baseline, and did it with such fervor and single-mindedness, reminding me of one of my favorite things about this t-ball, this being able to just sit and play in the dirt. And he was having a wonderful time, scooping the dirt, pulling it in toward his knees; shoving it back, up and away; dragging it left and right, arranging it, it appeared, in rows. Pierce finally ended up lying down, belly first, in it, his arms extended — a beautiful boy swimming in the magnificent dust and dirt of one of our Yellow Springs t-ball diamonds. Yes, Pierce, yes!

And that’s our Perry League, Yellow Springs’s T-ball program for all the community’s children ages 2–9, regardless of race, color, or creed, sexual orientation, ethnicity, spiritual inclination, ability or disability. We’re at Gaunt Park every Friday night from 6:30–8 p.m. Children can begin to play at any time and there’s no requirement to play every week. Come when you like, come when you can. We’ll be out there for the next five Friday nights, till our final potluck, trophy-to-every-kid-who-shows-up night, Aug. 7. So, why don’t you come on out, sit in the dust with us? We’d love to have you.


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