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The mysterious ways of T-ball

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Julia Camard, 2, came to the tee and picked up the ball, taking it off the tee, and reached for the one I held in my right hand. “Okay,” I said, and switched balls with her. She put this new ball on the tee, but quickly rejected it as well. She took it off the tee, offered it to me in exchange for the ball I had in my left hand. Her father Christopher came up as she placed her third ball on the tee. This ball was no good either, so this studious and focused two-year-old picked it off and wanted the ball I now had in my right hand. “You wanna hit the ball?” her dad asked. Julia seemed to ignore him completely. She switched this ball out, wanted the other one I now held. Mada, her mom, came up to join us at the tee now. I explained what we’re doing -— “She is trying to find the right ball for the tee,” I said, while her father spoke to her in French. “Hit the ball,” I imagined he was saying. “Hit the ball,” her mother said. “We can wait,” I said, “it’s what we do in T-ball,” when suddenly this delicious toddler picked the ball off the tee and threw it toward first base, taking off right behind it.

Pierce Anderson, 5, (he and Ronan Anderson, 5, are twins) came to the plate with a bat that appeared to be too heavy for him. He lifted it up to his shoulder and he almost tipped over backwards. His sister, Sophia “Hot Dog” Anderson, 8, raced to the plate. She immediately and patiently and effectively helped him hold the bat up and swing it. When he did this, and when he connected quite solidly, he gave a spontaneous, joyous, celebratory hoot! And then sister and brother raced down to Coach Ben Bullock, our t-ball maestro waiting for them at first.

Ever Lyons, 3, came to hit holding her bat upside down. Ashby, 6, her caring and watchful older brother, told her to flip her bat around. I told him no, that’s how she likes to hit -— and she did it again, just like last week, smacking the ball, with that skinny “wrong” end, and doing it quite well, too.

Maggie Bullock, 5, ran 90 miles an hour from second base to third when Ever Lyons hit her ball. Sophie Clouse-Taylor, 11, a kid-coach who has helped us every Friday this season, was there at third. She opened her arms to Maggie and gave her a lovely, full-bodied, pick-me-up-and-walk-away-with-me hug. It was heartwarming to see, a thrill to be a part of such sweetness and light.

Sophia Purdin, 4, came to bat with two bats. She made a circle in the dirt. “What’s that for?” I asked. She leaped into the circle she had just drawn and said, “To get into.” Okay. Okay. She then leaned into the ball sitting atop the tee and fitted her nose under the ball — it was like her nose was a ski lift and the ball was sitting on it, filling it. She lifted her head, rolling the ball forward with her nose, pushing it off the tee. She quickly retrieved it, put it back on the tee where she put her nose under it again and did her push-the-ball-off-the-tee-with-your-nose thing again. The ball dribbled at the foot of the tee as Sophia ran down to first base. Now we know the-Sophia-way-to-hit.

And that’s our Perry League, Yellow Springs’s T-ball program for all our community’s unique and surprising 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 three Friday nights, till our final potluck-picnic, trophy-to-every-kid-who-shows-up night, Aug. 5. So, why don’t you come on out and have some fun with us. We’d love to have you.

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