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Down and dirty on the Perry League diamonds

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The second week of June marked the start of the typically increasing temperatures of late spring, with the National Weather Service declaring air quality alerts. The combination of very dry ball field conditions plus line chalk plus T-ball kids a-throwing, made for a probable further decrease in air quality at Gaunt Park this past Friday evening, June 14.  But what fun to play with field dust, dirt and line chalk! 

This past Friday evening we noticed many T-ball dirt mustaches and goatees. Whether as a result of halftime popsicles or tongues protruding for improved at-bat concentration, many kiddos inevitably had patches of brown dirt stuck to their upper and lower lips. What a look!

Beckett, 4, is visiting his grandparents, Beth and Andy, from Colorado. By the end of the evening, Beckett was sporting a Charlie Chaplin style dirt mustache below his serious but beautiful blue eyes.

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In addition to their dirt mustaches and beards, Ronan and rookie Jacob, both 5, enjoyed filling their T-ball caps full of field dirt and dust and then dumping it on their heads. We got a kick out of this activity, too. 

By halftime the chalk lines were mostly obliterated by fielders committed to their disappearance. Undoubtedly the Yellow Springs water tower took a dip in water level considering all the very necessary post T-ball baths and showers for dusty, dirty, popsicle-sticky players.

Speaking of ball caps, Greta was terribly pleased that our T-ball hats include the back of the cap Velcro feature so her “hat grows” with her. Despite her Perry League hat approval, Greta chose to wear a clip-on sequined mini-hat, leopard print shorts and heart sunglasses for most of the evening.

Chloe was the first one to arrive. She brought her cousin visiting from Fairhope, Alabama, and showed her around the field explaining to her how Perry League is done. Chloe is a serious T-baller, bringing her own batting helmet, bat and ball; and requested that Coach Yunus time her while running the bases. She was at home plate in 15 seconds, but noted, “I could run it faster, but I don’t want to use all my energy.”

Teddy, 6, would like us to know that, technically, he was there first as he had been at the pool that afternoon with mom, Desirae, and little brother, Jory. Before the start of T-ball, in the parking lot wearing his swim trunks and goggles, barefoot and sporting a bruise from a bite from his teething brother, Teddy let us know he had to go home but would be back! He returned, as promised and had a couple of great hits and runs into home still barefooted. As the Moore family was leaving, Teddy reminded Coach Margi that she is Ben’s mom and Quinn’s grandma. Thank you, Teddy.

Miles was the first up to bat, and he excitedly informed us that “it is my second day of it!” and he let us know his favorite part of T-ball is fielding and the popsicles.

Ella, a former Perry Leaguer, wanted to help the coaches, so she was assigned to the very important position of Ball Returner so that Coach Yunus, manning the Tee, always had a ball available for the next hitter.  Ronan pitched in to help too. Another very important volunteer role is the First Base Line Ball Thrower-Inner. This position ensures plenty of balls are provided for fielders to fetch, rather than only the one hit by the batter. Friday night the First Base Line Thrower-Inner was a popular position. At one point we had around eight kids throwing balls into the field for the fielders. By the end of the evening, Colten, 5, observed there was only one left throwing balls out and giving them to Coach Yunus — it was him! Thanks for your help, Colten.

Elliott, 5, second to bat, let us know that no practice swings were necessary and proved this to be true with a very nice hit using a wood chopper style swing.

We welcomed rookie Audriana, aka Awna, 7, whose favorite color is pink. We looked for a pink bat but found none was available, so Awna settled for the purple bat instead. It was very effective in her batting efforts.

Back for his second week, Rowan, 9, patiently waited to bat wearing Kirby socks, a character from a game.

When up to bat, Henry, 7, chose a Worth brand bat and told Coach Yunus it was worth one million dollars.

Alan, 4, had a great hit — so great he exuberantly fist-pumped and gave us a huge smile before starting his run to first base.

Aria, 9, is in her third year of Perry League, she reminded us, and wore pink glittery shoes for her at-bat.

Sweet Nio, 6, took some time selecting just the right bat, and it paid off with a very nice hit. We were rewarded with a happy faced Nio when he ran into home plate.

Top-of-the-head ponytailed sisters Isabel, 4, and Sophie, 2, each handled their at bats very well. Her light-up shoes undoubtedly improved Isabel’s performance, and Sophie’s focus was so intense her tongue was out and working. Coach Rob has also been noticed displaying his tongue when doing something requiring great concentration — it’s a thing.

We were happy to see Pippin, 3, return to T-ball this week, accompanied by her 10-month-old brother, Varian, already joining Perry League fun crawling in the T-ball dirt.

Toward the end of play, David, 9, now a Minor League Reds player, joined us for a couple of nice at-bats. We’re happy he did.

We really enjoy the mini-conversations and sweet moments with these kids. This week, as we were packing up, Ember, 5, expressed her love of T-ball with our scribe, Beth. And of course, she will be back next week. Ember went on to share details about last summer’s vacation, a gifted snow globe and hippo stuffie, and how she helps set the table at home.

Finally, we must thank our many helpers: Molly, helping at the bench; Jaxon and Indie’s dad, Logan, assuming the role of First Base Encourager; Eliza’s mom, Kristen, and David and Allie Boyer, helpers at-large; and everyone else who helped — it is much appreciated. 

And Sarah Amend was the bomb, rolling up in her golf cart just in time with a cooler full of bomb pops — thanks.

Week two of Perry League is in the books. Our all-volunteer program is noncompetitive, free, and open to children aged 2-9, regardless of their race, color, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, spiritual inclination or practice, ability or disability. We meet every Friday through July, 6–7:30 p.m., at Gaunt Park. Please join us.

—Coaches Yunus Brevik and Margi and Rob Gay


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