When I signed up my son for tee ball, I had more in mind than him just looking cute in his uniform (which he totally does). I got reminded that this was probably not the start to a great professional career (his first game he told us he would be on TV with all the probable passion of Oprah at his age). I had pointed out that tee ball was for fun and they were learning very basic ball-playing skills (like running to first instead of third first). But I already had bigger plans for my son's involvement in tee ball. I have a sweet kid who can wear his heart on his sleeve and is used to being the center of any gathering. Kindergarten starts next year and tee ball was a chance for him to learn how to be part of a team and do his part. And of course have fun playing baseball. Watching every practice and every game, I have been seeing him learn more than how to hold the bat and to make sure to tag home plate. It's the foundations for life lessons that everyone should learn growing up and, as an adult, I needed a reminder of as I continue on a mad job search. His first game, he spent more time congratulating the kids that made it to third base than watching the ball. And in tee ball here everyone makes it home, even the last kid at bate getting to make that glory lap all around the diamond.
Life Lesson #1 – it's OK to not keep score.
Constantly comparing yourself to others will just bring you down instead of just playing your own game with your own rules and goals.
Life Lesson #2 – Keep your eye on the ball.
Don't lose track of your goals, lest they come rolling past you and someone else gets it because you were too busy putting dirt in your glove for fun. The first game my son's hat was accidentally given to another player and he was so overcome he sat out half an inning. By being so upset, he missed part of his first game and completely embarrassed me- until a couple games later when something similar happened. He was upset he didn't get to play more later and the next time he had a big disappointment he took it better and was complimented and played the entire game.
Life Lesson #3 – There's no crying in baseball.
If you're too busy mourning something, you miss out on life. Well really, there is sometimes crying in tee ball, but not in baseball.
My favorite part of people asking my son about tee ball is when they ask him what position he plays. Which looks like this.
And then they get confused. There's no set positions in tee ball, everyone gets a turn being catcher and third baseman and everything, but everyone is in ‘ready' position no matter what. Even if they're out in left field again, spinning around for an inning while the ball doesn't come anywhere near them.
Life Lesson #4 – Always be ready.
Because that kid could miss that ball and then it's your chance, only you weren't looking. Because that opportunity is for a limited time but you don't have your act together. Always be ready. This also applies to baseball uniforms- never leave for Friday night at 10 p.m. what you could have done the previous Sunday. My son's big chance at the pitcher mound came on a day when a third of the team was gone, and some of his usual cheering section weren't there. And he did amazing. He ran for the ball, and when it went a bit to far for him he turned back and let someone else handle it like he was supposed to.
Life Lesson #5 – Not everyone will see you at your best, but shine anyway.
When the time came to do the job he was great at it, even though he didn't get to show off his skills to everyone. But I saw, and his coaches congratulated him. Writing has been frustrating but I keep reminding myself I need to do great because the right person may see it.