Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Overpowered in T-Ball, but No One Minded

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Overpowered in T-Ball, but No One Minded

Article excerpt

"Are the Rockets going to win today?" asks Nicholas, my 5-year- old. On this bright, sunny Saturday, he's asked the question at least 10 times.

He already knows the answer.

"Now, Nicholas," I begin, but before I can finish my speech, he interrupts with an impatient nod.

"I know, I know," he drones in a sing-songy voice. "As long as we all have fun, we all win." Something in his eyes tells me that no matter how sweetly he repeats the mantra, he is far from convinced.

After all, here sits the child who turns everything from eating breakfast to brushing teeth into a competition, who often blinks away angry tears when his younger brother defies the odds and "wins" one of their daily arbitrary contests.

Sometimes I wonder if his competitive nature stems from his desire to please or my attempts to challenge him. When his teacher told me he was one of the first in his class to begin reading, I shamelessly asked about his pint-size competition.

Nicholas begged to be allowed to play T-ball, and my husband and I agreed because we thought it would teach him about teamwork. We hadn't

thought much about the

inning and losing aspect - before this day. Now Nicholas's excitement has rubbed off on all of us.

As we pull up our lawn chairs behind the Rockets' dugout, we get our first look at our opponents, the Tigers. Dressed in crisp blue, they fan out across the field like pros. The Tigers' uniforms include leggings and black Nike cleats; the Rockets' garb pales in comparison. But it's when I see the Tigers first baseman actually catch a ball on the fly that I know we're in trouble.

I'm not the only Rockets parent amazed by the Tigers, who look like AAA material. The mom next to me wonders aloud, "Do you think they could be really small 8-year-olds? Maybe we should check birth certificates."

We bristle with parental pride, but it's still hard not to cringe when the Rockets warm up on the field. Nicholas and his teammates drift in and out of attentiveness. …

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