I’ve never coached anything in my life so it’s been a new experience for me but very rewarding. As the coach, one of my responsibilities during the game is to walk the kids up to the Tee when it’s their turn at bat. I help them with their stance and then yell, “Run!” when they hit the ball. Then I immediately follow that with “No! Other way! Run to first!” as they take off in the entirely wrong direction.
My oldest son plays Tee-ball. Well, he’s four years old, he doesn’t so much play Tee-ball as he does draw in the dirt with six other boys wearing the same color shirt. I decided to help out and coach the team this year considering it’s his first time in organized sports. Although the word “organized” should probably be in quotations and taken very lightly.
It’s the middle of the second inning of our second game. The infield is filled with impatient four-year-olds and the stands are filled with beaming parents and playful siblings. The sounds of bats cracking, parents cheering and coaches yelling carry over from adjacent fields.
I’m standing at home plate motioning for one of our younger players to come bat. It takes a moment but soon he saunters from the dugout, bat in hand. As he walks toward home plate, he carefully scans the stands behind me. Suddenly his eyes grow wide and he sprints the final distance.
“Coach Justin!” He exclaims as he tugs on my shirt, “My Nanna is here! Can I go say hello and give her a hug?” He grins and his focus alternates between me and the stands as he waits on my response.
At that moment I have two choices.
Option 1: I’m the coach and this is a ball game. There are 10 other kids on the field waiting for us to hit so I say, “Why don’t you just wave at her and then after you hit you can see her.” This is the practical choice the responsible adult choice.
Option 2: I’m a dad and this is simply a four-year-old boy who wants to hug his Nanna, so I say, “Of course you can! Run out there!”
Let’s just say Nanna did not have to wait for her hug, instead, two Tee ball teams stopped in the middle of a game to let a little boy hug his grandmother.
Sometimes the world is beautiful, especially through the eyes of a four-year-old.