I remember when my brothers played in Little League. I remember playing softball growing up from the time I was around 8. They are good memories for the most part. I do remember needing sweatshirts and blankets from time to time but I don't remember a 31 degree opener - after the first one being snowed out. I don't remember practice being canceled due to snow or the need to keep my winter coat in the car in May!
Little League in Minnesota is a whole different game we open the season with freezing temperatures and often intense windy days and we end the season with mosquitoes and a heat wave that makes you all want to fight over the very small square of shade near the field. Ciaran is still at the age where we attend everything including practices and we make our girls come with us.
Last night we decided to have a picnic dinner because the timing of baseball games makes it difficult to get Serona home, everyone fed and to the field on time in our one car family lifestyle. The picnic fare was good and there were no bugs which is a wonderful upside to a picnic. We only felt a few occasional raindrops and the girls ate their meal huddled underneath fleece blankets in their jackets. Something makes that an odd picnic I think.
Still we are enjoying watching Ciaran learn to play baseball. He spent one season in t-ball and is now playing in a machine pitch league. He is one of the youngest on his team if not the youngest as his birthday was the week before the cutoff that put him in the 7-8 year old league. We realized this league runs from first grade to third grade when one of the boys got up to bat and Serona was like "how old is he?" I pointed to our very tall Rhiannon, who is eight and said that is what people would say about her, a third grade tall eight year old.
The abilities in this league vary considerably from the brand new ball player, to the inexperienced to the ones who understand both what a double play is and how to make one. We have hitters who make it just past home plate and hitters who make it over the outfielders head. It is very interesting to watch but so far the kids are all good sports about it, encouraging one another and understanding each others different abilities. The league does have an x amount of runs per inning rule which helps when we face some of these challenges and they typically only play 4 or 5 innings to a game.
I really like community ball and am thankful for it. At opening day we saw so many families from the community. Some we knew from homeschool, some from our neighborhood, or other sporting events and many we have never met before. Little League provides a great service to our kids and I am thankful for it. I am also very thankful for the volunteers who make it possible. We do not volunteer for Little League with Serona's travel schedule and other little ones not involved it is difficult to follow through on a big commitment like that which does not offer much flexibility. So we are so thankful for the fathers and mothers who give of their time and abilities to provide these opportunities for our kids.
If you are a volunteer in Little League or any other sport in your area I want to say thank you! Thanks for giving of your time and providing opportunities for so many kids to enjoy sports and grow and learn team skills. If you volunteer in Minnesota or any other crazy weather state and experience the wide temperature ranges of 30-95 in your baseball season I give you a standing ovation!!!