ANDERSON, Ind. —
The weather had finally warmed up, and it made for a sticky Tuesday. The 6 p.m. sun was drooping in the sky, but it still packed a hot punch -—enough to start the oversized bobbleheads sweating under their brand new un-faded baseball hats.
The first game of the T-ball season was about to commence for the 4- to 6-year-old age group.
It was the blue shirts versus the black shirts, all in sizes small and extra small. I arrived a little late, so the blue shirts were in the outfield. My grandson, Cayden, who just turned 4, was a blue shirt.
My eyes scanned the field through the chain link fence. It was difficult to find him, as all the blue ballcaps were pulled down to the eyebrows and shaded the little elfin faces. I finally picked him out. He was the blue hat with his back to the pitcher’s mound, carrying on an animated discussion with a blond-haired blue shirt wearing a ruffled jean skirt.
“Hi Cayden!” I yelled, waving my hand wildly to show my support. Practically every kid on the field looked at me immediately, as most kids of this particular generation are named Cayden, Jayden, Brayden, Hayden or Ayden.
“Hi mamaw! Come out here and stand with me!” he shouted back in his munchkin voice. “I hot. I don’t want to wear my hat.” He pulled it off, and I could see his dark hair was plastered to his head with sweat. He threw his hat on the ground.
“Pick that up. Bring it over here to me,” I yelled.
My husband, Seth, Cayden’s biological grandfather, complained. “You can’t do that. He’s supposed to stay out there. You’re interrupting the game.”
I argued. “Seth, take a look at the outfield. There is a 5-year-old trying to catch imaginary butterflies with his mitt, and another one wearing his mitt on his head. I think it is OK for Cayden to bring me his hat if he won’t wear it.”
Cayden slid his hat under the fence and moseyed back to his position. In the meantime, a black shirt whacked a ball solidly off the tee and then stood frozen in place, proudly watching the ball roll toward the outfield.
“RUN TO FIRST!” the crowd encouraged enthusiastically. A helper for the black team tried to assist by grabbing the hitter’s hand and pulling him in the direction of first base.
At that point it became clear that black shirt enjoyed batting way more than running the bases. To prove it, he collapsed into a limp heap on the baseline. The black team helper wisely concluded it would be inappropriate to drag a small child to first base.
Blue team at bat. Cayden P. Timmons was up. He smacked the ball off the tee. His loud, embarrassing family shouted, “RUN! RUN NOW!!!”
And he did.
Straight toward second base. Skipping first base and going straight to second base is just what you would expect from a Timmons male. But the blue shirts had helpers too, and he was herded to first base.
The ball was still being stalked by the black team, so Cayden’s ridiculous loud family hollered again.
“RUN. RUN SOME MORE!”
The boisterous shouting startled him, and he bolted off first base the same way he bolts when we yell, “There’s a monster behind you!” He made it safely to second base, which is where he wanted to be in the first place.
Since little kids have the attention spans of houseflies, T-ball games don’t go on foreve. The final score at the end of the game: Black team 3, Blue Team 2.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
But there is always soft serve at Dairy Queen.
Theresa Timmons’ column appears every first and third Sunday. She is an Elwood resident and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.