My four-year-old has literally waited his entire life to whack the ball off the tee in a real game.
When we told him this would be his year, I could tell by the expression on his face, he could already see his name in lights on the scoreboard. In his mind's eye, the field lights all dimmed except for the spotlight on the plate as he stepped up to bat. He smashed the ball over the fence for the longest T-ball homerun ever.
As he listened to the roar of the crowd, I startled him out of his reverie.
"Your first practice is Tuesday," I said.
His face screwed up into a strange look of excitement and anxiety.
On the day of his first practice, he asked if I wanted to see how T-ball players walk. In case you don't know, they have a determined and purposeful gate with a very serious facial expression. T-ball players do not smile or laugh when they are walking (very frightening to the other team of four-year-olds).
That very same evening at T-ball practice, to our astonishment, he refused to participate. He had intimidated himself. Finally, after 30 minutes of voluntary bench-warming, he walked out on the field, smacked his coach on the hiney, and said "I'm ready to play."
In the field, he scrummed for the ball and came out of the pile-on with it. In the batter's box, he hit the ball so hard infielders ran from it. When he played first base and the base coach yelled for the runner to go to second, my son ran to second with him.
I asked how T-ball practice went. He enthusiastically told me that he showed them who is boss and announced his leadership of the team.
"I smacked the fur off the ball," he said, in an effort to back up his report. (What are baseballs made of these days?)
To commemorate his wildly successful T-ball career thus far, I adapted the words and borrowed the tune from Pete Townshend's Pinball Wizard. Get out your air guitar and sing along, if you will, like The Who. My anthem is entitled T-Ball Wizard:
Ever since I was a young boy, I played the little league ball.
From Pitt Street down to Sweetwater, I must have played them all.
But I ain't seen nothing like him in any All Stars Hall,
That short, restless, blond kid sure plays a mean T-ball.
He stands like a statue, becomes part of the T.
Choking up on the bat, always swinging clean,
Plays by intuition, the dust begins to fall,
That loud, bossy, blond kid sure plays a mean T-ball.
He's a T-ball wizard, there has to be a twist.
A T-ball wizard's got such a supple wrist.
How do you think he does it?
I don't know.
What makes him so good?
Ain't got no distractions, can't hear no boos or yells.
Don't see kids a-taunting, plays by sense of smell.
Always gets a hit, never whiffs at all,
That dear, determined, blond kid sure plays a mean T-ball.
I thought I was the Thomson T-ball boss,
But I just handed my T-ball glove to him.
Even on my usual field, he can beat my best.
His parents lead him in and he just does the rest.
He's got crazy batting fingers, never seen him fall,
That short, obnoxious, blond kid sure plays a mean T-ball.