Back in the day I had a tee ball set-up that was awesome. It was red and white and it had one of those balls with the elastic cord attached so you could practice on your own. I would play with that thing for hours and so would my brothers. I got really, really good at tee ball, which is kind of like being good at the other things I had mastered like kickball, tetherball and three legged race – overall a worthless set of skills, but athletic and good exercise. In those days I won ribbons for those sports at track and field events, and dominated in my age class. My older brothers shared similar experiences as we crushed the elementary school set in random sporting competitions that no one gives scholarships for.
One day I was playing tee ball (not on my set) and I swung for a ball with an aluminum bat. I didn’t realize that my friend Smoochie was standing behind me and he took the bat right in the forehead. The round spot where I hit him turned red and started to pour blood down his face and into his right eye. I was mortified and scared. Thankfully my older brothers were around and we got him to his house without him bleeding out. I don’t know what his parents did with him, if they took him to the hospital or performed the necessary triage at home, but the next time I saw him he was bandaged up with full gauze wrapped several times around his head. He was a good sport about it and acknowledged that he shouldn’t have been standing behind me while I was at bat. My dad was furious when he found out after the fact that the bat-to-the-head incident had taken place. But even through my dad’s wrath and Smoochie’s gash we all lived.
Today I set up an awesome tee ball set for my son. It has the same ball attached to an elastic cord that mine did over 20 years ago. However my son’s is black and white and I don’t stand within 10 feet of him when he’s at bat. I try to teach him technique, though it’s more fun to teach him how to have fun. It was such a perfect evening of batting and laughing, that even he felt the need to note it aloud. I can hardly imagine a better day than slow cooking a whole chicken on the grill and simultaneously teaching my son how to hit a pop fly with a tee ball. It was one of those moments where you realize that as much as things change, many things stay the same. I also talked on the phone with both of my older brothers today which added to the nostalgia.
There are few perfect moments in parenting. I’d love to say there are millions but there really aren’t. However there are enough to make it all worth it, and I can say I lived one today… And the chicken turned out so good I almost smacked myself.