the underdogs

Tonight marked the beginning of games for Connor and his seven and eight-year-old buddies playing coach-pitch baseball. 

To say I was concerned walking over to the field was an understatement. Maybe it was the weight of the cooler filled with chilling Gatorade; or the obvious infestation of man-eating mosquitoes; or it also could have been the sight of a well-uniformed group of boys that looked like they might be pushing eighteen. Yeah, I think it was the latter. And I was mentally preparing myself for a dugout filled with boys in tears in the aftermath.

Jon is coaching Connor’s team again and a few of us parents are trying to help where we can. It’s been fun to watch this group of boys transition from an initial practice of complete chaos to learning how to field the ball (occasionally) and swinging at a ball that’s coming at them vs. just attempting to smack it off a tee. Still, though, most of these boys looked big and the first thing Jon said to me was that the coach would warn us when his big hitters were up. Greeeeaaat. I was just hoping for a few of our boys to hit the ball. I certainly wasn’t planning on seeing anything roll out of the infield.

Just ahead of the game’s start, we huddled in and said, “Go, Hopkins!” and were off. And  we were up to bat first. And our boys were hitting the ball! We actually got through eight of our batters in the first half of the inning. When we went out in the field, I took another deep breath and thought, ‘It will be over soon. They can’t all hit the ball that far.’ Suddenly, we escaped the inning without allowing them to score.

And so went the rest of the game. Our boys played amazingly well for a younger team. (There are only a few eight-year-olds. The other team had kids who were nine … I still think they may have been pre-teen, but whatever.) Shoot, they just played amazingly well.

We got through three innings in the hour and a half allotted for play. Yes, three. And thankfully, we didn’t get eaten alive and we even pulled out of there with a “W” (even though we’re all winners and not supposed to keep score). Doesn’t everyone root for the underdog?

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