Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tate's First Hit

Tate has been very serious about his first season as a little leaguer. Just about every night, we're in the backyard, throwing and catching and pitching and hitting. The hard work has paid off. He's become a solid fielder and he's got a mini cannon of an arm.

But that first hit has eluded him.

He's been walked and beaned. He's fouled off a dozen pitches. He just hasn't found a way to connect yet.

And striking out is hard.

After his first strikeout, he walked back to the dugout with tears in his eyes.

"It's okay, buddy," I said. "You'll get the next one."

He assured me that the tears had nothing to do with the outcome of the at-bat. Instead, he said, "There's dirt in my eye."

After his second strikeout, the tears came again. Before I could even console him, he said, "There's dirt in my eye again -- the catcher keeps kicking dirt at me."

Dirty catcher.

The ongoing disappointments were heavy to bear and the little redhead's confidence started to wane.

"Dad, don't make me hit today."

"You just gotta keep swinging, buddy."

I wish I could say it was my continual pep talks that motivated him. Instead, he perked up when I promised to buy him a baseball backpack (which is so much cooler than his regular bat bag) if he got a hit.

Sure enough, the next game he got a hit. Down two strikes, he hit a little blooper that landed between home plate and third base. He was so surprised to make contact that he just stood there.

"Ruuunnnnn!" I screamed.

He started toward first.


After he made it safely to first, he was so excited that he came off the base to the coaches' box to give me a quickly hug. He returned the base, beaming.

Tate is now a proud owner of baseball backpack.

I'm a proud owner of a Tate. 

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