Like all parents, I have hopes and dreams for my son. And honestly, one of those hopes is that he will enjoy playing baseball from now through high school and college. That is what I did. But that is my dream, will it be his? I know that my love for the game has been a big influence on him. Maybe part of why he loves baseball is because he knows I enjoy it. I realize that one of the most improtant things I can do right now is teach him to enjoy the game. There will come a time when my hopes and dreams will not matter as much to him as they do now at 8 years old.
On Saturday, mom had some work to finish up and so it was daddy-son time. I asked him what he would like to do and thought I would give him some options; bike ride, baseball at the park, swimming, or movie. He picked three out of the four, I was surprised not four out of four, and so we were off to the park to play ball, followed by a swim then end the day with a movie. I immediately began to think of a drill we could do at the park to optimize our baseball time. I decided to work on fly balls. I put him way out in left field about 200 feet and started hitting high fly balls. I am talking monster shots. He did pretty well, catching some, missing some, trying the best he could. I could tell after a bit, he was getting frustrated at missing some of the high shots. And then I hit a rocket, he got under it, the ball tipped off his glove and hit him in the knee. He went down grasping his knee. I felt really bad. We got to the bench for some water and sat there for a few minutes. I told him he was doing a really good job on those fly balls. I said those were like big league fly balls. He then said, why would you hit me such high fly balls when I am only 8 and need to work on fly balls kids my age will hit? I started to justify by stating that if he could catch those flies, the easier ones would be no problem, but then I stopped myself and thought this day of fun baseball at the park was turning out to be not so fun. I said you know what, you are right, let’s have fun! What do you want to do next? He said he wanted to pitch. And we did, and I made sure to keep it fun and praise him on every pitch.
When it came down to it, if he was not having fun, he would not want to continue playing. To me, that would be one of the most detrimental things I could do at his age. We played for about another hour, having fun, and ended the day swimming and then a movie. It was a good day.