By Bruce Stambaugh
Time was running out. We had already visited with our daughter and her family in Virginia’s scenic Shenandoah Valley a month earlier.
With sport seasons and the school year both winding down, it was time to return if we wanted to see our two grandsons and our granddaughter play some ball games. We got our wish and then some.
All three of our grandchildren enjoy sports. Evan the 10-year-old, Davis, almost eight, and Maren, four and a half, all play baseball, and Evan and Maren also participate in soccer.
Games and practices were held after school of course. The weekends were wide open. Oftentimes the games for all three were played back-to-back or sometimes they even overlapped. Fortunately, both sports generally used the same field complexes.
Nevertheless, it still took much planning and preparation to ready three youngsters for their games. Baseball required them to bring their own bat and batting helmet. Mom had to have their uniforms clean, too.
When granddaughter Maren played, her team, the Buttercups, had all of three players. The boys’ team they played only had two show up. It was tee-ball after all. This late in the season the coaches did throw a few pitches for the hitters before having to resort to the batting tee.
The coaches kept the players on their toes, although with so few players, that really wasn’t necessary. There was no time for playing in the dirt or lounging on the outfield grass, which according to our daughter were not uncommon occurrences when the games dragged on. Young attention spans can be as short as the players.
I’m happy to report that Maren got a hit with her pink bat and her pink helmet, and she scored a run as well. Defensively, she literally had first base covered.
Lefty Davis usually jumped on the first pitch thrown to him. In one game, he batted four times and saw only five pitches in tallying four hits. It was fun watching both the youngsters field the balls that came their way, and the throws they made. Their play reminded me of a few Major League teams I’ve seen this year.
Evan is a real sports enthusiast. Tall and solid for his age, he did a fine job of pitching. I won’t mention that he hit the first batter in the head. Besides his competitive drive, Evan has excellent form both on the mound and at the plate, and often makes all-star teams.
We spent much of a Saturday morning watching Maren learn soccer skills at different stations using several creative interactive games, like Stuck in the Mud. Players had to stand with their legs wide apart and a soccer ball above their head. They could only move if another player kicked a ball through their leggy wicket.
The activities served their purpose well. Valuable and essential skills were taught without the kiddos going away winners or losers.
Evan’s soccer game was more aggressive, and the older players’ skills were most evident. It’s nice to win, but it’s nicer still to see the emphasis based on the game’s fundamentals.
Of course, we didn’t spend all of our time at the kids’ sporting events. They played board games, and electronic games, too. I’m not sure where they were when we were pulling weeds around their house though.
Spending time with the grandkids is always special for us. For Nana and Poppy it was time splendidly spent, and always a win-win proposition.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2014
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