Addy’s shown an interest in softball for quite some time now.
A few years back, we looked at fall softball league in Lee’s Summit, but not enough kids signed up to make it work. So, we stuck with tossing and hitting the ball around her elementary school playground.
But, I could tell, after five years of soccer, Addy was ready to take on another sport.
And man has it been fun watching her learn and play and succeed and strike out during her first season with the Lee’s Summit Girls Softball Association.
Baseball and softball were always two of my favorite sports, and watching my daughter piece together a game that is quite simple, yet somewhat complex at that age, has been magical.
And I am learning, too.
In the course of a game, I’m encouraging her to charge and scoop up the ball, throw to first, catch it, hustle, keep her elbow up a bit, bend her knees, back up the third baseman and choose her pitches wisely.
Then, I wonder why she doesn’t let the ball rolling down the first base line go foul.
Yep, that’s when the voice pops in my head: “John, you idiot, she’s only 8.”
Still, she’s picked up the game pretty quickly and is as enthused as I’ve ever seen her when it is game night.
We get to the game, and she darts off. It’s her time. A time when Addy is just out of my grasp, out of my control, listening to other adults, chanting in the dugout with her teammates and trying as hard as she can to live up to her new nickname, “Whit.”
The game is pure, I tell her. It’s OK to win, I tell her, too. And lose. And make the most of the time you have on the field.
As she gets older, she’ll learn the value of the high fastball, when to steal, how to negotiate a rundown and when to just let that old ball roll into foul territory.
She strikes out and makes nice throws to the base. Sometimes she gets a little pep talk from dad. But most of all, I love her game recaps on the drive home.
If this whole softball thing doesn’t work out, maybe she can be a sports commentator.
I hope this is the first of many seasons for her. Our kids learn more in sports than in practically any other setting.
Editor's Note: John Beaudoin is a Lee's Summit resident and award winning writer and former newspaper publisher in the Lee's Summit community. Views and opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily reflect those of Link 2 Lee's Summit, it's employees or any other guest contributors.