You may be saying, ‘Man, that Maclone sure is slipping lately on his blog.’ And, well, you’re probably right.
I’m always busy, and usually I find time to write blogs while dealing with the craziness, but I’ve got something in my life that is consuming the bulk of what “spare” time I did have.
It’s one of the biggest undertakings I’ve taken on in a long time. It’s maddening, demanding and fantastic.
I’m coaching my son’s Little League team.
Rye is 8-years old and he’s playing in Falmouth Youth Baseball’s AA Division. Yes it is the lowest level of play in the organization, and it is a fun-first, instructional league. It is also quite the undertaking.
When he went to the tryouts I told the player rep that I would be happy to help out whenever I could. Later that week the Head Coach, Brad, called me up and I reiterated my happiness to help out when I could.
“I hope so Rich, they have you here as my assistant coach.”
Yep, I apparently stepped in it somewhere along the way. I guess when you know people in the league certain assumptions are made, even though you were trying your best not to commit too much.
Well, I’m committed now.
Instead of trying to weasel out of it, I jumped in with both feet. I don’t pretend to know a ton about soccer or basketball when I coach the little kids in the rec league, but baseball is a different thing. I know this game pretty well. I know how kids should play the game, both fundamentally and in terms of doing things “the right way.” Baseball is my first love. I fell for the game at — well, about 8-years old, and have never stopped loving it.
Brad is a great guy, and a pretty decent overall manager, but I think he also got a wee bit suckered into running the show for the Cape Cod Codgers. When we got to our first practice I sort of ended up taking over, and I’ve kind of run , with it from there.
He’s been cooler than cool about the whole thing. I’m a bit of a take charge type in these spots, and he’s let me run with it. The dynamic seems to work well and I think we’re on the road to success. I hope so, only time will tell.
So how’s the team? I couldn’t really tell you. I don’t know yet.
I think we’re going to be good. We seem to have five or six kids that can actually pitch, but they’ve yet to throw in a real game, so we’ll see how they do in that situation. Same goes for the hitting. A few of them seem to have an idea of what to do, but until they see live pitching and have to deal with the pressure of game situations, it’s impossible to know how they’re going to react. Obviously we’ll have our ups and downs, and I know for certain they will be better in six weeks than they are now.
Every day I can see the improvements. It’s amazing. With my son, Rye, I’ve seen him come so far already it’s mind-blowing. His confidence in everything he does is going up exponentially, and I can tell he’s having fun. He looks forward to practice and is really chomping at the bit to play a real game.
Careful what you wish for little guy. We open the season on Saturday, and then play again Monday and Friday. It’s going to be a thrown into the fire situation. Let’s hope we’re flame resistant.
With my schedule at work, and the photography business, time isn’t actually something I have a ton of. So why not bow out? Why commit to something so consuming?
At first it felt like I was obligated. Then we had that first practice and I really knew why.
There’s two reasons. The most important is this, it’s a real opportunity to do something both memorable and important with my son. He’s not getting any younger.
That sounds funny, when you’re talking about such a little guy. But it seems like just yesterday he was a pudgy faced 4-year old that could barely throw a ball five feet. Now he’s gripping the bat and swinging it with malice. Pretty soon he’s going to be beyond my coaching abilities, and then I’ll just be an interested bystander. But right now I can help him, and most importantly spend some time with him.
I was talking to FHS softball coach Lou Falcone a few weeks ago, just after I’d found out I’d been recruited to coach. He laughed and said, “enjoy it. My dad coached me all the way to Babe Ruth and I loved it. That was real quality time.”
What’s more important than that? I can’t think of much. Leanna’s interests lie more in gymastics and dolls. I’m not going to be much help on either point.
But my little boy likes baseball. That’s something I can sink my teeth into, and really help him learn. And, I love being with him, spending this time.
Today he was running in from second base to go take his swings in the batter’s box, and instead of going directly to the dugout, he made a bee line for me and hugged me before grabbing his bat.
Worth it, right there.
Oh yeah, I said that there was a second reason. It’s simple, I’m finding the more and more that I do this youth coaching thing that I really, really love it. It’s fun, a lot of fun. I loved coaching the Lakers in second grade basketball and now this is even better. It’s hard to describe just how enjoyable it is helping these kids get better at the game, and having fun with them.
And it’s a challenge, too.
At practice today I think I threw around 150 batting practice pitches. My arm feels like overcooked spaghetti.
One of those pitches got away from me and plunked one of the kids on the inside shoulder.
I was hardly throwing heat. But he’s nine, and it hurt, and probably scared him.
I went over to him and he was on the dirt and when I got him up, he was sniffling and had tears coming down his face. I said to him, “Jack my boy, that’s the first of many. I know it hurt, but don’t worry about it, it won’t hurt for long. Just get back in there and swing hard for me, okay. Hit some lasers for me.”
God bless him, Jack got back in there, and he hit a laser right back at my shin. It hurt like you wouldn’t believe. But, I couldn’t whine about it. I couldn’t even really admit that it hurt, not to the kids.
I just told this boy, basically, to suck it up after he got hurt. So, I had to suck it up, and throw the next pitch.
It was pretty funny, really. Sure I got a bruise, but more importantly Jack got back in the batter’s box and was swinging hard. He forgot about getting beaned and got back to the business at hand, having fun and playing hard.
I did a good job coaching today.
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.