Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What's Up with That?/Batting Practice

I went to the gym this morning. I've started a new routine that's kicking my butt. When I finished and walked out to the car, I sat listening to music and drinking water. I watched a young guy in a wanna-be monster truck circling around the parking lot. There were plenty of spaces where I sat, but no, the guy wanted to get closer. There's a pizza place a few doors down from my gym, and I assumed he was heading there. But no: he finally scored a more desirable parking spot, jumped out of his truck wearing workout attire, and walked into the gym.

If I find myself slipping into a bout of low self-esteem, I'll just reflect on that little moment.


I'm not a big team-sports fan. In fact, when my dad died in '91, I pretty much lost interest in pro sports.

I've been determined to avoid pushing Dylan into sports. That said, we've introduced him to gymnastic lessons, karate, and swimming, but I've sort of furtively hoped he might gain an interest in baseball. The kid has a hell of an arm on him, something we discovered when he was but six months old.

My sister-in-law's boyfriend has an acquaintance who was, for a short time, a pitcher in major league baseball. He had the guy talked into coaching Dylan when he was only four, but I nixed that idea. I don't want my son being channeled into something he's not interested in simply because he has a good arm.

Still, I confess I've been a wee bit disappointed that he's shown little interest when I've parked the TV channel on a baseball game, or when we've given him baseball gloves.

Something changed last month. Rhonda took Dylan to a sporting goods store to buy some gym shorts, and when he saw the section with baseball gloves and bats, he locked on. First she bought him a glove and a ball. Then we took him back for a bat. That was a couple of days ago, on my birthday.

For my birthday, Dylan decided that Daddy should be taken to see Shrek the Third. (He's a very considerate kid.) We had some extra time before the movie started, so we drove to an empty part of the parking lot. I asked Dylan if he wanted to try a little batting practice. He didn't take much convincing.

I helped him get the correct grip on the bat, and maneuvered him into something approximating a correct stance. Before I backed off to throw the ball, I reminded him to be patient with himself, because batting wasn't an easy thing to learn.

I threw the first ball. He hit a decent ground ball. Wow, I was surprised. I threw the ball again. He hit a line drive directly to my forehead. It hurt.

Since then, I've been a little less complacent with his batting practice.

That evening, he watched about a half-hour of a baseball game. It was his idea.

Stay tuned.


David said...

Uh, they do have catchers masks!
Dylan may never decide to pursue team sports. I'd bet he appreciates playing ball with Dad.

Redlefty said...

You sound so conflicted about Dylan and sports... I don't know whether to congratulate you for having a wunderkind hitter, or to give you my condolences.

How about congratulations? Way to go, Dad!

Bob Barbanes said...

Ahh, Hal...loved the post. So funny, as usual. Your finely crafted, perfect little bite-size stories embody all that is good about the blogosphere. They remind me why I love to read, and how enjoyable it can be.

As for the parking lot deal - I used to laugh at that at Wal-Mart. People would circle and circle and circle trying to find that closest spot - only to go inside where they're going to do what...walk a million miles? What's a hundred more feet or so gonna hurt? (Not to mention that most of the WMP's (Wal-Mart People) I've seen really could use some more exercise, to put the kindest possible spin on it.

As for your boy - you really wouldn't want him to grow up to be a ballet dancer, wouldya? Or...gaaak...a helicopter pilot?? Come on, say what you didn't say in the post. Be honest, you're proud that he's taking an interest in sports and not modern dance. I think it's amazing that a kid could watch a half-hour of *anything* on t.v.! Heh- I can hardly do that now.

Hal Johnson said...

Bob and RL: I'm sort of conflicted about Dylan's involvement in team sports, not so much sports in general. I'm not sure I can explain, but I've always just seen him as an individual sport kinda guy. But man, the kid has an arm on him. I suppose if organized baseball doesn't go well for him, there's always the javelin throw . . .