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The Kids of Summer

June 14, 2010 - Jane Whitmore

Little League is in full swing and Emmetsburg’s Field of Dreams is in constant motion. Games are played almost every night.
It’s worth a trip to the field to watch these young “kids of summer.” T-ball is so much fun to watch.
The little ones line up in order, then take a seat on the bench. One by one the batter puts on a helmet, selects a bat and approaches the T. The batters’ angle to the T varies. The coach comes over and marks out spots in the gravel where the batter should place his/her feet, then deftly moves out of the way. Keeping an eye on the ball, the batter takes a mighty swing...and sometimes swings again.
The other team is in the outfield - all of them. It looks like there might be 40 of them out there, but surely that’s not the case. The “outfield” is right at the edge of the infield. These little sluggers don’t hit the ball far enough to be in the grass...yet.
When the ball it hit, three or four young ballplayers surround the ball as it rolls toward them. Sometimes one picks up the ball, then hands it to another to toss it toward first base.
It appears there are multiple runners and/or defense players on the bases. The youngsters are coached to advance the bases. They take off on a run, a trot or a skip, and eventually make it around the bases.
Everyone bats. And the last batter is the “home run” hitter. Everyone on base runs the bases and comes home. Everyone cheers!
There are right handed batters and left handed batters. There are silver bats and pink bats, along with red or blue batting helmets and pink helmets. The boys tended to leave the pink for the girls.
These youngsters are learning the basics, like scooping up a ball in the infield. Or was that a small boy scooping up gravel into his too big glove?
We’ve heard about “angels in the outfield,” but some take that literally. Instead of making angels in the snow, how about making angels in the gravel?
You have to admire the coaches. Parents donate their time and coaching skills. They are also quite agile as they avoid being hit in the knee as these pint sized batters take a mighty swing at the stationary ball atop the T. It’s a learning process for everyone.
Take some time and go to the Field of Dreams. Surely you know a neighbor child that is learning the basics of softball and baseball. It’s a whole lot of fun that will put a smile on your face.
--Jane Whitmore


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