One of my favorite all time Homer Simpson quotes is, “If something is hard to do than it’s not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your shortwave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.”
I desperately don’t want Elijah’s desire to learn how to catch a ball to go the way of Bart Simpson’s short wave radio. So I was determined to get that boy back on the mound this morning.
But yesterday’s session, while good emotionally, was not very successful skills wise. Every time I threw the whiffle ball to Eli, it bounced off him like there was an anti-whiffle ball force field surrounding him. Oh, this would be so much easier if he was suddenly interested in sci-fi.
I blamed myself. I was clearly not teaching him the proper fundamentals. So I turned to the internet for solutions. If only he was suddenly interested in searching for things on the internet.
Luckily, I found a video fairly quickly that featured a an uber jock dad who outlined step by step how to teach a child who is ball averse to catch. I was immediately impressed with the fact that he never once made fun of me or my son in the video. And equally impressed that his golf visor matched his Under Armour high tech wicking shirt and impossibly great coaching shorts.
His technique involved having the eye/hand impaired simply hold their hand out in front of them in a Supremes’ “Stop in the Name of Love” gesture. Then toss balls at the outstretched target until the kid gets used to having a ball connect with a palm. Then move on to catching said ball. Then move on to the suicide squeeze play.
I sprung out of bed this morning at 6:30am sharp to try out my new training. The only problem? Eli did not want to get out of bed. I shook his shoulder. I poked him. I loudly whispered, “Wakey wakey eggs and bacey in his face.” Nothing.
Luca, on the other hand, woke up immediately and ran into our room to torture Diana.
Finally, Elijah stirred. Butt first. Then he exited his top bunk butt first, slid down the stairs butt first and slowly put his shoes on. Butt first.
After informing him that regardless of when training began, it had to end at 7 so I could get ready for work, he stood sleepily on our tiny patch of lawn. I had him give me the stop sign and began tossing balls at him.
The result? Better. I’ll admit my skills at throwing the ball to his outstretched hand needs almost as much work as his catching skills.
But we’re getting there.