Thursday, May 8, 2014

Practice Practice Practice

This week in baseball news…Luca fell off the stands on his head.  But it was one of those slow, controlled falls so he only screamed for 5 minutes.

Elijah, on the other hand, continued his strikeout streak at the plate.  But, man, is he good looking.  He was the only kid on either team who needed the coach to help him hit after 25 strikes. 

As Eli whiffed over and over, I began to hear snickering from the outfield.  A couple future fraternity social chairmen were making fun of my son’s struggles at the plate.  I spent a couple minutes giving them an elaborate explanation of why they were destined for a life of mediocrity.  In my head.  I began with their dumb, slack-jawed expressions and my crescendo was a detailed expose into their mother’s relations with barnyard animals.

I felt better. 

When we got home, I asked Eli if he was embarrassed that he was the only kid who couldn’t hit.

“A little bit.”

I explained that the only, and I mean only, way he would get better at hitting would be to practice.  Every day.  No matter what. 

He immediately opted to just keep striking out.

I tried again.  If he practiced batting every day, he would receive a Skylanders guy.  But if he practiced every day and got a hit in a game without a coach’s intervention, he would receive a new Skylanders game.  This was a $40 value.

He began trying to bargain his way down to two days a week or three swings a day but I said, “Pap pap pap pap.  This is not negotiable.  Take it or leave it.”

The only wrinkle was who would throw him easy to hit pitches when I was at work?  Who could master the can of corn? 

On Sunday, I put Diana on the mound.  She has an ERA of 124, so I figured Eli would light her up.  But Eli hadn’t anticipated her secret weapon:  the wild pitch.  She threw it over his head, at his head, and over the garage.  After ten or so pitches into the bushes, I sent her to the showers.

The neighbor girl seemed only to be able to throw, as Eli calls it, “Crotch Balls.”

Our Ace is babysitter Hannah.  She has the temperament, the hours of free time with the boy and just enough throwing ability to get it over the plate.  Eli reported yesterday that he hit five of her throws. 

Watch out, Team Jimmy Johns!

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