Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Thoughts on Tee Ball Season

Yes, as the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, Tee Ball season is in full swing. It's really our first official sport with our oldest daughter. I was very excited to get out there and see our little girl on the field! I also promised myself not to add any more than was absolutely necessary to my already hectic schedule. I was practicing the word "no". (As one of my best friends has told me, I need to tatoo "no" on my forehead.) In lieu of the possible attention grabbing tatoo, I decided to "just say no". And I did. And I did more than once. Then my husband, the dear man that he is, got roped into managing the team (in baseball speak that's the head coach). He's not traveling for work much at all, he says. He'll be around, he says. Sure, I say...

Here's how the conversation went. "Jennifer, I think I'm going to be the manager of the team instead of the coach." (coach is baseball speak for assistant coach) "They really need a manager. There are no volunteers and not enough people."
Me: "So, you're saying I get to be the manager."
Hubby: "No. I'm  not adding anything else to your plate. I will be around. I promise."
Me: "So, I'm going to be the manager."
Hubby: "No! I'll be here. I really want you to just stick to your plan."
Me: "Here's what I'm hearing you say: Your managing, your managing your managing...
Hubby: frustration ensues..
Me: "It's okay. I know we need a manager and I'll help. Is it okay if I just co-manage? So if you're not here I'll take over otherwise you're in charge?"
Hubby: "There's another team that does that. It should be fine."

Flash forward to now. I'm managing the team and Ryan is co-managing when he's here. Hey, I totally understand his schedule is unpredictable at best. It's okay. And it turns out, I enjoy it (though we may not want to pass that on to the hubby.) I also enjoy giving him a hard time. It's kind of my job. He does a great job when he's there and I pull it all together somehow when he's gone.

Well, being the creative, over achieving mom/manager...I created a few things. You might find them useful too. So here they are. They are mostly self-explanatory so I won't spend a whole lot of time explaining. I am apparently too old to figure out how to link to the files so just send me a message if you want a version of this for your file. I'll be happy to email it out.

1. The diagram...A baseball diagram that will help manage those tiny tee ball players. I just took a plain baseball diagram from the internet (there are about a hundred different options) and then started changing it. My particular diagram started at www.apollostemplates.com. I brought the outfielders in (basically to the infield) because, let's face it, it's tee ball. I labeled all the positions, created a few extras like: batting order, a box for the game specifics i.e., day, time, field, and inning, and a place for notes (like player abilities, ect). Then saved it as a pdf. Add in your batting order for the game, change the inning number and print however many you need. We typically only play three innings so that's how many I print.
It turned out pretty neat, huh? Well, at least I think so. Please feel free to request the file to use it. I hate having to recreate the wheel and wouldn't have if I'd had this. This is a great resource for the game and makes lassoing those kids a lot easier. It takes all the thinking out of the game. I would suggest setting up a few extras just in case you need them though. It would be a bummer to be caught unawares.

2. An excell sheet. Now, what in the world do you need an excel sheet for? You might be asking. Well, in my infinite OCD fashion I've created a sheet to guarantee all my tee ball kids get to try every position. This is obviously not a practice for the older kids but at this age it's good to have. Our kiddos don't keep score, we just have everyone playing every inning so they learn the game and have a good time. The competition doesn't begin until they're older. It also cuts down on the length as the kiddos have a hard time being there for too long.

This excel sheet just needs your personal choices. I have the first row as the field positions, and the first column as the kids names. Then as I assign positions on the field I mark off the child's name with a tally mark so I know they've played that position at least once. By the end of the season each child will have one or two positions they are strong at, for now they get to try them all. Again, this is a use it if you like and how you like kind of item. Just let me know if you're interested and I can email them out.
After the first game I decided we needed a few other things too. Like:

4. Some kind of large diagram for the kids so they know where they are going on the field. Basically, I turned the pdf into a posterboard. I made three (one for each inning) and covered it with contact paper. I hadn't used contact paper since I was a kid but it was pretty darn easy. I just used posterboard (though I did find that it looked best on green and if you want to use other colors make sure they are light colors. My dark blue is hard to read).

I took some scrapbook cardstock paper I had on hand and cut it down to a 10 x 10 to create the in-field. Then I just extended the square with black marker and a ruler. My bases were 1.5 x 1.5 squares and homeplate was just cut down from those. I then made my curved line to create the look of an outfield. And yes, I only used one since my kids will never get out to the actual outfield. Add a few labels and contact paper and it's ready for the dry erase makers. I keep a couple with me so if I need to make changes during the game I can. I also hole punched the top and added a few rings but you could easily add some small carabiners which is probably easier. Just use those to hang the diagram from the chain link fence.

4. The last thing I added were 9 plastic bins from the dollar tree with each child's name on it to keep under the bench in the appropriate batting position. Each child will deposit their mitt and their hat before batting and then easily find them before going back to the field. The first game we tried to get them to put them under their seats but since they sometimes move their hats and mitts got strewn about. Now our games have a place for everything and everything in its place...hopefully.

So now we're back to my friend threatening to tatoo "no" on my forehead again. Hey, at least I've got someone looking out for me...I think. Hey Donna, do you think I could I get that tatoo in pink?

Happy Creations! Jennifer

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