There Is Crying in T-Ball

There is crying in T-ballI know, I know; not all gifted kids are bookworms. Many are out there kicking soccer balls on Saturday, shooting hoops in the driveway, or turning cartwheels until their head spins. When I knew I was going to have a daughter I thought my weekends for the next several years would be filled with dance recitals and volleyball games. Ha!

The kids in our family are into sports. A lot of sports. So when my daughter turned three we signed her up for t-ball which was the only sport I could find for kids her age.

I know most little girls do gymnastics (at least in my neck of the woods) but I have what some have called an irrational fear of her breaking her neck that sport. But I did cave in and she took gymnastics for three weeks and that’s how we found out she has irrational fear of being upside down. And that took care of that.


Her birthday was in March and t-ball practice started in April so she was a very young player. We’d been to plenty of her cousin’s games so she was excited about playing until she saw the team shirts were blue – the horror! Pink was a big part of our lives back then. We supplemented the uniform with a pair of pink Chuck Taylor’s, pink ribbon for the ponytail and a pink batting helmet. She was definitely a three year old girly girl.

The first (and only) practice was exactly what I imagined it would be. The field was on a hill in a small, rural community. No one around except the inexperienced team, a capable and patient coach, anxious parents, and a bunch of cows grazing nearby. Very Norman Rockwellesque.

The kids learned how to catch the ball, which way to run the bases, and how to hit. Expectations for a t-ball team of three-year olds are thankfully pretty low.

Safety First

All you really need to know about the first year of t-ball was at my daughter’s first at bat she looked totally prepared. Her hot-pink batting helmet (it was huge, think Rick Moranis in Space Balls and she wore it the entire game), her stance was strong and her game face was tough. Just as she was ready to swing she she dropped the bat and ran screaming and crying, “Mom, I need more sunscreen!” That’s my girl.

She went on to play t-ball for 3 seasons but that first one was a doozy. There were tears at each and every game that first year.  I can’t tell you what they were for but she never wanted to quit. I think tears are just part of the landscape at that age.

The second season there were no tears (except one time the game got rained out) and she made friends. That was a huge win. Those games were the absolute best 45 minutes of the week that summer.

By the third season you could definitely tell which kids had natural athleticism and which didn’t. It became evident that t-ball and all thoughts of future softball games were going the way of gymnastics.

Lessons Learned

  • You’re never too young to be a part of a team
  • Tears are normal for three-year old girls (Right, please tell me I’m right!)
  • Good t-ball coaches are precious and I’m grateful for them
  • My kid would much rather read about sports than play them
  • Pink really does go with everything

I will always be grateful that I was able to see her be a part of her first team.

What was your child’s first experience with sports like?

5 Responses

  1. My son (about to turn 5 next week!) had been playing soccer since before he was 3 years old. I missed the registration deadline this past season (I was on my third trimester and extremely forgetful)… We decided to sign him up for t-ball instead. At his first practice I was bracing myself for the crying and screaming, but… It never came! He absolutely loved it and, it turned out, he’s actually very good at it!! We are all looking forward to the next season (starts second week of January).

    • The Common Mom says

      Glad to know I wasn’t the only one who experienced pregnancy brain! Don’t you love those moments when your kids surprise you by adapting better than you thought they would? Thanks for sharing!

  2. When my oldest son was 3 years old in an effort to have him interact with other kids his age, we tried several trial group karate lessons. While most of the other kids “got it”, Ramsey was more interested in people watching and waving to me. Then when the teacher tried to spring us for $800/month for the lessons we walked away giggling. Next we tried gymnastics per his request and about halfway into each class he’d go put his shoes on announce to me that he was all done and ready to leave. Even a year later, his interest in sports still ends with the baseball uniform he occasionally dons from his costume collection.

    • The Common Mom says

      This experience sounds very familiar. She has just started group martial arts lessons and is really enjoying it. I think the discipline required is a big part of it. Ballet, basketball, gymnastics, and soccer were all a bust for us. We’ve had to come to the realization that sports aren’t for everyone. Love that he he’s added his uniform to his costume collection. Thanks for sharing!


  1. […] T-Ball – She started just after she turned 3 and continued for three seasons. The first two seasons she cried at every game. Usually because she worried she didn’t have enough sunscreen on. You can read about our experience here. […]

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