I signed Andy up for T-Ball. This is very exciting, and Andy is very happy about it. When I got the phone call about the practices, it was a little odd. "You're on the Red Team," the message said. "Practices start next week. Oh, by the way, we don't have a head coach for the Red Team yet. If you know anybody who can help us out, give us a call."
Well, I thought, I don't know anything about baseball. It's a pretty popular program. One of the dads will hear that and pick it up, no problem. Besides, I'd like to be able to just sit with some of these other moms and dads and get a little taste of normalcy for a bit.
We turned up at the first practice, and Andy was happy to find he knew several of the kids (there are 30 kids, and only one is a girl). I knew some of the moms, and even a couple of the dads. I got to talking to one older gentleman, a granddad; Andy didn't know the boy, but soon made buddies with him. We all stood about chatting, waiting for the coaches to show up, and realizing there were two teams here- Gray and Red. Some of the moms were in book clubs, chatting about the books they were reading. Chatter of TV shows I have never even heard of. Some talk of who would be "suckered" into being the "team mom" for each team (and thus organize post-game snacks each week). Guess where that conversation was heading. After all, these were all busy people. They had jobs and kids and bookclubs to do.
When the coach (note the singular) showed up, we all gathered in to hear what was up: the program had called him pleading for him to please coach a team, and then they decided he would coach both teams, but he needed assistant coaches. He wanted two from each team, and he had two from the Gray team already signed up. One was a young dad who seemed to know a good deal about baseball, and a mom who was already wearing a gray shirt and a baseball cap. Could he get two volunteers from the Red team? Because if he couldn't, the program would have to be cancelled, and there would be no season.
There was a moment of deafening silence. Eyes found the ground, the kids, the cars, the sky. Just a moment, when things became very, very clear. Given the choice between volunteering or disappointing their kids by canceling the program, crickets were starting to chirp.
No, I didn't speak up first. Remember, I know nothing about baseball. Or coaching. And I am very, very fat. Did I mention I am not an athlete in any way, shape, or form?
Granddad spoke up first. But I knew from that moment of silence that without another voice, Andy wouldn't be able to play, and that wasn't the right choice. These kids should be able to play. It wasn't their fault that coaches weren't lined up for them. And it's T-Ball, how hard can it be?
So you can just call me Coach Andymom. Granddad and I looked at each other and laughed. In a sea of parents, we knew it was the right thing to do. But I know it's going to be a fabulous experience, because Granddad waved me on to the field with him saying, "Well, they're ours, now. Let' show all these folks what fun really is!"
They all obliged by standing outside the field fence chatting together and reading their books while we had a blast playing with their kids. The Red Team may not win many games, but we're going to have a lot of fun playing them.