By Nicole Johnson of Suburban Sh*t Show: Tales from the Tree-Lined Trenches
Yes, it is almost summer, and for parents with children between the ages of four to six, it is tee ball season, the embryonic stage of America’s favorite pastime. Sure, seeing your child in an over sized t-shirt in one of the primary colors with a matching kiddie baseball cap is cute, but is it worth it?
I have had two children go through tee ball, and my third has just started, and what I’ve realized is that there are nine circles to tee ball hell. I have taken the liberty of laying them out here.
1. The Parents—Sports are known for bringing out every type of parent, and tee ball is no exception.
You will see the “tightly wound, trouble making” asshole who will challenge the coach at every turn (yes, these parents come out even at this early level of sport), the “overprotective, helicopter” parent who runs the bases in an attempt to shield their kid from the ball they are sure will hit them and call for an ER trip complete with head injury, and the “braggart” who will tell you and everyone else how amazing little Brentley or Taylor is.
2. The Ceremony—This includes the opening and closing day festivities.
Opening day normally involves a parade with frantic parents trying to find coaches or other kids with same-colored shirts. The kids, once grouped accordingly, walk around in loosey goosey fashion while picking noses, staring at each other and just looking confused and over-whelmed.
Closing day often consists of a bouncy house where too many kids, all ice-creamed up, jump around head and belly butting each other while coaches make awkward speeches nobody really listens to. Then, the parents attempt to find their kids’ two matching shoes after they exit said bouncy house, hopefully, though not always, injury free. What fun!
3. Snacks—Each week, a new parent is responsible for bringing a snack/drink.
This sounds easy enough, but with allergies and anywhere from eight to ten different kids to please, ain’t nothing easy about snack. You will also run into another sort of parent here known as “the Judge.” Nothing will work for her: it will be too sugary, too starchy, too chemical-filled. This will bring you to the inevitable conclusion that this bitch needs to bring her kids their own snacks.
4. The Uniform—How could a tiny hat and shirt possibly be a problem?
Because for the length of the season, you will be responsible for laundering (this isn’t the problem part) and keeping track of (this is the real bitch) that small shirt and hat. They do not provide you with two. You will, at least once or twice before a game, search everywhere, including the laundry basket, cursing everyone from the coach to your husband (and the coach may be your husband) for the missing shirt or hat, and then, just as you are about to have a Mommie Dearest sized meltdown, it will show up in the most obvious of places.
5. The Correspondence Emails—These will come from coaches, league bigwigs and other parents.
They will touch upon such earth-shattering news as snack assignments (we all know what a bitch these are), kids’ absences for reasons ranging from an older sibling’s prior engagement (i.e. dance recital) to any other activity due to the overbooked schedules of kids these days, and practice schedules.
6. Pests—No, I’m not talking about the kids.
I’m talking about head lice. Yes, if you or any of your children have had them, you are scratching your head right now. If I mention them again, you will call your child over and begin checking their head. These bugs are nasty and resilient. Once they find your child’s head, they will not go gentle into that good night. A few tips: put your name in your child’s hat, buy a new helmet and hope other kids don’t use it, and if all else fails finally, pray!
7. The Games—And the practices.
These will be the places where almost all the circles will converge, and you will be faced with snacks, kids, parents, potential weather issues, and chasing additional offspring who won’t be able to pay attention to all the “excitement” going on in the field because you, a grown person, can’t.
When the hell does this game end? You can’t wait for the “good game line” and wonder if today will be the day where someone gets bitch slapped instead of high-fived.
8. No Concession Stands—At almost every other kids’ sporting event, there will be something, some place for you to grab a drink or a cup of coffee.
Not at a tee ball game.
The most you can hope for, and this is actually more of a curse than a blessing, is a cameo by the ice cream man. Once he shows up, the already out of control kids will go wild. Run! Run to your car. Pretend you’ve forgotten something.
9. The Kids—Yes, they are cute and on occasion can be sweet, but they can also be moody and temperamental.
While you can attempt to control your own, you can’t dispense swift justice to other people’s. You will get in trouble. During the game, little Cooper, Mackenzie and all the rest will stand aimlessly in the field, and when the ball comes, the whole crew will run for it. This swarm has the potential for injury. With each game, the odds go up that someone will get knocked out. You will sit in your fold-up Ozark Trail (or if you’re trying to keep up, L.L. Bean) chair hoping the child won’t be yours.
Remember, tee ball is fun.
While your child will enjoy spending Saturdays in the green fields across America, you may find yourself hoping he or she chooses to sit next year out.
About Nicole Johnson
Nicole Johnson is a fiction writer, blogger and stay at home mom raising four children, a dog, a cat and a husband. She fears birds, anything with the potential to cause fire, and Disney World. She loves scary movies, books with ambiguous endings and all things dark, absurd and funny. Her work has been featured on Scary Mommy, Mamapedia, BonBon Break and other really cool sites. Her blog, Suburban Sh*t Show: Tales from the Tree-Lined Trenches chronicles her life in the sh*t show, and she can be found on Facebook and Twitter, which is her new obsession because it forces her to get to the damn point.