Recently I got a text message from another dad at school. “My son’s interested in joining/playing baseball with yours, can you tell me more about your league?” he asked. “Also is there a get-together at Fenton’s Ice Cream for the team tomorrow afternoon? We’ll try to make it.”
In one way this was not a surprise, since Jaden’s been telling us about his new baseball league for some time. “We’ll practice on Tuesdays. Mateo is in it, and James… and…” He’d give us detailed descriptions of their practices during recess or after school, and the main goal seemed to slide in the grass or mud, preferably in bright white baseball pants.
Yet in another way I was shocked, and impressed. The “teambuilding” meetup at the ice cream parlor was pure Jaden fiction. I’d heard about it, as he’d tell us about it the same way he speaks of Chuck E. Cheese, in the near-present-hopeful. “Saturday we’ll go to Chuck E. Cheese. First I’ll…” Well, there’s a lot he wants to do first. Yet virtually every Saturday he does not go to said Cheese. I thought he was daydreaming, and I guess he was, but he’s bringing in his friends and their parents. He’s got big plans.
This photo gives you a complete vision of his baseball phase. Firefighters are done, and mostly so are cops. Soldiers still occupy an important space (note the camouflage, and be assured he’s got a walkie-talkie stashed somewhere). But check out those bright white baseball pants and the shiny hat. There’s a bat to match (he’s not allowed to bring it into restaurants).
To put it mildly I’m not a sports person, but I’ve been trying to encourage him. Yet when I suggested he try T-ball or another league, he was vociferously opposed. “But you could learn the rules,” I said, leaving unsaid that this was something I cannot provide, unless reading it off Wikipedia counts.
But it became clear that Jaden does not want to play by the rules, and talking to more parents I realized that’s a unifying theme among his peers. The most fun he’s had is when we went to the park with the dog and 4 sheets of printer paper, for the bases, and the dog ripped them apart and chased us around, paper scraps in his mouth, tagging us out.
Jaden doesn’t want to run the bases in order, learn the proper way to hold a bat, or follow any silly rules. He wants a zany ball league, with as many people chasing him as possible.
And from the market research he’s conducting, it sounds like this could be big. Fortunately Jay and I have the skills to coach a zany ball team. Anyone else want to play?