This past Sunday, Eleanor and I went to check out the Dexter Little League therapy at Dexter High School softball field.
It was the hottest day of the entire weekend (90 degrees Farenheit!), but a good number of kids showed up looking forward to playing a few innings. The kids were divided up into two teams – Blue Team and White Team – and every person was given a chance to bat during each inning.
I really liked that the two coaches and the regular helpers emphasized the importance of perfecting technique, such as following through on the swing (at bat) and being sure to touch the bases with your feet as you passed by them on a run.
Often, the person pitching would call out to the person playing first base, then throw the ball to him/her. I could tell it was an exercise they had practiced over and over on previous Sundays; I watched as the player would then proceed to tag the first base with his/her foot, and then turn and throw it back to the pitcher as if they could perform these actions with their eyes closed.
Eleanor and I had a lot of fun encouraging the kids to run to the bases. She was given a spot in between 2nd and 3rd base, and I was positioned by 1st base. I loved being the person to cheer on the recent batter to run to first base, because it’s always the first base in baseball that’s the most entertaining to me. It’s where you really see people spring to action and just full-out sprint to the base. You get to watch as the batter realizes they actually did hit the ball and it’s actually going somewhere, somewhere into the field, and.. oh, they should probably start running..
My favorite moment was at the very end, when a boy named Luke was about to bat the very last pitch. All eyes were on him as he kept showing off a good swing, but no connection to the ball. At the next pitch, he suddenly put his front foot down on the ground, hard, then leaned forward and put his weight into the ball. It worked! The ball connected and went flying off into the field. With that hit, it was a home run, and all the players waiting on the bases were able to finish running around the diamond before heading home for the day. It seemed almost unreal, like an ending you would only see in movies.
At the end of the game, both teams had to line up, shake hands, and tell each other, “Good game.”
During the times when Luke was not at bat, he was playing Center fielder. I kind of wished he could have been able to play Center for his own hit, because I’m sure he would have really loved to run for and catch that ball.
Want to check out Dexter Little League? There’s another session next Sunday, June 17th starting at 1:30 PM! The last session will be Sunday, June 24th. Games last approximately 1 hour to 1.5 hours. For more information on therapies, check out the U-M C.S. Mott’s Children’s hospital link to the programs.