Baseball

Gavin decided that this summer he wanted to play baseball instead of playing summer league basketball. It all seemed to start when the Royals were making their run to the World Series last year. Plus on top of that he was over at Nana’s house during the summer playing ball with a neighbor across the street.

At first I was a little confused and a little concerned. Gavin played baseball 2 years in a row about 3 years ago. The 2nd year we actually made him play. This was the year that I made an attempt to coach and ended up getting whooping cough. Anyways he thought baseball was boring and wasn’t interested in playing again. The last year he played it was machine pitch.

Gavin does have a natural ability to pick up and play most sports without much issue. He really does have a pretty good arm that is fairly accurate with his throwing. Considering he really hasn’t thrown or caught a ball much over the past several years he is really good at picking it back up. Honestly he has gotten way better and is far more confident in catching the ball. I feel like I don’t have to worry about how I throw the ball with concern to him getting hit with the ball.

The other thing that has been interesting to me is my interest in the sport again. If I was completely honest, when he said he didn’t want to play basketball for the summer and play baseball instead I was a little disappointed. (Part of me was concerned about it being boring for him again.) At one time baseball was my sport, back when I was his age. I absolutely loved playing baseball. I even remember when I heard that we were going to the Dominican Republic to become missionaries I was so excited because I was going to a baseball country. But between leaving the US and getting to the DR I met a couple of guys in Costa Rica who were obsessed with basketball and quickly fell in love with the game of basketball. It has been my sport ever since. I tried playing baseball in the DR, I still enjoyed the game. But unfortunately our school only had softball as a sport and not baseball until my senior year and by that time I was far too involved with basketball and volleyball to play baseball.

Over the years my interest in baseball dropped tremendously. The year that I coached Gavin’s team was only because Kristee volunteered me. I felt unqualified to coach, but fortunately they were very young and still learning the basics. The only time I would watch baseball was during the World Series. I would watch interesting stories from time to time depending on what was happening. But there wasn’t much interest beyond the World Series. My interest came back last year, just as I mentioned in a previous journal entry, when the Royals were making their run towards the World Series.

Following the Royals brought me back to my younger years when we lived here in Wichita and I was a fan. But I didn’t think it would go much beyond watching their run. Leading up to baseball season I kept double checking with Gavin to make sure that he really wanted to play baseball. Sure enough that is what he wanted to do. We got him signed up and he started practice two weeks ago. We bought him a new glove along with one for me. The only glove that I had was a 14 inch softball glove, which works, but I have wanted to try a much smaller glove to see what that is like. I went with a 11.5 inch glove which is significantly smaller. It didn’t take me long to get adjusted to this new size and I think it is much better all round.

I have had so much fun getting outside and playing catch with Gavin. Watching him practice takes me back to the days when I was playing at his age. Everyday I look forward to throwing the ball with him and working on different aspects of throwing and catching. One thing that was quite evident at his first practice, was that he has one of the better arms on the team. (This is a 6th & 7th grade team, I think it is for those going into those grades.) A couple of things that I noticed about his arm compared to some of the other boys: He has a very natural throwing motion, he can throw it straight with a lot of velocity, and can hit his target, not to mention he can throw it pretty far. The coach even came up to him during the first practice and told him he has a really good arm and wondered if he had given any thought to pitching. My first thought (and Gavin’s) was that he didn’t know much about pitching at all, especially since he is just now getting back into the game.

When we got home after the first practice I had Gavin throw a couple of pitches to me to see where he was at without the pressure of a coach and teammates. To my surprise he was throwing it quite hard and on target a decent amount of the time. There were a couple of things that I had him adjust just to give him a stable starting point. We have worked on it several different times and I must say that I am impressed with him. It is crazy to think that he is just now picking this up after so many years. The last practice the coach had him and a couple of the other boys throw some from the mound to a catcher. Coach had to explain some basics of pitching to Gavin, pertaining to the mound and the rubber. It took him a few pitches to get comfortable and then he began throwing some pretty nice pitches. Obviously it is going to require more practice and work to get him use to pitching. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gavin get the opportunity to be one of the main pitchers on the team this year. As long as he can keep himself from getting rattled and frustrated with himself I think he could be good.

It has been an absolute blast playing ball with him. It does take me back to when I was his age. I remember loving to play catch with dad. I got to spend some time pitching myself along with catching most of the time. Gavin has been quite interested in my playing days when I was his age. Not only have I had an absolute blast playing with him, but I have found myself watching baseball. Which is unheard of, I have never cared about baseball this early in the year. They have such a long season and it is such a slow game. But I have really enjoyed putting a game on and watching, especially if the Royals are playing. I already know that Gavin and I will go and watch some baseball games this summer.

The other thing that I think about when it comes to him being interested in playing baseball is the fact that both of his granddads love baseball. I know that both of them will be interested in seeing him continue in the game if he enjoys playing this year. (I know they are interested in anything that he does, but I would guess that baseball might have a little more of a pull at their heart.) I am very excited for this summer to see how things go as he re-enters into the game of baseball.

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