Heath was so excited to try a new sport this summer. He wanted to play t-ball so we signed him up to play through i9 Sports since Parker Rec doesn't start baseball programs until age 4. We asked Cohen to play on the team and Jace from Heath's soccer teamed joined as well. These two cousins were so cute in their baseball uniforms!
When we showed up on the first day, there happened to be no coach, so guess who ended up coaching the team...Mark! He is more than qualified, but we didn't know how Heath would do with Daddy as coach, and Mark wasn't so sure he wanted the responsibility, but it ended up being such a fun season! Jace's Dad, Jason, was Heath's soccer coach, so he volunteered to help Mark coach their team, "The Little Mets" this season as well.
Mark did a great job planning drills and skills for each weeks practice. Each team practiced for about 45 minutes and then they played a game.
This is a video that Brad took of Heath's first at bat. It's pretty hilarious. After this first game, Mark realized that he needed to spend time each practice just practicing how to run the bases!
I'm bummed because I didn't take any other videos of Heath playing. Mental note for next season of sports: take more video! The boys love watching videos of themselves and so do I.
i9 also has a Sportsmanship focus for each practice. Mark would gather the players at the beginning of each practice and go over what they would be working on that week, such as: hustle, team work, or cooperation. Then at the end of the practice he would announce the names of 2 kids who best embodied those skills that week. Those 2 kids would earn a special medal and a coupon for a free pizza from Dominos.
Watching 3, 4, and 5 year olds play t-ball is a very funny thing! Some kids are super aggressive, others are playing in the dirt, some kids run hard, others are sitting in the grass. One minute your kid is hitting well, throwing far, and hustling for the ball, and the next they are tired and hot and distracted. Heath had fun and loved hitting, but he didn't exactly love the field yet.
And he still had a moment or two that looked like this! HA! That's our Heathy- fire and ice!
After that last weeks pouty practice, the next week he worked so hard and won the medal for "Cooperation". He was so proud! And so were we!
One of Heathy's favorite parts of t-ball...hitting practice!
For the first few games of the season, Nolan and I would have to leave Heath's practice to head over to Nolan's soccer games. It was nice when he finished his soccer season and we could just enjoy our mornings at the ball field. Nolan always picked flowers to give to Oma on the days she came to cheer on her grand boys!
Heath really learned a lot more about the game of baseball. And our goal each week was to keep his hat and glove on in the field! Ha! By week 6 he actually achieved this goal for the ENTIRE game! Woo hoo!
The boys cheering their brother on! Nolan always gave Heath such nice compliments each practice.
Heath always had a nice cheering section: Nolan, Brooks, Auntie Jayne, Uncle Brad, Grandma, Opa, Oma, and myself all had the chance to root for "The Little Mets"!
It's funny because when Mark played baseball for Calvin, I was always embarrassed to cheer loudly for him. But when my kids play sports, it just sort of comes out! I have no shame in yelling "Be a hitter number 10!" I just want them to feel SO encouraged! Ha!
I just love how cute #10 looks with his baseball pants up...just like his Daddy wore them!
Mark was so good with the kids! 2 other families from different teams actually approached Mark on two different dates to ask him if he would be coaching again in the fall. They both gave him such nice compliments about his coaching and said that they would love for their sons to be on his team! He gave them his name and said to look for him on the schedule in the future. We are going to take the fall off from sports and just focus on school, but maybe he'll coach again in the Spring. I'm really proud of him and his versatility- he has coached High School baseball and 3 year old t-ball, and he has done both so well!
Look at these two watching the ball and waiting to practice their fielding. So cute!
Practicing their throwing formation.
Before the last game, i9 did such a fun little celebration for all of the teams. They were announced and got to run through a break away banner and smoke to some rockin' music. They got all pumped up before their game and it was so cute! Look for #10!
Each kid got to bat twice during the game. These little "dug out" chairs were cool!
Up to bat...
On Second and ready to run.
This picture is so funny! Heath is running home and if you look to the right you'll see one of his teammates doing some sort of karate dance move! Ha! This is a true depiction of what was happening at any given moment!
Look how small Heathy looks next to his team mate. He definitely has his father's build- short and broad.
Most hits didn't make it past the infield, so all of the players were positioned on bases or in the dirt, not in the grass in the outfield.
High Fiving after the game. Mark had to teach the kids how to do this, and even after 6 weeks, they still struggled with the routine. There were many missed 5's! Ha!
We took our own team pictures after the last game.
I think the silly one suited the team best!
But Heath smiled nicely and we'll always treasure this picture of his first baseball experience.
After his last game I took Heath out to FroYo to celebrate a good season...it's kind of becoming my tradition with the boys. He's sporting the new medal that each team member earned to commemorate their season. I just love my one on one time with him. He is thoughtful and funny and so dear.
Heath had a great time playing t-ball with his cousin and having Daddy for his Coach! He was excited to go every week, he had fun, learned more about the sport, practiced his listening and team work skills, and looked mighty sweet doing it! We are so proud of you Heath Tyler!