Confessions of a Little League Dad

[imgbelt img=collins-batter448.jpg]The home team kept losing to those big 12-year-olds in the county seat, but they played on, with  the loudest fans in Western Illinois.

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[imgcontainer left] [img:collins-home-team320.jpg] [source]Timothy Collins

Nothing says summer like Little League baseball. The home team confers with its coach before another game in rural Illinois.

It looks like this will be our family’s last year of Little League baseball. Our son, who turns 13 in September, will no longer be eligible for Little League unless he gets an exemption. He could go on to the area Pony League, but I suspect he won’t.  I will miss it.

This year, the upper Midwest saw a cool, rainy spring, but the weather was gorgeous for most games, offering sweet twilights and the energy of youth to savor in these turbulent times.

I have never been that good at sports, partly because of the three older brothers who constantly reminded me that I was “awkward and ugly,” a line they picked up from Leave it to Beaver. Some social scientists call this “labeling,” and I guess it worked.

My own limited athletic talent and interest in sports aside, I’ve truly enjoyed watching my son play in Little League over the past seven years, starting in rural south-central Pennsylvania,  now in rural Western Illinois. Our son got lots of encouragement from his mother and me. Unlike a few parents, we didn’t treat our son like he was destined for stardom. We did not push him in the field. Getting our bookworm and geek to go to the games, however, was usually another matter. We had to drag him there most of the time.

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