Progress report: They’re better than I thought

I played baseball yesterday with my boys.  They’re better than I thought.

Last week I participated in Michelle’s Thailand vs. U.S. camp.  The idea was to show students the differences in everyday activities in Thailand as opposed to the states.  They learned American dance moves, almost ate American food (Thai hot dogs are nothing like American hot dogs, nor do they taste good) and played American sports.  I arrived with my backpack full of baseball equipment.

I had to teach a hoard of Thai students (grades 1 through 4) how to play baseball in about an hour.  It reminded me how long it took me to get my students to understand the basic rules through months and months of coaching.

The camp was fun, but I can’t say the kids knew what they were doing.  There were so many of them, I had to put two students per position and they never really got the concept that if the ball is hit to you, you should pick it up.

Don’t get me wrong, those kids did the best they could, but going to that camp was like going to a Good Charlotte concert and yesterday’s game was Radiohead and realizing what good music really sounds like.  Yesterday I selected two captains and they choose their teammates.  One team lined up behind the plate and the other took their positions in the field.  None of them stood next to their friends.  They didn’t stand on the bases.  The outfielders were actually in the outfield and not three feet behind the infielders.

Sure, they’re still having trouble knowing they shouldn’t run on pop ups (especially when hit to me), but most of them know where to throw the ball when they get it.  I also have to pitch for both teams.  If I don’t, there are more walks than a dog park.  Occasionally I’ll take an at bat to help the losing team.

Without me teaching them, the boys have learned two phrases very well: “get the ball!” and “backup!”

Many, many, many, many times a ball will fly by a kid whose head is not in the game.  He may even be looking straight ahead, but this doesn’t mean he’s paying attention.  My reply is normally, “Get the ball!”  I’m thankful they haven’t picked up the word I occasionally, accidentally yell before “ball”.

The boys also have no fear of a swinging bat and as the on-deck hitter stands a few feet from the batter, I’m constantly yelling, “Backup!  Backup!”

I’m going to miss these crazy bastards.

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