Battle with the Backstop

Backstop Baseball

T-ball is far more dangerous than I initially anticipated. Surprisingly, this has nothing to do with balls or bats. I presume those dangers come into play once the wee ones graduate into actual baseball.

T-ball practice is on Wednesday night. At this age, practice is still exciting because they’re still not entirely certain what game they’re playing. Also, they get to wear their uniforms whether it’s practice or a game. Bonus.

The drill was on. Half the team was sprinkled throughout the diamond ready to field (also known as chase the ball if it rolls past). The other half was sitting (a term used very loosely) on the bench, helmeted and armed, waiting for their turn at the tee.

Destroy was large and in charge. He was catcher.

Clad in the catcher’s helmet and mask, his job was to stand at the backstop and receive the balls thrown home from first. In reality, he would ignore the ball petering to halt in the grass somewhere halfway down the 50-foot baseline, steal a new ball from the bucket and dart over to mount it on the tee just as his teammate decided to take a practice hack. All in all – a lesson in just how much strength a T-ball coach needs to survive.

Alas, the pace of practice oftentimes tries the patience of a 4-year-old.

Destroy quickly became far more entertained by the immediate gratification of potty humor exchanged through the backstop chain link.

Batters and catcher poked bat heads and blades of grass through the diamond holes. Soon, the banter elevated to a Jenga like game of climbing pokes.

The children began to climb the backstop.

Several batters lined balls into at least the mid infield, while Destroy remained positioned with his back to the game at hand. This seemed dangerous.

“Pay attention to the game!” I gently reminded him from the sidelines.

“Umm…I can’t,” came a voice from the back of the backstop. He didn’t move.

I’ll admit I was mildly impressed by his dedication to his shenanigans. Normally he doesn’t have nearly the drive to remain focused on a single misdeed for longer than 30 seconds.

And he certainly didn’t exhibit such concentration 4-feet off the ground. (This is a very high distance when you’re a person only 41-inches tall.)

He was stuck.

The baseball backstops are crafted from chain link. T-baller laces are typically double-knotted because such an age group cannot concern themselves with such mundane aspects of life such as personal safety.

The two pieces met. T-baller shoelace and chain link backstop had become one.

The player stuck to the backstop? Yup, that’s my kid.

My goal is to never be *that* mom. Little League parents are the worst. But this was an appropriate time to intervene.

I approached the practice field. I detached my son from his metal connection. He came away from the diamond-slotted structure still in the position of a clingy-crab. However he did not appear otherwise concerned with the potential results of such a predicament.

My hopes were momentarily lifted when I noticed him back in the role of catcher – a good five feet from the allure of the backstop.

Such dreams of a lesson were quickly dashed.

Destroy wasn’t climbing any non-sanctioned athletic structures because he had somehow managed to get his arm stuck between the bars of the facemask while the offending helmet was still firmly affixed to his head.

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