On game day, the primary purpose of a T-ball coach is to consistently corral a baker’s dozen of athletes all aged 4 to 5. Thirteen small peeps, all dressed exactly the same, all in constant motion, while allegedly learning a mental game of skill.
Throw a pair of twins into the mix, and an already frazzled coach will immediately devolve into complete chaos.
Despite their distinct non-identicalness, the uniform presence topped off by matching oversize caps has turned our Little League adventure into a rousing performance of Who’s on First?
The budding ballplayers spent the entirety of their prior practice learning about positions. The primary takeaway from this particular exercise in futility was that everyone wants to play catcher because of the cool gear – namely the “helmet with bars.”
Coach sent Search off to third. After bemoaning his barred helmet denial, Search scampered off somewhere in the general direction of second. (Hey, it’s T-ball. Getting the right diamond is close enough.)
Coach directed, redirected, and then redirected more of the players. He turned back and repeated, “Search, I told you I needed you at third base.”
Destroy broke momentarily from his frenetic spinning with an orange cone perched atop his head – the neon marker designating a pitcher’s mound, which also closely resembled a dunce cap – and eyed his coach.
“Go to third. It’s right over there with the giant poster board 3, Search.”
A thin little voice rang out from behind the shortstop’s coverage area, “I’m already here…”
Coach looked up. He took in the tiniest player practically drowned out by the expansive 40-feet between bases. He looked back down at his remaining player.
“I’m a Destroy,” our dunce-capped pitcher noted before resuming his spins.
At the bottom of the inning, all the 2015 T-ball Royals lined up to bat. Destroy led off.
He took a mighty swing and connected with the top of the tee. With a strong follow through to his swing, his little body continued right round baby, right round – like a record – and the whirling dervish spun himself right into the ground.
No matter. He took off toward first, rounded the base and headed for second – all while fielding coaches and base coached tried to block his path and send him back to first. It caused enough of a distraction that when the clean-up batter headed to the plate in the fourth position, Coach tried to send him away.
“Nice try Destroy,” Coach lovingly admonished. “Put the bat back down, you just ran home.”
“No I didn’t,” cried Search, his voice muffled beneath an oversized blue helmet. Destroy was still on third.
Coach did another double take.
As the kids gathered around yet again to learn of their positions for the next inning, Coach seemed to be seeing double. There was a muppet in front of him and behind. But due to the constant movement of energized athletes, by the time he could gather his bearings once more, Search and Destroy had switched places like Hayley Mills in the Parent Trap (except if Hayley was actually two different people who didn’t look alike).
This is the real reason players wear numbers on their jersey. Coach no longer speaks to the player’s faces (or what’s left to be seen under the cap); he spins them around to verify their number and matching name embroidered on their cap.
Search for players on the field. Destroy all conventional knowledge of the game.