Sara is in her 2nd year of softball. Last year was "instructional". They learned the basics of catching, hitting, throwing and running the bases in the proper order. The girls were more concerned about their 'costumes' and snacks than the finer points of the Great American Pastime. They played "games". Each girl got to hit and run all the bases. No score keeping and no tears. A brilliant strategy for a team made up of 6 and 7 year old girls who fussed at the prospect of getting their shiny new pink gloves dirty and shrieked in horror if the ball came anywhere near them.
This year they play for real. Scores are kept. Outs and strikes are counted. One team wins and one team loses. I am all for this. I am not a new age parent who thinks that losing a softball game will ruin my girl's fragile psyche. She needs to learn about sportsmanship, team spirit, winning and losing gracefully. Softball may not be the best choice for our high octane child. I'm no jock and know little about baseball. Turns out there is a lot of downtime in baseball. Especially if you play right field. Not many 8 year olds can hit one out of the park. So, at practice, my kid is usually making a dandelion crown and twirling to her own beat, oblivious to the happenings on the in-field. (In-field is a real term. I googled it) When her team is "at bat", she is playing in the dug-out with her new friends. For a kid who has trouble maintaining focus under the best of circumstances, baseball may not be the best sport for her.
However, at her first game, she surprised us all. She had laser beam focus. She listened, followed the ball and did whatever else it is that the big league players do during a game. Her team lost the game and Sara did not lose her cool. We were proud of her. She didn't get mad or upset. She didn't cry or over-react. She was an involved member of the team who enjoyed the game, regardless of the score. In my playbook, that is a homerun. Or a touchdown. Or a goal. Doesn't matter. She had fun and looked darn cute in her 'costume'.