“All right. Good luck, baby. And remember, when you hit the ball, don’t forget to drop the bat before you run to first base!”

My 5-year-old son, Sam, beamed up at me. “OK, mommy! I won’t!”

I couldn’t believe I was a T-ball mom sitting in the stands, cheering on my son. For my husband, it was hard to let go and let the coach show Sam what to do.

It’s always been us — just us — showing Sam what to do. But despite a bit of uneasiness, we’re both thoroughly enjoying letting go and letting him do something new.

When he got up to bat at that game, his coach helped get him set up and stand in the right position. He swung — and missed the ball, instead swinging into the tee. The coach stepped back in and set everything back up. Sam connected this time.

“Woo! Run, baby, run!”

He took off. And despite my advice, he ran off still clutching the bat. But after about two steps, he remembered. He stopped. He dropped the bat and continued to run.

It was a far cry from his very first game last month, when he hit the ball and ran. With the bat. To third base. After his coach helped steer him in the right direction, he continued to first base, still clutching that bat.

When my husband came to me with the idea of putting Sam in T-ball, I was hesitant. He starts kindergarten this fall, and I know our lives will only be crazy from then on out with school and volunteer activities and sports practices and games. I lamented the idea of starting this year, because I wanted one last slow summer where we didn’t have any responsibilities.

But Sam was so excited. How could I say no?

So here we are. T-ball games twice a week for two months. And I love it. I love it even if it’s the worst game of baseball I have ever seen in my life.

Seriously. Have you ever been to a T-ball game? It’s hilariously bad and also immensely adorable.

First off, no one can hit the ball into the outfield, so all the kids are squished into the infield.

When a kid does hit the ball, they all run to get it. Every single one of them, from every corner of the field. Their last game involved more dog piles than I could count. And it’s a tossup whether you’ll see a tantrum erupt on the field because a kid didn’t get the ball. Sometimes they throw to first base. A lot of times, they jump up and down celebrating the fact that they got the ball. Sometimes they throw it home.

All the kids twirl around in the infield. They all kick dirt and examine rocks and bugs. They talk to each other. Sometimes their conversations are so interesting, they don’t even see the ball as it rolls by.

When it’s their turn to bat, they have to drag the bat through the dirt on their way to home base. Only a few of them ever keep their eye on the ball. They look at their parents or the coach; how they ever make contact is beyond me.

Sometimes, after they connect, they go for a leisurely stroll to first base. Almost all of them trip over each base.

While I was hesitant at first, I’m glad we decided to sign up Sam. It’s great that he gets to learn about baseball with no pressure. They don’t keep score. It’s complete chaos, but it’s fun.

I love sitting in the stands cheering for Sam’s team. I love waving to Sam as he runs to each base. I love that he sneaks out of the dugout to ask, “Mommy! Did you see me? Did I do good?”

I love watching them all learn and get better. I love watching them make friends with each other.

But the best thing of all? Watching them fall in love with the game.

ashlee.coffey@owh.com, 402-444-1075,

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