Category Archives: Sports

Monkey Business

Max attempts to conquer the monkey bars…

Last fall, Max and I discovered this cool park near the house. Max calls it the “rock park”, because the walking paths between the different playground equipment is covered with small pebbles. Most of the other area parks use either wood or rubber mulch, so this makes it a little more interesting. Plus Max loves it when I make a small pile of pebbles at the bottom of the slide that he can crash through on his way down.

The playground is a fun mix of traditional playground equipment like swings, slides and monkey bars. But it also has some unique stuff like a floating balance beam, rock climbing walls, and these large tractor tires that kids can climb over and run across. Since we’ve been going there, Max’s nemesis has been the monkey bars. He’s watched as other kids swing their way across. He’s tried and tried, but he just couldn’t hold himself up long enough to swing himself to even one bar.

A few weeks back, I pointed out to Max that there was a low set of monkey bars in the corner of the playground. At first when he saw it, he said it was for babies. It’s only 4 bars and it’s only like 4 feet off the ground. Eventually I convinced him it wasn’t just for babies, and he practiced and practiced. Right before we left the park last week, he was able to swing himself across all four bars. We tried it on the taller monkey bars, and he made it across one bar, but then his grip gave out and he fell.
We were having some renovations done to the house, so we spent a lot of the day in doors on Saturday. The contractors finished up their work around noon on Sunday, so after lunch, Max and I head back out to the rock park while Rachel ran some errands. I noticed when we got there, he avoided the monkey bars. He did all the other stuff he enjoyed, but stayed clear of the monkey bars.
After about 3 hours at the playground, I got a call from Rachel. She said she was done with her errands and wanted to know if we were still at the park. I told her we were and a few minutes later she drove up to meet us there. When she got there, Max asked me to lift him up on the high monkey bars. This set is about 6 feet off the ground and has 8-10 bars that go across. I lifted him up, and much to our delight and amazement, he swung across all the way from one side to other like a  pro. Rachel and I watched in amazement. There was a little girl looking on with her grandparents, they cheered for Max as he made his way across. He was grinning ear to ear when he reached the final bar and made his way down. He was beaming. So proud of him, and it came just 5 days before his 5th birthday. WOOHOO!!

It’s so nice seeing kids grow and┬ádevelop. Last year, in the fall there were several things on the playground that Max couldn’t do, but after a few trips back in the spring, he figured things out. I’m amazed at how he can conquer things as he gets a little bigger, stronger and more confident. He’s a lot like me in the sense that he fears the unknown. If it’s a new place, a new activity or a new person he’s meeting, he gets scared. But once he visits the new place, tries the new activity or meets the new person, he usually loves it.

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Week 1 of Tee Ball

In the spring, we talked about signing Max up for a tee ball league. He seems to enjoy playing baseball, and did well in the “Little Titans” class he took that introduced him to basketball, soccer, teeball and hockey. Unfortunately we waited too long, and all the spots were filled in the spring league. So we decided to give the fall league a try. Luckily this time, we got a spot for Max on the Dale City Dodgers.

Saturday was his first practice/game. Max’s coach described it as “Controlled Chaos”. And that it was. There was no one kid assigned to playing 3rd base or shortstop. The kids were lined up, sort of like a wall to keep the ball from going out into the outfield. When the ball was hit, 3 or 4 kids in the general direction would go running after it and tackle the ball and each other in the process. Funny to watch. Max’s coach had one kid assigned to play 1st base. The rest of the kids just played someplace in the infield. Whoever got the ball that was hit to them was supposed to throw it to 1st. Half the time the kids threw it home, some threw it to 2nd, some threw it to 3rd and others actually threw it near 1st. Definitely need to work on that hehe.

Hitting was much better. I have to say that nearly everyone on Max’s team hit the ball solidly off the tee. On the team we played, they had a few kids who could barely swing the bat hard enough to knock the ball off the tee. I think it was partly lack of hand/eye coordination, and probably a little fear on the kids part. Max hit two balls down between 3rd and shortstop in his two at bats.

At this age, the kids have short attention spans, so Max’s coach tried to keep the pace moving along at a good clip. The coach asked parents to help the kids, and to pitch in wherever they could. I coached 1st base, and Rachel watched over the dugout. I made sure the kids stopped at 1st, and that they knew where 2nd base was. She helped the kids with their helmets, made sure they had a bat that wasn’t too big or too heavy for them, and made sure they were ready to go in a timely fashion. The coach of the other team was not as organized, so there was a lot of standing around waiting. This annoyed Max’s coach, and they got into a bit of an argument. Eventually the other coach got annoyed and walked off the field, along with his team. So when Max’s team batter in the 2nd inning, the parents had to play the field since the other team walked off.

One of the kids on Max’s team peed his pants while playing in the field. Not sure if he was nervous and excited, or if he had just drank too much water in between innings or what. Felt awful for the kid. We offered up a spare pair of Max’s pants to him, but his Mom said he just wanted to go home. Hopefully he comes back this week and puts it behind him. A rough way to start playing team sports.

Overall it was a fun experience. Max was smiling ear to ear for most of the game and he really loved batting and running the bases. He was getting bored in the field, but I think if the pace of play was quicker he would be liked that part more. Looking forward to week 2. Im sure as the weeks progress, things will get slightly more organized and the kids will get better and more confident. They already seem to have the hitting part down, now it’s a matter of working on fielding and throwing.

Big Wheels Keep On Turning

Now that the weather is cooler, Max has been riding his bike a lot again. Bike is a 12 inch, so we may need to get him a new 14 or 16 inch bike in the spring. Back tire is a little banged up, and he’s getting a little big for the 12 inch. He remains fearless on the bike, and loves to scare mommy and daddy by playing chicken with them or taking his hands and/or feet off the bike while he’s moving.