Moments ago, I returned from a baseball game. It was near my house and my son was there watching some friends of his play. It was a beautiful night for a walk to the park.
My son is playing baseball this year but is in a younger league. His team's season has not been good. Their win-loss record is unfortunate and for various reasons, my husband, son and I are dismayed by how some things are handled. I try to be positive about it all and focus on how well my son is hitting but I have found the whole thing a bit of a strain. It hasn't been a fun experience for any of us.
This evening, at this other game, I saw another version of children at play. It didn't occur on the baseball diamond. My son and some other kids who were there to watch the game, whether voluntarily or because a sibling was in the game, started playing some version of baseball on their own. They were throwing, hitting, running and they were having fun. It wasn't orderly and it was kind of loud but they played as they wanted to and their enthusiasm was real.
I am a big fan of baseball. After this experience tonight though, I wonder if sometimes we are forcing children to play games in rather strict, somber, adult ways. The oldest kids playing this impromptu game tonight were 12 or 13. They're still not very old and yet, on the baseball diamond, we have such high expectations of kids in this age group and expect them to handle their positions so responsibly. They're kids after all, I realize now. Maybe we should let them act like kids a little more often. It was so nice to see them run free.