Last year, Micah was a Minnesota Twin---a very small Twin, to be sure.
Big eyes, cheeks still round with traces of the baby he once was.
He barely made the cutoff last year. As in, he turned five the same day as the cutoff. But he made it, he played, and he learned a lot.
I had to post last year's picture, because it wasn't until I compared the two that I could take in how very much he has grown during his year in Kindergarten.
This year he's an Angel.
An Angel who mostly plays the outfield.
(It had to be said.)
Tonight we faced the Diamondbacks, and Micah made some great plays. When he played third base, he went after a ball and tagged a runner out. He also made it to home plate once. We're talking major differences in his ability to hit and to go after a ball---light years from last year.
Micah was up to bat a few times tonight. There was a different coach pitching, and he was having trouble hitting the ball. One of the fielders on the other team started counting strikes...even though we don't do that in T-ball. It wasn't so bad when he was on strike two and three, but when he counted past ten (without an adult stepping in and telling him to knock it off), you could see Micah's confidence drop each time he missed the pitch. Micah ended up hitting off the tee. It wasn't the end of the world, but my heart felt sad for him.
When we got in the car on the way home, he was in pretty good spirits about his good play at third. Then he mentioned how hard it was to hit tonight with the boy talking. His very observant comment was, "When people say things like that, it makes you feel not very important."
For being six, he sure knows a lot.
T-Ball has been a great experience---both for the things we thought Micah would learn, like hitting and catching---and for those social skills, like supporting his teammates and learning how to be a positive player. Sometimes children learn those skills from the encouragement of their coaches, but I think many times they learn what not to say or do from listening to other kids, as was the case tonight. It all combines to help shape them into the people they will become.