A few weeks back we were in the thick of Ryan's kid-pitch baseball season. Have you ever had to watch one of these games? It can be painful, very slow and very painful. These kids are seven and eight and are horrible pitchers. Because of that, they tend to have some trouble with hitting as well. The only saving grace is the six run mercy rule per inning. After six runs are scored the inning is over to save all of us from a slow death by boredom.
Toward the end of the season, Dave thought that Ryan was ready to pitch. They talked to the coaches and all of them made a plan to have him pitch an inning against one of the less than stellar teams. Needless to say, I was not happy with this plan. Lets recount the facts here:
1. Ryan is still seven years old.
2. The pressure on the pitcher is tremendous and I don't think that Ryan needs that.
3. I am afraid that he will hit someone.
4. Did I mention that Ryan is seven years old?
It was the day of the big game and Ryan was getting the call to pitch. He was due to pitch in the next inning so he and Dave went into the open field and were warming up. The inning went quickly and suddenly it was his turn to bat so he put his helmet on and went in. If I wasn't reading my book (it was the latest Nora Roberts which was actually pretty good) I would have noticed that the opposing pitcher was kind of wild and had hit Nate, the batter in front of Ryan, on the top of his head. Dave told me Ryan was up but I wanted to finish my paragraph. As I mentioned before, it usually takes a while before there is any action and I should have had plenty of time. Before I knew what happened I heard what sounded like a hit. I looked up and was expecting to see Ryan running to first base, but he was just standing at home plate. Then I heard people say, "He got hit." This got my attention. I started to run to the field. I pushed kids out the way and hurdled over equipment bags to get to him, only to find out that he got hit in the eye. I pushed the dads out of the way to look at him while at the same time I was getting dizzy and time went into slow motion. I was trying not to cry as I knew that would cause him to cry. In fact, I couldn't believe he wasn't screaming his head off. I asked him what he wanted to do and he said he wanted to take his base because he knew if he came out that he wouldn't be able to pitch in the next inning. Here is bad parenting 101. I let him take his base. What the hell was I thinking? My baby had just been hit in the face with a baseball! Not his helmet, but his face!
Thankfully, one of the dads on our team is a neurosurgeon that specializes in traumatic brain injury. He was the voice of reason and called him out of the game. Here are a few things I learned from this.
1. Even if your child is seven and gets hit in the face, you will still embarrass him if you run onto the field.
2. If your child gets hit in the head, even if the pitch comes from far away and from another seven year old, you should take them out of the game.
3. It is normal to get woozy when your child gets hit in the face with a baseball, but you will embarrass both him and yourself if you pass out. (I did not, but it could have gone either way.)
4. If your child gets hit in the head, even if they don't have a concussion, you are supposed to keep them quiet in a dark room with no TV or video games for several days.
5. #4 is very hard to do, and I thank William for doing this, even though there was some Spongebob viewing was taking place. William is a fantastic babysitter, but he is not a miracle worker.
6. It will take about two weeks for the black eye to disappear. In that time you will get some strange looks at the grocery store. You may want to buy a shirt that says "I didn't do it!"
7. When looking for a batting helmet, price should not be an object and get the face mask.
I am breaking one of my cardinal rules of blogging and posting a picture of Ryan. This is his eye the night of the incident.
I have to also say that I was wrong. Ryan did pitch in a game the next week and struck out the side while only walking two batters. He is a pretty amazing kid.