Dad pitched balls to us pretty regularly throughout my childhood. Sometimes, because I was surely an ungrateful wretch, I hated it and complained, and refused to put any effort into making contact with that ball. At such times my father would bellow, "Sweetheart! Keep your eye on the G-d damned ball!" and then I'd become irritated with him and proceed to do an excellent job hitting for the rest of the session. Or so I hear ;) But really, I loved hitting the ball, and playing ball with my dad is one of my favorite childhood memories. I think the last time we played was shortly after I graduated from high school and was preparing to go to college across the country. I remember asking him to pitch for me and we went out and he threw the ball until it got dark.
Robert loved baseball as a kid too, even though his older brother once accidentally broke his nose with a ball when they were playing catch.
Yet somehow neither Robert nor I had done anything to teach the kids to hit or catch a baseball (they can both catch and throw a football; we haven't failed them totally. Yet). So yesterday we ordered them gloves, a bat, and a case of baseballs. The bat and balls arrived today, and when Zion's friend left we opened them and I suggested to Zion that he ask Robert to show him how to hit a ball. We only had a few minutes before they had to eat dinner so they could get to aikido on time, but they went out in the back yard and Robert showed him how to hold a bat, how to stand and how to swing. He threw a few pitches to him, some of which Zion even hit. And then it was time for food and aikido.
Liel said she didn't want to learn to hit a ball, so I dug out my old photo albums and showed her pictures of me at different ages playing baseball with my dad. When Zion and Robert got home from aikido Zion changed out of his gi and started begging Robert to pitch to him again. So we all went out back and Robert showed Liel how to bat, and pitched for both kids until bedtime.
I gotta tell you, standing there watching my kids learn to hit a baseball, seeing the grin on Zion's face (and kid's got a good throwing arm on him!) and the look of determination on Liel's, I was filled with nachas. I mean, I know that learning to play baseball isn't exactly rocket science, but still. My kids! Pure nachas.