C.J. Drafted By Seattle Sailors

“Mama, is this football or baseball that I’m playing right now?” C.J. asked as he attempted to field ground balls, looking completely overwhelmed.

“You’re playing baseball. Do you like it?” I said.

“No,” he said matter-of-factly.

I said nothing. I smiled as I looked around. My five year old was the only boy on the team who didn’t know what sport he was playing.

He can’t be bothered to keep things like that straight. He can name every Disney princess and her movie of origin, specific shades of pink and purple, and the difference between a braid, a french braid, a ponytail and pigtails. But, baseball and football have no defining characteristics that set each other apart in his brain.

C.J. had tried baseball before. It didn’t exactly go well, he didn’t exactly like it, but that was nearly two years ago and we wanted him to give it another go. He shies away from athletics and we don’t want him to. He’s tried baseball, flag football, soccer, gymnastics and swimming. We want him to feel comfortable competing, being part of a team and being athletic.

We asked him if he wanted to try baseball again. Yes. No. Yes. Yes. Yes. No. Yes. No. No. Yes. Yes. We signed him up for the local recreation league and C.J. was picked to be on the Seattle Mariners.

“What’s a mariner?” he asked his dad.

“A seaman,” C.J.’s Dad said. I couldn’t help but giggle.

“It’s like a sailor,” C.J.’s Dad said, giving my juvenile humor a dirty look.

C.J. loved his shiny teal jersey and hat with an “S” on it.

“What team are you on?” Nana Grab Bags asked C.J.

“The Sailors,” C.J. said.

“Oh, how fun!” Nana Grab Bags said, not knowing her professional baseball teams and fully trusting C.J.

“You’re not on the sailors, you’re on the Mariners,” I corrected C.J.

“They are the same thing, Daddy told me. And, that’s why there is an ‘S’ on my hat,” C.J. argued. I pick my battles and this wasn’t going to be one of them. C.J. was a sailor.

The Seattle Sailors were comprised of four and five year olds, all boys, most of them had little to no baseball experience. They met every Sunday for a 45 minute practice followed by a one inning game.

On the way to the first practice/game, C.J. insisted that he didn’t want to play baseball anymore.

“Well, you haven’t even started yet, how do you know that you don’t want to play?” I asked.

“Cause I know,” he said looking out the window with arms tightly crossed against his chest. His pink and purple fingernails peeking out.

“You only have to do it six times, then you don’t have to do it again if you don’t want to,” I reasoned.

“Okay.”

About half of the kids on the team had a dad by their side throughout the practice and the game. C.J.’s Dad was there every step of the way, coaching C.J. and reminding him that he would get a snow cone from the snack bar after the game if he tried his hardest.

The Sailors were up first. The league supplied four batting helmets: two black, one navy blue and one pink. The boys in the dugout avoided the pink helmet like it had the plague, or worse — the cooties. Not C.J. As his turn to bat neared he proudly put on the pink batting helmet. His dad was acting as first base coach and watched the scene unfold from a few feet away.

None of the boys said anything to C.J. about his helmet choice. They were probably all glad that they wouldn’t have to wear the pink helmet since it was on his head. C.J. was next up to bat and one of the other fathers walked up to him and started to remove the helmet.

“You don’t want to wear a pink helmet buddy,” he said as he pulled it off of C.J.’s head.

C.J.’s Dad left his job at first base.

“Actually, he wants to wear the pink helmet,” he said to the other father.

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh, okay.”

C.J. skipped to home plate for his ups. He hit the ball and I watched as my boy in the pink helmet ran straight to third base while his dad yelled to him from first base. C.J.’s Brother laughed uncontrollably.

After every player on our team had a chance to hit the ball and run the bases, it was time to play the field. C.J. was shortstop with his dad by his side. I could see it; C.J. started to get bored. Halfway through the other teams’ ups, I watched as C.J. dropped his baseball mitt to the ground and took off his hat with the “S” on it and threw it to the ground. He casually walked off of the field. C.J.’s Dad didn’t notice that he’d been ditched until C.J. had reached the dugout, where he promptly began collecting his things.

“What are you doing?” I asked C.J. when I got to the dugout.

“I’m all done. I only like baseball when I’m hitting the ball,” he said informatively.

“That’s how everybody feels, but you gotta go out there and catch the ball and try to get the other team out,” C.J.’s Dad said.

“No, thank you,” C.J. said, now sitting on the dugout bench and swinging his feet.

The inning was over, marking the end of the game.

“Do I get a snow cone?” C.J. asked.

“Did you try your hardest?” I asked.

“No, I didn’t. No snow cone.”

The five following games went much, much better and C.J. was super-excited when he got a participation trophy after the last game.

“Can I have a trophy with a girl baseball player on top instead?” he asked pointing to the gold male on the top of the trophy he had been given.

“No, baby, you don’t get to pick. If there are more boys than girls on your team, then the whole team gets a boy trophy. If there are more girls than boys on your team, then the whole team gets a girl trophy,” I said, kind of making up my own rules.

“I want to play on a girls’ team next time, then,” C.J. said.

“Oh, so you want to play baseball again?” I asked.

“No, never mind. I don’t want to play baseball ever again, but if I did, I’d want to be on a girls’ team, not the Sailors.”

About raisingmyrainbow

RaisingMyRainbow.com is a blog about the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son.
This entry was posted in All Posts, Main Site Header and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to C.J. Drafted By Seattle Sailors

  1. Erika says:

    I just found your blog, and am enjoying your posts. This one prompted me to respond, though. I understand why you want him to experience team sports–but 4 or 5 is actually really young. There’s such a push to get kids into teams at a younger and younger age, but a lot of them just aren’t ready for it–sometimes not until late elementary school. I know this from experience–my daughter tried soccer at 4, and it was a disaster. She tried again at 8, and it was somewhat better–but she has a hard time filtering when there’s a lot going on, and a team sport, where you have to be aware of so much that’s going on, was just too much for her. Individual sports where she can still be part of a team–track, swimming, that sort of thing–are turning out to be a much better fit. So don’t push him–expose him to various things of that sort, but let him make his own choices. He’ll let you know when he’s ready to try again.

  2. Laura says:

    I’m usually a lurker, but I love your blog. It’s so hilarious. Also, I really admire your parenting. I don’t have any kids of my own (far too young for that) but I love how C.J. is so honest about trying his hardest versus not. Can’t wait to read more!

  3. Being a gay athlete gives one a unique experience. I was a swimmer since I was ten. Luckily my parents were very supportive and my teammates did not care. It did get a little rocky around the time I was 13 and 14 when children were learning about being prejudice and “gay bashing” was beginning to become cool. I always just played along, and once the kids realized that I could bash on straight guys with the best of them, it became irrelevant of my sexual orientation, the gay jokes went from just kids trying to be cool, to all of us making fun of one another fairly.

    In college, I got along with my swim team great! I was already well trained to take and deal the friendly punches between friends. I’m sure it also helped that in my geration it is a much more liberal, and open way of thinking about others.

    Athletics isn’t for all kids, but I think it’s great you guys are trying to keep CJ active in team sports, it’s definitely something I plan on undertaking when I bring in kids of my own.

  4. Mujer says:

    CJ’s dad is wonderful. My husband also stepped up for our son, (now 21 and out as gay at 14.) My son refused to even try T-ball, etc. He agreed to music theater, as I told him after he quit Kindermusik, he needed to do something other than church activities and school.He learned basic acting in a fun context, sinign, some dancing and it enhanced his self-esteem and confidence which to today continues. After several years he announced he was done and wanted to participate in a form of martial arts, focusing on street skiils, some boxing,grappeling, self defence. My son continued on, loving this and has since earned a black belt. As he has now lived and studied abroad twice (once a year, once 7 months), I must say he has successfully defended himself against three attempted armed robberies (usually leaving gay clubs as folks are perceived as vulnerable and are inebriated) and is extremely observant with a defensive stance that has kept him safe. He only had to pull his knife once to move them away. He said usually they were not native to the country he was in, but unfortunately workers that were in the country and from other cultures.

    He also enjoyed wearing his dad’s skates and just skating fast with friends. He was always refusing lessons. He let me teach him ballroom dance.He is a very good dancer. He liked to hit tennis balls off walls with his dad, riding bikes, some online skating with friends and weightlifting. He would do Jazzercise if some men, gay or straight were in the class. When I took him to my class the women went crazy.

  5. While I liked team sports such as volleyball, I would also suggest maybe trying track and field (running) or swimming. You are focusing on your individual event but at the same time how well you do also helps out your team. I think these two sports are the best of both worlds. Much luck to C.J. and the family for finding the activity that is right for all.

  6. Edna says:

    Not all kids like traditional team sports; try some of the more individual sports. When my son was C.J.’s age, we tried T-ball, soccer, and even ice hockey. He hated all of them. When he was seven, I took him to a fencing class: no balls, no team, just him trying to hit his opponent with a sword. (He was already spending a lot of time running around the house waving a wooden sword, so it seemed like a perfect fit.) A plus for you–at most fencing schools the girls and boys are in the same classes and fence each other, and they wear the same uniforms.

  7. I adore your blog! I was a very “girly girl” and never took to sports very well (other than dance). So, I can relate to CJ’s less than enthusiastic response. But I was never able to articulate my feelings as well as he does. That’s one amazing kid you’ve got there!

  8. Paula Turner says:

    Everytime I read CJs side of conversation, I am struck at how bright he is. And self aware. And honest. His gifts are in abundance.

  9. Kali says:

    Can I recommend horseback riding? I’m sure I’m biased, as I grew up doing it, but I (as someone who now identifies as trans*) love that it’s one of the few sports that has no separation based on gender, not even at the Olympic levels. I hated team sports, but I ended up treasuring the relationship I formed with the horses.

  10. Jamie says:

    I snorted @ “No, thank you.” Love it.

  11. Guest says:

    If he likes dance, he’ll probably also like horseback riding, figure skating, and other sports that involve similar types of mentally intense physical control of a lot of different muscles at once.

  12. Lyla says:

    C.J.’s dad gets major props. I wish every kid had a fierce, loving advocate and protector like C.J. clearly has in both parents. My husband hates sports. He has no idea which teams are baseball or football or how those games work. He is amazing. He somehow manages to navigate frequent very male-centered, sports-centered conversations that he is forced to endure in his career. He strikes this amazing balance where he doesn’t pretend he knows or likes sports, but somehow manages to create enough common ground that he fits in. He was never into team sports, and was mocked as a kid for being bad at them. However, as an adult, he’s in great shape, he works out, runs, hikes, and bikes. I know C.J. will find a way that works for him too.

  13. One of my kids hated T-Ball when he was young. He sat in the field picking little flowers, and when it was batting time he pretended to be a dinosaur instead. None of this was popular with the the kids on either team. The coach and parents were nice enough, and we got some cool baseball card style photos taken, but it was rough. Some kids just don’t like team sports.

  14. Steve says:

    My parent put me in soccer when I was a child and I hated it, thought not as much as contact sports. Like CJ, I was a fan of the princess characters. If he is like me, he may prefer: tennis and other racquet sports; volleyball; and dance or other exercise involving uptempo music.

  15. Stephanie Baker-Harden says:

    Just wanted to give props to your husband for being a great dad and sticking up for CJ and his helmet. Im sure it wasnt easy to stand up to the other dad but his love for CJ outweighs his pride now THATS a good dad :)

  16. Tiffany says:

    Karate or some sort of martial arts might be worth a shot. I think one of the karate kid films has a female protagonist. You could watch it together first. As a lesbian myself, I intend to involve future children in some sort of self defense classes. I obviously don’t think that there’s anything wrong with a same-sex couple raising children or a gender creative child being allowed to be true to himself, but unfortunately, much of the world still disagrees. It’s changing, but slowly. It doesn’t hurt to arm our kids with a bit of physical strength to accompany the mental and emotional courage we attempt to instill in them.

  17. Well, I’m with C.J. Baseball sucks. I was forced to play it all throughout school, I would rather pin needles in my eyes than do that again…lol.

  18. lexy3587 says:

    Aww :) Go CJ’s dad! standing up for the pink helmet choice :) Though I’m on CJ’s side – baseball is boring, sailor or not.

  19. schmizo says:

    Another great read – I love hearing what CJ is up to.

  20. - says:

    Good for you for encouraging him to find some outlet where he can get experience being competitive and athletic. Even though I wasn’t out in high school I was clearly different and knowing my peer network of my cross country team had my back all 4 years helped me make it through sane. We were a motly (but decent) team where the year after I (a clearly closeted homo) was a captain the team went on to elect the slowest kid on the team captain simply because he had the biggest heart. I have no doubt that when TJ finds the right sport for him that his teammates will be there for him.

  21. Andy says:

    You guys are still all great. I wish I knew you personally instead of only by your wonderful blog about your wonderful family…and CJ’s Dad…you rock. All of you do…
    A virtual snow cone to each and every one of you.

    Andy in Thailand

  22. Pogue says:

    My son hated team orented sports. I wanted him to be healthy and find something that he would enjoy doing. He is now at 20 an avid golfer, and has green belts in two diffrent karate styles. If it is an individual challenge the is all for that, team stuff he could care less about. I love him for it.

  23. Kat says:

    Good for CJ’s dad! And good for CJ for being honest in his feelings.He will find something to like.

  24. C.J.’s dad is a real hero: an amazing father!

  25. Rebecca says:

    My son told me a year ago that he doesn’t like sports with balls, except for miniature golf and “ball pit”. He finally likes riding his bike (still with training wheels at almost 8 years old) and it helps that it is a sparkly purple with a purple helmet!

  26. I find you to be an amazing mom! I could not imagine what it must take to raise CJ in this world. I have 2 children with autism….I know how hard it can be to have children that are “different”…my kids are not neurotypical (normal) and bullying is a huge problem. I really think that it takes the kind of slow love to fully appreciate our kids….the kind of slow love the pours out of you at every moment! I know that he will grow into the most greatest person that he is meant to be!

    http://www.livewithoutreservations.wordpress.com

  27. Hey, at least he’s honest about not trying his hardest! I always love reading your new posts.

  28. Ann says:

    My rainbow tried out baseball, soccer, gymnastics, hockey, etc. and didn’t enjoy any of them. He thought about figure skating but the outfits were only for performances so he lost interest quickly as he wanted to live in them! Magic happened when we got a horse and pony for the 4 kids to share. He fell in love with riding and soon knew the name and history of every Olympic rider in Eventing and Dressage, telling everyone who would listen (at age 8) that he would ride for the USA someday. Now at age 22 he is a professional horseman, a rider and trainer at a large Dressage Barn, competing at the Grand Prix level against some of our Olympic riders. His talent and love of riding gave him more self-esteem and a place to “belong” than any activity I could have thought up for him. Some dreams do come true! He is a very happy gay young adult and I am his very proud mom! With time, I hope CJ will find something he loves to do too.

  29. Lisa says:

    C. J. is so great! I love his reasoning, so simple and clear. One thought, my son, who turns out is gay, hated all the team sports we had him try, except Tumbling and Trampoline. The teams are coed, you’re really on your own, but you socialize with all of the kids, he made friends who he still keeps in touch with, and the parents are not intense like in gymnastics and some of the other sports. At least that was our experience. C. J.’s so great, he’ll be a success in whatever he chooses to do.

  30. Coming East says:

    Love the way C. J.’s dad sticks up for him. You two are the perfect parents for him!

  31. T. Silverman says:

    This blog makes me smile every time I read it. C.J.’s mom and dad deserve all the snowcones in the world. :)

  32. Erika Gillian says:

    There are people who are just not athletic, but I suppose you gotta try for the exercise. But does it have to be a team sport? He seems like he’s fine with playing with other kids but maybe he’s not the team type. There’s no way I’d have ever played a team sport myself. Though I wouldn’t have much truck with sports at all.

    I suppose ballet would cause all kinds of trouble costume-wise *sigh*. And when you get very far into it the body issues can be hellish on both girls and boys.

  33. Stephanie says:

    When I was C.J.’s age, we played all co-ed sports. I’m assuming that isn’t true in your area. To C.J.: My brother and I never really liked baseball either but our mom made us finish the season since we should finish things that we begin. There are a lot of sports and activities out there and you can find one that you will enjoy. I enjoy swimming, riding horses, and running which aren’t activities I begin enjoying until college!

    To C.J.’s mom and dad: I think you are doing the best you can.

  34. mark says:

    Well, one other positive was he knew based on his level of participation that the snowcone was out of the discussion. I guess trying to play the game “cost” him more than the snowcone was worth.

  35. Shaz says:

    Have you thought about Trampoline? Boys and girls do the same routines and practice together all the way through the elite level (it’s an Olympic sport!), so much less sex-stratified than gymnastics, but similar fun. And boys wear a manitard (admittedly, without the girls’ sequins…) Lots of Orange County offerings (we’re partial to TeamOC, personally). http://californiatnt.com/gyms.html

  36. girlvswild says:

    My eldest son hated sport but would valiantly run up and down the soccer field much to my delight and his dad’s frustration. Although to be fair his dad did offer to take him to dance class also but he vetoed that too. Funniest thing I ever saw though was him scoring the one and only goal of his soccer career. Nobody was watching the goals, everybody standing around talking, he saw the ball, said oh ok, kicked it and scored. The look on his face was priceless, he was so shocked, his team mates thought he was epic and all was good in his world.

  37. Lyn~ says:

    CJ does seem to know his own mind, his likes and dislikes….
    I’d honor that and encourage all of the things that bring him JOY….Not every kid wants to play sports or compete… Some kids would rather create and do co-operative things… Hopefully there is room for all to find the right garden so them may grow, bloom and thrive!
    Unlike a child of mine who went through the earliest childhood years doing whatever anyone else wanted her to do… and boy did it cost her/us all with serious repercussions!!
    Hopefully it won’t be this way for CJ who is wiling to verbalize where he stands on things.
    You Rock CJ <3

  38. Angeltots says:

    At least he gave it another shot and finished it til the end despite his not liking it so much! =)

  39. Ali says:

    Adorable blog! Your parenting is really admirable, and C.J. is very entertaining! I hope he finds a sport that he likes! (although, I haven’t for me, so that’s probably hypocritical :P)

  40. I imagine this is exactly how it will be when I sign my son up for karate this week.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s