The Marlins baseball team got off to a rocky start. They play in the 7 - 8 yr old league at our local recreation district park. It's interesting how they determine the age bracket. It's based on the child's birthday as of April 30. The youngest must turn 7 by that date; the oldest cannot have reached their 9th birthday.
This results in a pretty wide age range (and presumably with it, a wide range of skill) in Son #3's league (that's him in the photo). For example, when the season started Son #3 was 6 yrs, 7 mos old (he turns 7 in February). Feasibly, there could be a boy on the team who would celebrate his 9th birthday on May 1 (because he just made the cut off). Most of the kids are 7 and 8.
It's been good for Son #3, I think. Although he's one of the youngest, there hasn't been any of the tears and drama among the kids when they strike out or are thrown out. His batting has improved. He's become the official cheer ringleader in the dugout. ("Let's go, Marlins, let's go!" will a little disco action - think Saturday Night Live movie poster.)
Most coaches rotate the kids throughout the various positions during the season, but this coach came up with team assignments early on. The downside: the younger boys do not gain experience in different positions. The upside: consistency.
Son #3 would usually be placed in the outfield (not a lot of action there), or he'd get to play catcher. "Play" catcher is a misnomer. Once he's suited up in what he calls his armor (oversized pads, helmet, etc.), he can barely move. Still, I think it made him feel more like he was in on the action.
His batting has improved. He's still hitting it right to first base - which means he's out - but he's been managing to bring at least one or two runners home. RBIs are a good thing.
Despite being the No. 5 seed (there are perhaps 10-12 teams in this age bracket), they made it through the championship tournaments and snagged top honors. Yay, Marlins!