Deaf Baseball

Lilia’s therapist at the deaf school is way into baseball. Whenever I am present at her therapy sessions, he asks me about my husband’s team and tells me about how his sons are doing. The other day he told me that one of his sons spent five hours practicing bunting.

As an extension of his love for the sport, S.-sensei conducts a practice session once a month at the deaf school for students and siblings. I’ve known about this for awhile, and have been interested in it for Jio, but I missed the deadline for the various forms that had to be filled out in Japanese and, frankly, I wasn’t sure what I would do with Lilia. A couple days ago, however, S.-sensei mentioned it again and suggested I bring Jio.

I got my mother-in-law to watch Lilia for the morning. These baseball workshops are all day – from 9AM to 3PM – but I didn’t want Jio to burn out on the first day and he is still tired from jet lag.

There were three other first graders participating. One was deaf with a cochlear implant, one was more hard-of-hearing and goes to a regular public school, and the other was a hearing sibling.

They started out with about an hour of drills – running backward, sprints, throwing motions, etc. It got hot very quickly. I think it was close to 90 degrees, and I started to worry about heat stroke and whether or not the school has a defibrillator. I’ve heard of coaches depriving their charges of water in order to develop toughness. When they finally did take a break, Jio was not a happy camper. I thought I might have ruined him for baseball for good.

Fortunately, they got the balls out shortly after that. The first graders worked on fielding. From way across the field, where I sat wilting under a tent with the other mothers, I could hear my child’s laughter. He was smiling by noon.

I guess he can handle this once a month. It would be good for him to spend more time in Lilia’s world, and occasional baseball seems better than the daily hours-long practices that are customary here for organized sports.


3 thoughts on “Deaf Baseball

  1. Once a month sounds nice. My son loves baseball but it’s ridiculous the type of hours he would have to put in if he were to join a club in Japan. We’re home in Canada for the summer where he’s been able to play T-ball — it’s been great. (Of course it’s the exact opposite of the Japanese sports mentality — no practices, only games!)

  2. Yeah, it would be nice if they had casual T-ball here in Japan. I went to my niece and nephew’s soccer games a year or so ago in the States and kids were just running wild on the field and having a good time. Here, kids the same age (5-7) get in a huddle and the coach diagrams plays! they have positions! It’s a bit much!

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