Little league family on the run
The Buffkin family of De Soto consists of father Pete, mother Michelle, a daredevil, a pig, a red devil and a red rocket.
All four of the Buffkin children, Eric, 11, Tyler, 9, Drew, 7, and Mike 5, play baseball in De Soto. Eric plays for the Gratny Excavating Daredevils, a little league team that travels to towns such as Eudora, Wellsville, Baldwin and Louisburg. The other three boys play all of their games at De Soto's City Park or Sunflower Field. The constant movement and number of baseball games is a challenge for the Buffkins, who leave their house at 5:15 p.m. on a typical game night and often don't return until 10 p.m.
"It is primarily just a scheduling issue or running from practice to practice," Pete said. "The kids have a lot of fun with it but it is a challenge to get to the right place at the right time."
Pete is the head coach of Drew's Red Devils team and an assistant coach for Mike's T-ball team. As his children grow up and the teams begin travelling, Pete does not want to imagine a scenario of driving the kids to different towns.
"It seems like kids get different interests as they get older," Pete said. "I would love to see them continue to play, but I don't expect all of them to continue playing."
The majority of the games take place on Tuesday and Thursday nights, which often make dinner arrangements difficult for the family.
"We usually have fast food on those nights," Michelle said. "If they have a late game, I will make something quick."
On a typical game night either Michelle or Pete drive Eric to a game outside of De Soto, while the other parent will stay with the other three kids in De Soto. Michelle said she often receives some much needed help from other parents on her children's teams.
"Coordinating schedules and transporting them from point A to point B is a challenge," Michelle said. "A lot of the time I rely heavily on who else is on the team and who I know."
Pete added that fellow parents in De Soto are very helpful with bringing kids from one field site to another.
"The good thing about De Soto is the support from a lot of people," Pete said.
As long as most of the games are local, Michelle said, the schedule will be hectic yet manageable.
"The kids really like playing baseball and have a good time," Michelle said. "I'm just glad most of it is here in De Soto. It makes it easier for us."