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Tee Ball at the White House

The family assembles in the backyard before a quick game of baseball, with father Dan Halvorson pitching. Featured are parents Dan and Lesli, and their four children, Lydia, Jon Michael, Sarah and Abraham.  - Liz Burlingame / Whidbey News-Times
The family assembles in the backyard before a quick game of baseball, with father Dan Halvorson pitching. Featured are parents Dan and Lesli, and their four children, Lydia, Jon Michael, Sarah and Abraham.
— image credit: Liz Burlingame / Whidbey News-Times

Coupeville family watches with president

“You’ve got a good arm Abraham!” Lesli Halvorson yelled to her 4-year-old, who was dressed in full Little League uniform.

The family of six from Coupeville had an impromptu game of baseball in their backyard Thursday, igniting the children’s enthusiasm to see Sunday’s Tee Ball game.

But instead of an ordinary match at Rhododendron Park (it’s currently off-season) they will fly to Washington, D.C. to see Tee Ball in the nation’s backyard with President George W. Bush as the audience’s highest-ranking fan.

The White House South Lawn will be equipped with bleachers and a small field for Little League Tee Ball players from across the country. As the first president to play Little League ball, Bush developed a tradition over the last seven years of hosting games.

This year, the final presidential Tee Ball game will honor Little Leaguers whose parents actively serve in the military. Lt. Cmdr. Dan Halvorson serves as the operations officer at Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Ten at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

“We were nominated by the president of the league and then we wrote a 350-word essay about our kids and Dan’s career,” Lesli said.

All four of their children are Central Whidbey Little League Tee Ball players, with Lydia, 6, and Abraham playing for the Black Wolves Tee Ball Team coached by Heidi Roberts and Annie Bell.

Six children were chosen from each branch of the military and were divvied up into teams for a 30 minute game. While the Halvorsons weren’t selected to play, the family was invited to attend and to join a picnic luncheon on the South Lawn following the match.

Lesli bought books for the children including “Heroines of the American Revolution” to prepare them for sight-seeing.

“I hope that on this trip my kids gain an appreciation for how the country is run and get a sense of American history,” she said.

If given the chance to meet President Bush, Dan, who will be dressed in his Navy uniform, said he will thank him for letting them come to his house.

“One of the greatest ways to honor a man is to honor the man’s family. That is exactly what President Bush has done by honoring the service members’ families,” Dan said.

Abraham said he would ask the president for his email address, but later concurred with his sister Lydia and would ask him for an autograph.

The family will depart today.

“From my understanding, this is fun for the president watching these little guys go at it and doing something that he loved,” said Lesli.

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