The Great American Pastime

Batter's up. One strike, and then... he hits! He pauses half a second to make sure. It's a grounder. He takes off for first base. As the second baseman misses it and fumbles along with the players from center and right field, the player on third makes it to home, and the player on second makes it to third. The fans are going wild. It's the third game of the season, and there is now a good chance we can win a game for the first time.

It's player #3's first ever hit and first time to make it to first base in a game. He's jumping up and down on the base. The crowd behind home is jumping up and down too. He doesn't hear the first baseman talking to him through the fans' noise or the tight fitting hard helmet that creates feedback in his hearing aids. The assisting coach on first says to the first baseman, "He's not ignoring you. He has hearing loss."

"C-A-N Y-O-O-O-O-U-U-U H-E-E-E-E-A-A-A-R-R M-E-E-E?" the first baseman taunts. Number 3 doesn't hear. He's too euphoric to notice.

"Son, don't you dare speak to him that way!"

"You're not my coach!"

"I'm his step-dad. Would you like me to let your coach know how condescending, ignorant, and unsportsmanlike you're being?" replies the coach while the first baseman contemplates what condescending might mean. It sounds like it could be bad. He becomes sullen.


"No, what?"

"No, sir."

The refs are speaking to the head coach of #3's team. The coach, who couldn't find his way out of a cardboard box but would never admit there could be a problem, had lined up the batters out of order. He hadn't kept a copy of his list, apparently forever convinced of his own infallibility. The refs take away the last point scored, and, the inning now over, #3 comes into the dugout, still oblivious in his elation that his two RBI's and his first hit ever didn't count. It's now up to me to explain it to him, while the other Little League parents talk of wanting blood. Parenting is not for wimps.

In the second half of the last inning, #3 caught a ball in left field and kept the opposing team from scoring, and his buddy #5 scored a home run, which many of us suspected was inspired in part by his less than supportive father's lack of attendance. Still, we lost 10 to 3. As soon as the game was over, sometime between my phone call to my videographer, and the assisting coach returned to the dugout from the obligatory "good game" high fives, the head coach was caught in a feeding frenzy of indignant and angry parents. After yelling, "I quit!!!" he pointed a finger at the bewildered assiting coach, aka Daddy-o, and said, "You're now the head coach."

I hate sports, yet I dare never let on. It's moments like these that David Byrne sings through my head, "And you may ask yourself, 'How did I get here'?!?"


Janice said...

Oh holy cow - I am so glad my son's league wouldn't tolerate ANYthing like that. You are right - parenting is not for the faint of heart. Its tough stuff. :)


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