Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A (Long) Baseball Story

Friday was one of those days that when I woke up I was already exhausted just thinking about everything I had to do. It was a day full of driving and making connections to get to the next thing on my to do list. I went into work for a couple of hours to finish up some closing papers, left at 10 to head to Joplin for a doctors appointment at 11, had to find a new swimsuit (that alone is enough to exhaust a person), had to find a shirt just the right shade to match a pair of camouflage shorts, had to pick Jay and Cade up at 3:15 (after summer school) and then make it to Springfield by 3:45 for Cade’s 4 o’clock ENT appointment, had to schedule a tonsillectomy and had to be in Greenfield by 6:30 for a make-up ballgame.

I haven’t had too many baseball stories because 1. There haven’t been that many. This is most of the kids 2nd year so they are doing pretty good. 2. I have switched keeping the score book with another mother so I’ve had my own issues during the games. I haven’t had as much time to focus on the bench…until Friday….It was a full day and by the time we got to the baseball game I was tired. It was not the best night to then be short a coach. I had to be the bench coach, which, if you remember, was Jay’s job last year. The job itself wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if the kids hadn’t behaved like circus animals. It was like Barnum and Bailey opened up the doors on a truck and turned them loose. I don’t know if it was the weather, the fact we were playing on a Friday, or if it was just a bad night for all of them but saying they were wild was putting it mildly. They were absolutely crazy. Our bench was on the 3rd base line, where Jay was coaching. I don’t know how many times he turned around and yelled “Cardinals, quiet down.” I don’t know how many times I said it, until finally I gave up. There was no way anything I said would make a difference. It became all about survival….and at least getting the right kid up to bat next.

The evening went downhill as soon as we got to the bench. We had first bats. So while we needed to be focusing on getting the equipment out and the kids on the bench in batting order a lady, with a shiny metal pail full of gumballs, walked down the row of kids handing out gum. At the time my first thought was “well isn’t that nice.” Looking back at it now I realize she was wearing a shirt from the opposing team…I’m sure it was part of their evil plan to get us side tracked. If that’s what they were going for it definitely worked. Most of the kids have a hard time batting on a good day, now they were working over wads of gum twice the size of their mouths. Also, the little bit of sugar rush didn’t help anything either. I could tell Jay was a little irritated about the gift of gum and it certainly didn’t do me any favors.

There is a family of 3 boys on our team. I don’t understand the connection between them all because I think it’s a step brother, cousin in foster care, cousin type thing. Anytime you see the whole bunch out it is a ton of kids and only a few adults. There are so many kids that things have to be absolutely chaotic for the entire family. The kids are very cute and funny but you can tell that they probably have to fight for the attention they receive at home. Jay finally put this together Friday night because two of three yell constantly. They try to talk louder than anyone else on the team. One of them, Nate, gets so excited that he stood in right field and yelled “Jay” 7 times in two pitches….Jay(slight pause) Jay (slight pause) Jay (slight pause). It was like that all night long. These two batted the first inning close to the top. As soon as they made it back to the bench they wanted to know what position they were playing. I was still trying to get the other kids up to bat, but they wouldn’t let it go. Finally, I told them where they were playing and that opened up a whole other issue. They didn’t know where those positions were. I told them Jay would help them when it was time to go into the outfield. They answer didn’t satisfy them. They stood at the fence in the dugout and yelled Jay…Jay…Jay… (he was to coaching 3rd base). I had to try and point out where they were supposed to be. That seemed to appease them for that inning. Finally our 10th batter batted and I got to sit down. I was sweating.

The 2nd and 3rd times at bat went pretty much the same as the first…completely wild. This time the team was worried about the gumballs, who had the gumballs, where did she go, could they have another gumball, etc. I don’t know how many times I said that I was not the person with the gumballs. I think I had gotten over my initial shock of the intensity of the two other boys and could focus more on the other chaos going on in the dugout. Another set of brothers were very lucky that their mother was only about 5 feet from the bench because that kept me from completely yelling at them, especially one of them. If she hadn’t been close by I really would’ve lost it a couple of times. I don’t know that I’ve been around another kid that has gotten under my skin as much as this one. He’s a bully, he’s mean and his parents either don’t know it or they don’t know how to handle it. One time I saw him hit Cade in the back of the head to knock off his helmet. I so wanted to use the bat I was holding on his behind. He was already under my skin and then doing that to my child really made the mamma bear come out. Then I told his brother to get ready and stand outside the fence because he was next. He told me No, then proceeded to walk like a snail from the bench to home plate once it was his turn. At this point I was thinking an electric cattle prod would come in handy.

Cade wasn’t without his faults either that evening. At least if a parent heard me getting on to their kid is was more than likely followed up by me getting on to Cade. One thing about kids this age is that they seem to have a word of the night and Friday nights was “underwear.” They would repeat it in some form or fashion and then laugh like it was the funniest thing they’d heard. I heard Cade say underwear more times in one inning then I’ve heard him say his whole life. Then sometime in the 2nd inning Cade had to go to the bathroom. We were playing by a filed with grass as tall as his head. Jay sent him into the grass to go to the bathroom. Aren’t we great parents? Then Cade had to loudly tell everyone he had just gone to the bathroom in the field even though everyone saw him do it. It was a little embarrassing. Cade also managed to get absolutely filthy before the game even started and he got a little hole in his shirt. On the way home I asked Jay what happened. He said that while they were supposed to be warming up Cade and another boy where rolling around on the ground. He asked how I missed it? We should’ve known that was just a warm-up to the rest of the night’s activities. That’s a little out of Cade’s norm.

Friday night I did learn three important things:
1. I know that not going into elementary education was one of the smartest decisions I ever made
2. Putting batting helmets on extremely sweaty kids is not for the squeamish. There is padding in them that gets more than a little damp.
3. To 7 year olds it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about the shiny metal pail full of gumballs. Cade reminded us of this on the way home when Jay was expressing his irritation about the gum incident. Cade asked why Jay didn’t like the gum lady. There’s nothing like a 7 year old to remind you about what is important in life and why we are willing to go through these completely crazy nights just for them….and for the great stories and memories.

1 comment:

Kristy said...

This had me rolling!

Did you find a swimsuit? Ugh! I finally broke down and bought one last summer after 8 years! Who keeps a swim suit that long? Ha!