Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Take Me Out to the Bore, I Mean, Ball Game

I was going to write a poem about softball but then realized that there are not enough words that rhyme with "boring".

#2 and #3 are both playing on different teams and there seems to be a game to go to almost every night! I just don't have the patience for softball and baseball. It is so slow. I once told another mom, if they could condense the actual action parts (someone hitting a ball, stealing a base, running home, throwing someone out, etc...) into about 25 minutes then I would be interested. But, it is almost painful watching the pitcher pitch a ball, the catcher drop it, walk over to pick it up, throw to the pitcher, who pitches another outside ball and on and on and on.....I (and the ump) get so excited when he calls a strike. And, speaking of the umps....they have proved to be the most entertaining part of softball this season.

Once our ump didn't show up for a majors game (girls nine through twelve), so a parent from the other team was recruited to ump. After long pauses, he made some calls on the pitches but when the ball was hit, our runner made it to first just as the first baseman caught the ball. The ump shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know". We all just sat there waiting for him to call it one way or the other until finally our coach called our player out more out of awkwardness than anything else! However, there are some more professional umps out there. Our minors team (ages seven through nine) played a game with an "official" ump who took his job very seriously. Too seriously. By the fourth inning I had nicknamed him Paul Balart, Softball Ump. He was a walking rulebook and The Husband (who coaches our team) started to get upset when he instructed our outfielders to move four feet off the base line when they were only about three feet off. When seven year olds are hitting (or, in most cases not hitting) there is no need to stand way out there! But, he was the official expert and it made for an entertaining game. Not a play went by without him reviewing the proper way to throw a bat, where to stand, when to swing, etc.

I also keep "The Book" for games. I remember feeling like this was some great honor a few years ago to be taught such a prestigious task. However, I don't like The Book. I'm a little too chatty to do a good job keeping The Book. I had done it a few weeks ago for our majors team and at the end of the game I declared it a tie. I'm shouting, "we tied!" out to the coaches, telling the girls in the cockpit or dugout whatever it's called, and a parent came up to me and said she thought we were down by one. "Oh no, The Book has us tied. I counted it several times", I assured her. Meanwhile coaches from both teams were gathered on the field and I was called over. Apparently, I counted a sixth run that came in on a five run maximum inning (too many stupid rules) so we lost. Whoops! My bad (and, my big mouth)! I have not been asked by that coach to keep The Book again since that game! Since I'm married to the other coach, by default I usually have to keep The Book. However, I am training young Jedi knights to take over the task and now #1 can do it, as well as some of the random kids at the softball field who just happen to be passing by. I buy them ice cream in exchange for relieving me of the dreaded task.

I also like to help coach. Uninvited, of course. I think since I coach soccer I feel entitled to coach just about any other sport I go to whether I know anything about it or not. I try to "help" with the line up and throw my two cents in. I almost offered to ump a game but realized I don't like it when people hate me. And, since I can barely do The Book, I probably wouldn't know a strike zone if it hit me upside the head (and actually getting hit upside the head was a good possibility for me in my easily-distracted state....look, a butterfly!).

Of course, I am somewhat kidding. I really enjoy watching my kids play just about any sport. And, there is something to be said for being outside catching up with the other moms, enjoying the warmer weather and being thankful it isn’t raining or snowing!

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