America’s Favorite Pastime

Baseball, America’s favorite pastime. It’s the smell of the leather, the slap of the ball, and the crack of the bat. It’s the taste of the franks and the smell of the clay. We all remember ball games as kids. Either we were playing as kids as we watched the clouds float by, making daisy chains in the outfield, or watched our parents play as our dads drank beer and our mothers served cocktails in the dugout. Whatever the experience you had as a kid, baseball usually had a roll in it somewhere. Maybe you got hit in the nose repetitively like I did, or couldn’t hit the ball to save your life also like me. It doesn’t matter what your experience was, baseball is America’s favorite pastime.

When my 7 year old decided he wanted to be the next Babe Ruth play baseball this summer through the rec department, I was a bit hesitant. An entire summer dedicated to a sport he doesn’t even know if he “really” likes or not. Boy, was I excited. Despite my hesitation, I signed him up. It was only twice a week, and $15 for the whole thing. Worse case scenario, I’m out $15 and have only lost 12 hours of my life after 6 weeks weeks of practices. I’ve lost more time using the bathroom. At least this benefits someone other than myself. I think most parents will agree with me that the worst part of enrolling your kids into sports is having to sit through the practices. They usually last about an hour, and you have to sit there with other parents you don’t necessarily like or don’t like you (which is my case). You all sit there and play nicely with each other as you try not to strangle scold the younger siblings swarming about like black flies, because no one parents nearly as well as you do and try to come up with something non controversial to talk about. In short, athletic practices are pure torture for those of us who only partake in team sports between the sheets.

Five weeks into the season, and I was ready for it to be over. Even with one week off because my kids were magically whisked away with the grandparents, I was spent. I even debated telling my son it was over a week early, but decided not to when I remembered he goes to camp with all the kids on his team. This was the dilemma I was fighting in my head as we drove to practice last Thursday, but I smiled and got Theo excited about another day on the baseball diamond. As we got to the field, five minutes before practice, the field was empty. Not a car in the parking lot or a kid on the field. Maybe I wasn’t the only parent fighting this dilemma….maybe my wish had been granted! As the practice start time came and went I pitched the ball to Theo as Pheobe lazily baseball practice is even more enthralling for her chased the ball in the outfield until she decided to make snow angels in the grass. Suddenly we see one of the coaches truck drive in, followed by a few more cars. 15 minutes into the scheduled practice time we now had six players, proving half the parents fought and loss the same dilemma I had.

In all my mommy wisdom, I suggested we have a scrimmage of parents vs kids because there really weren’t enough players to have a “meaningful” practice. Why not? It beats sitting in the bleachers with a bunch of other parents who don’t want to be there either. At least this way we are up and moving, and more importantly, interacting with our kids. Right? Sure. I admit, it was a great idea until I looked down at my clogs, remembered I didn’t have a t-shirt on under my sweatshirt, and was suddenly overpowered by the enormity of my breasts who weren’t wrangled in appropriate attire.

Great idea, Brandi. Absolutely brilliant.

Then I looked around the field, another sweatshirt, some flip flops, a dress, and a pair of work boots. Needless to say, the kids knew they had this in the bag. The parents were going down, and they were going down hard! Five parents still dressed for work against six kids in full baseball attire. The next hour was spent running around barefoot in the gravel, dodging little cleats, using gloves that were too small and bats that were too short. Long sleeves were rolled up as the sweat poured off of us, and we all learned that throwing a baseball is more difficult than it looks. The rule of “three strikes, you’re out” was thrown out the window for both teams, and new paths to each base were forged. Laughter became the prime element as parents and kids had actual fun together. There were no cell phones, laptops, or portable games. There were no separate rooms for everyone to hang out in, just good old fashioned fun on the baseball diamond.

So there I was, enjoying baseball again, but this time it was with my son. This was the game he was going to remember from the entire season, and so was I. It was in that hour that I was reminded why baseball is America’s favorite pastime. You can’t beat a pickup game of baseball with the people in your community especially if you add the grill and beer. I guess sticking it out another week won’t be so bad, maybe I’ll even jump in the dugout and help.

baseball

One thought on “America’s Favorite Pastime

  1. For my little ones, I only have to deal with “soccer clinics” at this point . . . which aren’t really games, and I cannot really adequately describe what goes on during them, aside from my kids either choosing to chase the ball around or deciding to sit on their own. In either case, it’s far from “organized.”

    In the next few years, I fully anticipate either dreading or falling in love with my kids’ sports. Though I’m not sure if I’ll be a coach or not . . . something tells me, it’s in my fate (and baseball is my first love).

    That pickup game sounds like a great time, though, all things considered. I still remember a “father pitch” game in the 3rd or 4th grade where the dad of one of my teammates actually scored a perfect game – he struck out ALL OF US. Something tells me that he’d have been able to defeat us in a parent/kid game all by himself.

    Like

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