Can anybody say Bad News Bears?
I was blindsided yesterday by the TBall game. We arrived and the other team had pants and stirrups. No kidding. Not all the kids. And they were still 5. But they could turn 2 and one kid, thank God he had a silver helmet so we could discern when to run for cover, could hit the ball into deep center field.
The league is way more competitive than I was lead to believe. They do in fact keep score and they do play to three outs. We played the St. Francis Mustangs. Did I say they're coached by Skyline High School's varsity softball coach? I went up to her to ask for a copy of the rules because it was impossible to find them in the reams of other material that Rec & Ed passed out. The rules were buried deep in a packet that Jeff picked up with tshirts while I was out of town last Tuesday. I never even saw them despite scouring the internet and Rec & Ed's website for a couple hours at midnight the other night.
When I arrived at practice last week, many of the parents thanked me for taking on the role of coach. They said that it was really easy and that they usually just played through the batting order and then switched sides. There was to be no score-keeping and no winners or losers. I thought, shoot, I can handle that. It sounds like a blast. But the other parents were a little too grateful and it made me uncomfortable. I thought, 'why are they being so nithe to me?' Well, now I know. You walk on the field with a gaggle of 5 yr olds on the verge of tears because nobody is hitting the ball to them or because somebody just hit the ball to them and it's a club-fest and then you tell me what you would have done? Well, I winged it.
We were up against the New York Yankees and the kids don't even know how to run to second base yet. It's just a classically bad anxiety dream, isn't it? Only in my case it was not a dream at all.
It was so much easier than the bad dream because all the parents were as surprised as I was. Even the opposing assistant coach had a hard time believing it.
Anyway, the kids didn't notice how many runs were scored. We had at least 8 at last count. A few made it home. A few had RBIs. Only had about 6 tears shed. All in all, it was a successful outing. I'm Walter Matthau in this scenario, by the way.
I'm finally playing a character that I actually resemble.