What takes twelve hours a week, lasts for three months, and requires absolute schedule flexibility, keeping Mom always "on call" in case of rain and make-up games? Stumped? Baseball, of course! Any parent whose child has played Little League understands the commitment and dedication necessary--not only for the kids, but for the families too. My husband travels during the week, so the responsibility for hauling our son to practices, taking him to the batting cage and cheering in the stands during the games is mostly mine. I never thought America's favorite past time would hook me like this. I always went to baseball games for the hotdogs and beer. Then I went to my first Little League game--now that's exciting!
It is a family affair. Even my daughter cheers her brother on, bringing out her pom-poms and pulling up a chair as I pitch balls to Clayton every night. By the third week, I got better and stopped hitting him in the head! I learned to catch with my glove up--what a pro! When I drop the ball, I have a great fielder backing me--Lucy, the Great Dane, who retrieves the ball whenever I miss.
Always rushing to get to baseball on time, my car becomes both changing room and restaurant. You can tell our priorities: getting to school on time is a real challenge, but Clayton is never late for baseball! I found myself counting the games and sighing with disappointment that there were only three left! What would I do with all the extra hours in my week?
When Clayton got his first hit six games into the season, it brought the crowd to their feet. The score was tied and we were at the bottom of the batting order in the last inning with two outs; the pressure was on. The batter before him--WHACK!--hit the ball and got to second base. All Clayton had to do was hit the ball (a big IF because he struck out the past six games). On the first pitch he makes contact and the crowd goes wild! His slump is over and my heart beams!
One season of machine-pitch has converted me into a diehard fan. During the last game I cried, can you believe it? Not because we lost in the finals, but because the season was over and I'd grown to love the twelve boys on our team and their dedicated parents. My husband's jaw dropped when he overheard me trying to convince Clayton to play baseball instead of soccer in the Fall.
"I thought you said it was ridiculous the amount of time baseball took?!"
"Well, I've seen how it changes the boys--and it's fun!"
Humphrey Bogart said it best: "A hot dog at the ballpark is better than a steak at the Ritz."
Vicki's Top Ten Baseball Pointers for Moms:
- Don't be late--Coach makes the boys run laps for being tardy!
- For the sister who has to endure long hours at the ballpark, bring along a cute neighbor boy to entertain her. Give them five bucks for hotdogs, bubble gum and slushies from the concession stand. This keeps them occupied for at least two hours.
- Bring a spoon for the toddlers--there is always a place to dig. (Sidewalk chalk is also great entertainment.)
- When trying to hide your wine, put it in a stainless steel coffee mug, keeps it cold!
- Goo Gone takes off all the bubble gum that gets stuck to the kid's shoes.
- When you forget to wash the uniform, spray it with Febreeze so it smells good.
- When you forget to dry the uniform put it on him anyway and pray for rain.
- Tell your husband when you fill the coffee mug with wine (before he takes a sip).
- Bring small bottles of rum to add to the Coke. (This is Sherri's hint.)
- Don't plan anything from March to May, so you won't go crazy trying to re-schedule everything when the games get rained out.
Finally, a piece of advice from a great player: "Kids should practice autographing baseballs. This is a skill that's often overlooked in Little League." --Tug McGraw
© 2003 Vicki Todd and
The Rebel Housewife, LLC.
All Rights Reserved.