The mighty blanket of grey clouds that seems to have been hanging in the sky, unbroken, around here since at least 1983 parted yesterday, and sunlight, glorious sunlight, poured down upon us. I wish I could add that it warmed our faces and hearts, but unfortunately, weather is a harsh mistress around here and she doesn’t give you two nice things at a time. So it was chilly, instead, but even with a crisp nip in the air, I’ll take the sun.
Especially because it meant that the older boys finally got to start playing baseball.
Yep, the Puddinpop and Mini-me took to the “ballfield” yesterday with the rest of their new teammates (and by ballfield, I actually mean parking lot because all the actual baseball fields in the area largely still resemble rice paddies). They had a tremendous time tossing with the other kids, learning to swing a bat, and all the other assorted things a kid does when he first starts playing little league baseball.
Unfortunately, I won’t be much use to my older sons in this endeavor; I’m not the dad who’s going to be the coach’s right-hand guy. I won’t be the first base coach when my kids’ team bats, I won’t be consulted about which little tyke would be best at what position, and I won’t be showing the kids the proper way to put Big League Chew in their mouths.
Well, I guess maybe I could do that one.
By and large, though, I will be about as useful to the team as a foot full of pinky toes. Why is that, you ask?
Well, the truth is…umm…are you sitting down?…well…I never played organized baseball (gasp!) as a kid. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been pitched to by a living person with a bat in my hand. The fact is that when I was kid and it came to playing organized sports, well, I could build a damned fine Lego spaceship.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Dear Lord, Puddin, that’s awful! Every kid has to play baseball! Surviving 5-hour knothole games is the meat-grinder through which they find baseball players for the Majors! Hey, wait, you a communist or something? Get the torches and pitchforks, Edith, we got us a baseball-hatin’ pinko commie here!
For the record, I’m not a communist and I truly, deeply love baseball. In fact, I’ve written of my Reds’ fandom several times. And lest anyone feel compelled to blame my parents for my lack of personal experience with the erstwhile Great American Pastime, believe me when I tell you that it’s not their fault. My older brother played knothole, and I think my younger might have as well at some point. So why didn’t I? Well, I remember the day the summer sign-up sheet came home from school. I recall clearly looking at it and thinking, “sure, I’ll play baseball; all my friends are playing.” So I took my sign-up form to Mom and asked if I could play. She pondered it for a few moments and then asked me if I was sure I wanted to play.
I know it seems an odd question to ask a kid with a sign-up form in hand, but in her defense, she was likely thinking that my interest in organized sports was probably somewhat lacking in general. She did, after all, have the Fall of Third Grade YMCA Soccer experience to use as reference. As for that, I’ll simply say that those goal posts weren’t going to hold themselves up. If I hadn’t leaned against them the whole game while looking idly off into the distance, the whole goal could have fallen. See, I was providing a valuable service to all my fellow teammates.
It never occurred to me that there are no goal posts to hold up in baseball, but luckily it didn’t matter. By the time the question left her mouth, my brain had already begun plotting the resurgence of Cobra Commander and how he was going to crush that meddlesome team of G.I. Joes beneath his shiny, black boot heel with the help of his brand new Cobra Earth Destruction Ship (which would ironically look like it was built from Lego blocks).
So, of course, with all that running through my head, by the time she actually asked me if I was sure I wanted to play, I could only give her a puzzled looked and reply, “sure if I want to play what?”
And thus, the briefly open door of opportunity for a career in baseball was shut and sealed tightly.
Nonetheless, I’m ecstatic that the boys had a good time last night. Boy do I hope the coach is good at his job, though, because the most I can teach my kids about hitting something with a bat includes pretending it’s a lightsaber.
Let’s play ball!