Cratering

A half-stack doesn't fit in the trunk.

wordpress visitor

Cratering

a half-stack doesn't fit in the trunk
Kid most likely to come home inked.

Kid most likely to come home inked.

Parenting.

Parenting.

Last youth baseball post for the year, and very possibly forever, I promise. This was from just 12 days ago, when the game was still fun for him. Something changed not long after this…I’m not sure what. I will probably never know how “favorite sport” became “anxiety trigger.”
I’m going to work to forget the last few days, and instead strive to remember him watching this double sail down the left field line.
[pic via my father-in-law]

Last youth baseball post for the year, and very possibly forever, I promise. This was from just 12 days ago, when the game was still fun for him. Something changed not long after this…I’m not sure what. I will probably never know how “favorite sport” became “anxiety trigger.”

I’m going to work to forget the last few days, and instead strive to remember him watching this double sail down the left field line.

[pic via my father-in-law]

Another season draws to a close with a really dramatic 14-10 loss in 8 innings. (A regulation game is 6.) Key play: in the bottom of the 6th with two outs, the score tied, and Cam on first, Mike hit a rocket to left. We sent Cam around to score for the win, but their LF and SS made perfect throws and the catcher put the tag on him to end the inning. We coaches are absolutely torturing ourselves over it. Pearse was up next and has been killing the ball all year. I mean, on the one hand, everything had to go just right for them to nail Cam, and there were 2 outs. On the other hand, Cam isn’t super fleet of foot and a great hitter was up next. If we had it to do over again, we’d have held him. That took a lot of wind out of the kids’ sails; we didn’t hit the ball again after that. 
All the tears. All of them.
Danny tonight was 2-3 with a walk and a run scored. That’s about typical for him this season; he was probably the best OBP guy on the team. The stress of the game got to him, though, and there were some really painful moments as we neared the end and the pressure mounted. It was a hard, hard night for everyone involved. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to some relief that it’s over.
Once again, though, we were lucky and had eleven really great boys of high character. There was no trash talking and no cliques. They supported each other. They worked hard and (mostly) listened to us. I’d like to think they’re all better ball players now than they were when we got them in early April. Many of their parents said as much, which was gratifying.
(Yes, baseball nerds, I realize this isn’t standard scoring. You try keeping a clean book under those circumstances.)

Another season draws to a close with a really dramatic 14-10 loss in 8 innings. (A regulation game is 6.) Key play: in the bottom of the 6th with two outs, the score tied, and Cam on first, Mike hit a rocket to left. We sent Cam around to score for the win, but their LF and SS made perfect throws and the catcher put the tag on him to end the inning. We coaches are absolutely torturing ourselves over it. Pearse was up next and has been killing the ball all year. I mean, on the one hand, everything had to go just right for them to nail Cam, and there were 2 outs. On the other hand, Cam isn’t super fleet of foot and a great hitter was up next. If we had it to do over again, we’d have held him. That took a lot of wind out of the kids’ sails; we didn’t hit the ball again after that. 

All the tears. All of them.

Danny tonight was 2-3 with a walk and a run scored. That’s about typical for him this season; he was probably the best OBP guy on the team. The stress of the game got to him, though, and there were some really painful moments as we neared the end and the pressure mounted. It was a hard, hard night for everyone involved. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to some relief that it’s over.

Once again, though, we were lucky and had eleven really great boys of high character. There was no trash talking and no cliques. They supported each other. They worked hard and (mostly) listened to us. I’d like to think they’re all better ball players now than they were when we got them in early April. Many of their parents said as much, which was gratifying.

(Yes, baseball nerds, I realize this isn’t standard scoring. You try keeping a clean book under those circumstances.)

Side benefit of Robin as houseguest: she brings cute stuff for your kids to make.

Side benefit of Robin as houseguest: she brings cute stuff for your kids to make.

Best part: we are at this amazing celebration, eating ALL the food and getting day drunk, and my aunt put these two to work. BAHAHAHA!

Best part: we are at this amazing celebration, eating ALL the food and getting day drunk, and my aunt put these two to work. BAHAHAHA!

FYI, the funniest thing in the world to a 10-year-old boy is a sequence of pics showing him drilling some other kid in the nuts from point-blank range.

FYI, the funniest thing in the world to a 10-year-old boy is a sequence of pics showing him drilling some other kid in the nuts from point-blank range.

Fave sportsball pic so far this year.

Fave sportsball pic so far this year.

Vacation was great. So’s this.

Vacation was great. So’s this.

Raking.

Raking.

While I was out #chsh-ing last night, Danny and his buds were minecrafting on the private server I set up for them. They don’t know I can see their chat logs, and I’m not going to tell them because this entertains me so.
*those timestamps are GMT—they weren’t really up at 1:30

While I was out #chsh-ing last night, Danny and his buds were minecrafting on the private server I set up for them. They don’t know I can see their chat logs, and I’m not going to tell them because this entertains me so.

*those timestamps are GMT—they weren’t really up at 1:30

It tests you

David, a third grader who is playing in his second baseball game ever, steps to the plate to face Luca, an athletic fourth grader who has been playing since little sluggers tee ball.

The game moves really, really fast for the learners. We have a couple of them. The rules are complex: where do I throw it? Should I run to third on a grounder to the left side with less than two outs? Which way is left field? And the mechanics are just ridiculously hard. As has been observed a million times, the greatest hitters ever fail nearly 70% of the time.

David somehow manages to get his bat out over the plate at the right moment, and thanks to the physics of inelastic collisions, the hard thrown ball bounds off of it and over the first baseman’s head, rolling to a stop just down the line in that space where it’s gonna take a while for anyone to get there. David’s on his way to second when the throw goes into left field. When he gets to third, that kid kicks it to the fence. David makes it home and slides awkwardly (for no reason—there was no play). Lots of little league there.

The kids in our dugout go NUTS. It’s a nice bunch, again. Supportive, attentive, respectful of the game and each other and the harried adults who are trying to wrangle them. They all know it’s a BIG DEAL that David got a home run. (Single with three errors? That’s not how I scored it.) David’s beaming. 

But as we look back out to the field, the coaches from the other team are talking to the umpire about something. They instruct Luca to step off the rubber and throw the ball to the first baseman, who touches the base. “HE’S OUT!” calls the umpire. In the thrill of the moment, David had forgotten to touch first base. The game moves really, really fast. David’s too confused to be crushed, but his older teammates know what happened and we do our best to shore them all up. Still some game to play.

In the next half inning—the bottom of the sixth, the end of the game—David’s playing third, we’re nursing a 1-run lead, and it’s the heart of the other team’s lineup. Our soft-tossing pitcher coaxes an ill-timed swing from one of their bruisers and he pops it up to the left side. David, undaunted, steps over and catches the ball. Calmly, easily, like he does this every day when in fact he’s never done it before in his life. It’s the critical out of the inning. From there, we hold the lead. He gets one of the game balls.

He passed that test. There’s another one for him and all the rest of them on Tuesday.

Left on my desk. Not sure what she’s trying to say.

Left on my desk. Not sure what she’s trying to say.

Spring may actually be here.

Spring may actually be here.

First Practice

Indoors, of course, because this is the land the sun forgot and there’s still a foot of ice everywhere.

I threw grounders and pop-ups for over an hour; my forearm and elbow ache. I also got hit square on the top of the head with an errant pitch from a fourth-grader. Head’s OK, but the arm’ll kill tomorrow.

I hurt. And it is awesome.