This year the husband was recruited to coach J’s Tee-ball team. He agreed with great enthusiasm. The Guy In Charge, however, made the unilateral decision to move J from the Tee-ball team up a level to “coach pitch”.
I assume this change occurred because of my child’s pronounced aptitude – nay, prowess for the sport, but this change put the husband in the unenviable position of playing team pitcher as well as coach. My first thought was that a full grown man really ought to be able to, not only, pull his weight on a team full of first and second graders, but also to beat those little shits into the ground with a skill set full of coordination and motor skills that they will not acquire for years, and then take a victory lap around their tiny bases with his VIP trophy. I mean, these are little kids. Some of them still aren’t 100% on what a ball is.
The husband was not as psyched. He pointed out that although he, an adult, will be the team pitcher, so will all the other grown-up coaches and it’s probable that they will all be better at it than he is.
He had a valid point.
After two very educational, informative and short practices, the kids
ran out of time were ready to take the field.
I dressed for the weather, which was supposed to be nice. In fact, I spent two hours digging around for my (extensive) collection of flip flops because during the great washer replacement of ’14 the husband moved them. He put them somewhere safe.
I never found them, but I did find two that sort of looked alike and called it close enough. At least I had both a right and a left. I’d have settled for less. I told all the other Moms they came from that store that sells mismatching socks (because I’m trendy). They did not appear to believe me.
I set up camping chairs for K and myself behind the batters box, where I could see J on the field as well as the bench. I don’t know why they even have a bench. J’s tiny ass might graze it once when he’s tired towards the end of the game, but otherwise he spends his bench time, along with the rest of the team, in orbit around the bench, climbing the fence, or over by the batting cage, where the three kids next up swing metal bats freely in an enclosed area.
It’s beginning to get cold.
J’s team is at home, so they’re out in the field first. Now that J plays Little League instead of Tee-Ball, a new position has been added to the line-up.
Catcher is, by far, the shittiest position in Little League. The poor wretched soul chosen as “catcher” is dressed in all the trappings of an adult catcher, but has neither the motor skills necessary to do the job nor a willingness to catch the ball. The padding and helmet are heavy, which, on the upside, reminds the doomed child to squat, but the catchers mask is too large for most of them to see or hear while it rests upon their tiny heads. So they sit there, completely mute, with their gloves stuck out in front of them and positively no idea what’s happening.
Consequently, Madison, the little girl playing catcher today, is beaten like a rented mule. Every pitch just kind of bonks off her little body and falls sadly to the ground, whereupon we all watch while she scrambles around, twisting the mask this way and that in a vain attempt to lay eyes on the elusive ball.
J is stationed deep out in right field, diligently picking his nose. I assume that’s why he is stationed deep out in right field.
During the second inning, it gets windy. By the time J’s team is up again, K and I are huddled together for warmth. I begin to regret seriously my choice of mismatched flip-flops.
A bug flies up my nose. It does not come out.
As with all of J’s games, immediately preceding the first (and therefore most important) time that my son has his turn at bat, K announces that she has to pee, can absolutely not wait until we get home, and we better go now… Or else. Our only option is The Port-a-Potty.
A place so foul, so disgusting, so utterly loathsome that it could, and maybe has been, weaponized by the government. It’s covered top to bottom in gonorrhea, so K is understandably excited to smear her bare flesh all over it’s filthy surfaces. I wonder if the CDC knows about this place. There is no TP. There is no soap or hand sanitizer. There is no light, so I have to use one of my flip flops to hold the door (a “door” only in the very loosest sense of the word, it’s more like a thin plastic petri dish) open.
Her pants are down in a flash, and I catch her just before she climbs onto the repellant blue and brown hole head first. I spy something moving in a dark corner and pray for a swift and painless death.
I wonder, just for a moment, what I’d do if she fell in, but the thought is gone as quickly as it enters my mind. I’m a mother, I’ll do what I have to.
I’ve got another one to take care of me in my old age. She’s on her own.
I lift her onto the pot. Immediately she touches everything moist within her reach and tries to stick her hands in her mouth.
I snort the bug further up my nose. Whatever, it’s the least of my problems now.
Hopefully, the dirt and sand K has ground into her hands from running around the playground before the game will somehow decontaminate whatever nightmare port a potty disease is waiting to infect us all.
In situations like these I find it’s best to make up your own science.
K and I get back to the camp chairs and J’s team is up at bat again. The husband is pitching. K marvels at how many bugs are flying around my head. The husband throws a super shitty pitch.
My jaw drops. Everything moves in slow motion.
The ball is headed directly for the cranium of Sydney, the smallest of all the small children on J’s team. The husband is gesturing wildly and yelling:
“Mmmooooovvve” (in that really deep slow-mo voice)
The child stares back at him blankly, wondering; I’m sure, just what in all hell these new antics could be.
I have just enough time to wonder whether the team is required to sign a legal waiver before the baseball collides with her cheek. Spit flies from her tiny mouth as her head twists slowly towards me from the force of impact. The other team’s catcher sits there with his glove out, completely unaware of the goings-on.
The husband takes off running (in slo-mo, of course – Chariots of Fire should have been playing in the background) for the batters box. The parents (except me because I’m a horrible person- I’d have a box of popcorn on my lap if I’d thought to bring it) turn away in horror, and Sydney just stands there for a moment looking shocked. Then, she lets out a scream so shrill that only dogs can hear, because we most certainly can not. All hands on deck.
They do sign waivers, don’t they?
Sydney is benched and iced. At least we don’t have to worry about keeping the ice cold. It’s so cold we could have just sat her down in the wind. The official ruling is “accidental boo-boo” and the game goes on. No reconstructive surgery, no foul.
J’s team is in the field again. The batters on the opposing team are continually hitting pop fly’s. All of our little fielders have the best of intentions – they get under the ball, they call it. They wait for it with their little gloves open… And then… when the ball gets to be 20… 10 feet away, they cringe, cover their heads with their gloves and run away. It’s like a really cold Monty Python skit.
On the whole, this strategy seems to be prolonging our game. I start to think about burning my flip flops for warmth.
Finally, we make it to the bottom of the sixth. My ass is frozen to the camp chair, and I’ve done away with my flip flops in favor of extra baseball gloves on my frostbitten feet. The little fat kid (Oh come on– all teams have one) is up to bat. The husband throws the pitch. Everything seems okay; I see no bloodshed in our immediate future. The little fat kid gets ready to swing but checks it instead.
It’s a one in a million shot.
The ball hit the bat and careens directly into little fat kid’s eye.
Little fat kid drops to his fat little knees and starts to cry.
We are so getting sued.
In case you needed another reason, this is why all the other Moms hate me:
When the ball hit the little fat kid in the eye, I snort laughed. I couldn’t stop it – it was snort laughed out into the atmosphere before I had time to mask my amusement. I understand that I’m a terrible person, I live with it, but I do my best to try and conceal it from all the other moms (most of whom are snort-laughing on the inside).
Little fat kid should have a nice shiner by morning and, mercifully, the next kid struck out and ended the game. It was a miserable loss for my son’s team (not that we keep score). Little fat kid was soon placated by what was already looking to be a glorious battle scar and the after game snack; little chocolate donuts and “juice” (which may or may not contain actual juice) pouches.
What I learned today is that little chocolate donuts cover a multitude of sins. All the children were happy. Madison, pummeled by the ball for the whole game was smiling and chasing her teammates despite her bruised and broken little body. Sydney, even with tears and the ice pack frozen solid to her tiny face, was smiling as she received her little chocolate donuts. J ate his snack and then pushed the car home (with us inside) and slept very well. Even K got a package, and happily crunched away on the dirt, sand, and diphtheria deposited upon her little chocolate donuts by her revolting port-a-potty hands (before I could get over to her and take them away. Tears. Lots of tears).
On to the first away game!