Sunday, April 13, 2008


The first outdoor baseball practice of the year is in a little more than an hour. It's cold, too cold to practice really, but the sun's out, we've already had to skip two and I'll be damned if I'm going to miss another one.

Coach P. feels the same way. He hurt his back last week and he's moving gingerly. When I asked his wife this morning how he was doing, she said, "He's driving me crazy. The only thing that's going to help is baseball. Get him out of here."

In the meantime, we're still finishing up the youngest's extended basketball season. He had a three-game tournament this weekend. The team's made up with the kids he played with during the regular season with the notable exception of one boy, who was the star during regular season and is playing up a grade this spring.

As a result, the team's had to play differently. Instead of relying on one guy to move the ball up the court and score, everyone needs to get involved. The coach thinks it's a better team now because of this. They're passing better, playing more solid defense, taking smarter shots. It showed this weekend.

The first game was an easy one. Thank God. It started at 8 a.m. and I don't handle stress very well that early. Granted, I don't handle it very well at any time, but as the day goes on I get better at internalizing it. Time to feed the heart attack, I think when something goes wrong in the afternoon. In the morning, though, I tend to boil over. If it's not the kids it's the newspaper. Maybe a crossword puzzle clue that I take as a personal affront. In any event, my kid was nervous about having to deal with me at that time of day, but the team won handily and I was able to spend much of the game in borderline catatonia.

The second game, now there was a nailbiter. Up, down, up again, then down again, this time by three points with thirteen seconds left. The coach tells my kid to shoot a three pointer and he lofts one, it hits the rim, circles, then skitters off. Almost, I think. He should feel good about getting that close. "Nice try!" the parents yell. The team hadn't made a three point shot all year, the coaches didn't like them to even try, and there was no reason to expect one to go in now.

Meanwhile, his teammate grabs the rebound, shovels it back to him, and he throws another one up, three seconds left, and it arcs toward the basket. We've got a bad angle and I can see it heading toward the top of the backboard, but the coaches are on the other side of the floor, they can see, and they turn and grin at each other, and I'll be damned, it hits the rim and rolls in to tie the game as the buzzer sounds and this time the parents really make some noise. I'd say our overtime victory was almost anticlimactic after that, but that would be a lie.

We played again this afternoon, for the championship. It was close, a one point game at the end, and my son made another three point shot, this one jacked up on a wing and a prayer as the halftime buzzer sounded. The officiating was lousy, some of the parents on the other team were obnoxious, and it would have been nice to win. We didn't. So it goes. There were some sad faces at the end, but the kids on the team, and their parents, are pretty levelheaded and nobody's going to lose too much sleep over it.

And for those of us who aren't levelheaded, well, this afternoon we have baseball.


fish said...

I was out there this morning, freezing to death and smiling like an idiot (the second part might not have much to do with baseball).

Jennifer said...

Sounds like a banner day for the Snag family.

And as for... a crossword puzzle clue that I take as a personal affront.

I counted 3 this morning! I HATE that!

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Were you pooping in the yard again, Fish?