Friday, June 22, 2007

Wanna Have A Catch?

Saturday we were scheduled to play again at our local Field of Dreams. This is another big weekend for the league and there's been feverish work to get the park in top shape for it. We had grandparents coming and parents bringing cameras and a lineup designed to make the most of it. One of our families gave up a camping trip to be there. Slorn's parents even told us they'd skip a memorial service for his grandmother if we needed him, an offer we told them was touching but unnecessary.

Wednesday, the other coach told us his team wasn't playing. "It's been a long season," he said. "Some of our families aren't going to be there and we won't have enough to field a team."

Coach P. and I told him we'd find him some replacement players. We said we'd loan him a couple of our own, or find some from another team, whatever he needed to fill out his roster for the day. I even volunteered to buy his team lunch at the concession stand if they'd just show up.

"No thanks," he said. "We'll just forfeit. Our parents aren't going to want to go to the trouble if it's not a real game."

That's not the point. We don't keep standings in this league, there's no value in a forfeit. Our team's won some games this year and lost some. Off the top of my head, I can't even tell you what our record is. Who cares?

After using up a lot of energy not punching anybody, Coach P. and I scrambled to find a substitute team but the others already have a game that day and none of the other coaches have much interest in trying to schedule a doubleheader at this late date. It'll be a miracle if anything comes together by tomorrow.

Instead, it looks as though we'll play parents against kids. Not all of our team will be there, the one family's going camping after all, Slorn's attending the memorial, a couple of the others will probably miss it. We've got some brothers and sisters who will suit up in their own uniforms, though, and parents are bringing their gloves. A dad volunteered his wife for shortstop, something he'll pay for when she hears about it, but she's a good sport and she'll give it a shot. We'll get to use the billboard and eat concessions, and people can take pictures, and the grandparents can watch their children and grandchildren play baseball on a beautiful field in a beautiful park, just for fun, the way it should be. And I just feel sorry for a team and a coach and families who are willing to forfeit that.


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

That's a shame.

The highlight of my son's short-lived LL career was playing Helfaer Field out in front of the Brewer's stadium, a little league field built to pro ball standards.

They played one of the toughest teams, against which they never were able catch a break; turned it into a well fileded, nearly flawless pitcher's duel that we won, 1-0.

At the end of six regualtion, there was time left on the clock, so the coaches let the teams play a couple more innings, just to savor the experience.

I announced the players, too.

Anonymous said...

I'll play!