Thursday, February 21, 2008

Seventy-Two Days And Counting

Hard as it is to imagine in this bleak and cold landscape, baseball is in the air. My youngest son is in a clinic put on by a former major leaguer and once a week we make our way to the workout facility with a handful of other kids. Hitting, pitching, the theory of baseball; it's as interesting to the parents as it is to the children.

The only downside so far has been the need to buy the boy a new bat. To put it more accurately, another new bat. The guy running the clinic watched my kid swing a few times and said, "I hate to tell you this, but it's a couple inches too long."

After considering and rejecting any number of sarcastic and wildly inappropriate replies, I resigned myself to yet another expenditure. My consolation is that Coach P. found himself in the same predicament. Misery loves company. I guess that's why I hate to be alone.

It's going to be different year. P. and I are coaching together again this year. My son's best friend's dad, E., is coaching this year too, with M., the college-age sister of yet another kid from the neighborhood. So there you have it. For the first time since they started playing sports my son and his buddy are going to be on different teams. At first I thought they were going to cry but they've gotten past that to the trash talking stage.

Trash talking isn't confined to the boys, of course. E. threatens to draft a kid we're hoping to pick up. P. tells him in return we're going to draft M.'s brother. E. replies, "If you guys screw me, I'll kill you." We all laugh.

Much of this conversation takes place at the clinic while our boys are running through their drills. At one of these M.'s mother was there too, as well as the mother of the boy we hope to get. They sat next to us, talking about books and trying to ignore us until P. started a long story about a potential coach in a soundproofed panel van with a lost puppy and a pocket full of Kit-Kat bars.

"If we could pass our background checks, so could this guy," I said.

P. started giggling and so did E. and so did I and finally one of the women turned to us in disgust. "I couldn't stand boys like you in high school and you're not any better now," she said.

We snickered some more and turned back to watch the clinic. Our players, they're a year older, a year bigger, a year more coordinated, a year more serious. They're still kids, though, and when it was my son's turn in the batting cage he started to skip across the floor, stopped for a moment when he realized we were watching, then grinned and skipped the rest of the way while I thought, God, I love this game.


dbati said...

I asked my 6 year old why he doesn't skip anymore and he looked at me like I'd grown a second head. So I started skipping through the grocery store. Both boys followed. My wife hung her head. I'm 6'3" and around 230, skipping madly down the dairy aisle with two boys in tow...scared the locals something fierce. Skipping is good for you sometimes.

Snag said...

The joy factor of skipping is the sum of the number of strangers present plus the number of one's children who witness it.

Singing while doing so functions as a multiplier.

Kathleen said...

I hope you invent some good cheers.

Mr. Middlebrow said...

(Power) Skipping is poised to become the new Tae-Bo, mark my words.

fish said...

Just signed the middle one up for Kidball and summer baseball camp. Also unlike you nightmarishly landlocked and deep-frozen central states, I can still go out (well, not today) and play some ball. I got da feeva too...

Anonymous said...

It *is* a great game! I miss BK playing baseball. Don't miss the stress of watching him pitch, but miss everything else about it.

The radio here's been playing baseball songs this week. Even though it's 10 degrees outside, it just puts you in the mood.

Can't wait to watch the Indians win (lose) again this year!

Jennifer said...

Snag, you need to start the Ultimate Skipping sensation.

Kathleen said...

you can skip through the streets, while wearing one of my "the Internet told me to" t-shirts.