Thursday, June 12, 2008


In the fifth inning, one of our players crushed a long line drive to left field, the hardest ball he's hit all season. The opposing team's left fielder was staring somewhat blankly into space when the ball accidentally landed in his glove for the third out. Shaking himself out of a stupor, he stumbled toward his dugout. His teammates met him halfway, cheering for him, along with the other parents from his team.

After the game we talked to his coach.

"Nice kid," he said. "Not so good though. Hasn't had a hit all year and isn't doing much better in the field."

"That was cool the way your team cheered for him when he made that catch," said Coach P.

"Thanks," said the other coach. "I really try to get the boys to pull for each other."

"The sign of a good team," I told him. "On our team, we try to make the kids cry."

No success at that tonight, not for lack of trying. At one point one of the players told me he wished he had a Gatorade.

"Here's what you need to do," I told him. "Get a job. Make some money. Pay your taxes. Then, with the money you have left, you can buy something to drink."

"Why do I have to pay taxes?" he asked.

"Because if you don't you'll go to prison. They don't sell Gatorade there. It's not just taxes, though. It's also FICA and Medicare."

"What are you talking about?" he asked me.

"Here, come with me," I said, gesturing to him and another kid who was sitting out the inning. "We'll go talk to W.'s dad. He's a tax attorney."

"He's a tax collector? Why do I want to talk to him?"

"No, a tax attorney. He'll protect you from the tax collectors. We can figure out how much you should budget for your quarterly estimated taxes."

One of the boy's parents was listening in. He smirked and walked away as his son gaped at me. I threw a sunflower seed at him and returned to watching the game, just in time to see one of our players hit a triple. When he scored on the next play he sort of dragged himself into the dugout.

"What's wrong?" asked Coach P.

"That's my third triple this year," said the boy. "I really want to hit a double. I don't have one of those yet."

A few pitches later his younger brother hit a double.

"You know what my favorite hit in baseball is?" I said to Coach P. as the older brother listened.

"What's that, Coach Snag?"

"A double. It's so much prettier than a stupid old triple. Anybody can hit one of those."

"No kidding," piped in his father. "Doubles are the mark of a really good ballplayer."

The boy pretended to ignore us. We started throwing sunflower seeds at him and kept it up until his younger brother scored from second.

"That was a great double," said Coach P., slapping the kid's hand as he returned to the dugout. "We're all really proud of you."

The older brother rolled his eyes. We threw some more sunflower seeds.

Soon enough the game ended. We gathered along third base for snacks and our usual debriefing.

"Great game tonight," said Coach P. "Everyone get their hands in and we'll do our cheer. This time, follow me."

The team crowded around, hands jammed into the middle.

"On three," Coach P. said. "One, two, three. Doubles rule!"

"Doubles rule!" the players screamed as we threw a few last seeds at the older brother, who, even though he didn't want to, started laughing along with his mom and dad and teammates and their parents and all the rest of us.


Adorable Girlfriend said...

What are your chances for winning the state tournament with a record like this?