Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The Tee-Ball Chronicles #9: Parental Advisory
The A's CRUSHED the Rays last Saturday – almost literally. In the second inning, one of our kids drilled a screaming liner up the middle that missed the second baseman's face by mere inches. For the rest of the game, the second baseman sat down while playing defense. None of his coaches seemed to think this was unusual…or considered the fact that he's even LESS likely to get out of the way of a ball careening towards his cranium while on his ass.
This season has really opened my eyes to parental involvement. In our first game, we played against a team coached by the patron saint of youth sports. He was enthusiastic without being condescending; encouraging yet constructively critical. More importantly, he seemed to "get it". These games are an hour long. This is a sport that doesn't have the inherent frenetic energy of football (or even fútbol). The adults have to care otherwise the kids sure as hell won't.
But, parents can care too much…
This week, the scorn of the tee-ball moms – whose wrath is a thousand times worse than the Yankee Wives – was reserved for two parents. Even from the dugout, I knew I'd be hearing an earful about both incidents from Mrs. Bootleg after the game.
I told y'all about Andrew last week. I also told y'all about Andrew's dad. Apparently, the current 3:1 ratio of players-to-coaches is tilted a bit too much towards the kids for his dad's liking. This past Saturday, he followed his son out on to the field and commenced with some unsolicited assistant coaching from three feet away. This grown man eclipsed an entire infield of four and five-year-olds, even boxing out my son to field a grounder which he handed to his own kid.
This was one of those shockingly ballsy moments that one never knows quite how to react towards. The remaining sane adults in attendance initially looked at each other with incredulity and then – silently AND simultaneously – we agreed to ignore him and avoid embarrassing his son any further.
Not surprisingly, our only player who was upset over this was Jalen. Andrew's dad learned two valuable lessons: (1) Don't get between Jalen and a groundball. (2) Don't upset Jalen…in front of Mrs. Bootleg. My wife swears up and down that she "wasn't really involved", but unnamed sources told me later that she had some…"persuasive" words with Andrew's mom after that half-inning. The next inning, Andrew took the field by himself. I mean, I was gonna say something…
The second parent run-in involved one of the moms from the other team. Now, for the record, I chatted with this woman a little bit during the game. I found her to be both personable and delightful. And, I'd be saying this if she wasn't wearing denim miniskirt, heels and a halter top that she must've mistakenly bought two sizes too small.
If I didn't know better, I'd say she was actually trolling for men…at a tee-ball game. Put it this way: Mrs. Bootleg loves her son as much as any mother could and even she doesn't effusively jump up and down – cleavage heaving – when Jalen makes contact. This opposing mom spent the hour in various angular states of "bent over" with her hands on her knees – intensely following the action, I'll wager – or sitting on a beach towel, knees up, as the color of her panties was no longer in dispute.
Watching all the dads in attendance pretend to ignore that…that jezebel was all kinds of comedy. Watching all the moms in attendance fold their arms while pursing their lips and squinting their eyes – especially the Rays' mom who get her act every week, it seems – was even funnier. As for me, I was too busy coaching to notice. After all, I'm entrusted with nine kids for 60 minutes each week. That's a responsibility I can't afford to ignore even for a moment.
They were red.