There are two things my husband is passionate about.
You might think I would say that they were his wife and his children.
You’d be wrong.
Although I know he loves us, he is enthusiastically, obsessively, and maniacally passionate about westerns and baseball (and of course football, as you may have read in my previous blog Why My Husband Scares the Crap Out of Our Kids).
When I got pregnant and received confirmation from the ultrasound that we were going to have a boy, I was absolutely thrilled. I’m not usually one to make sexist assumptions about gender roles, but I couldn’t wait to see our little Jake dressed up in a cowboy costume like Woody. But more importantly, and more lasting, I couldn’t wait to see him play baseball.
I got my wish a couple of weeks ago when I signed Jake up for Toluca Baseball. He was to join a group of 11 other 4 to 6-year old boys by participating in our nation’s favorite pastime.
I envisioned Tom coaching the team, helping the boys perfect their throw, giving them tips on how to hit a ball that would sail over the shortstop’s head, and Jake’s gleaming smile as he rounded the bases and stepped on home plate.
I did not get my dream come true.
We have two boys on our team who have played in a league before. The rest are novices who had to be told the definitions of mitt and 1st base. They look forward to their snack more than a chance to bat, and they’d rather play in the dirt than play ball.
He throws the ball as if he’s aiming for a gopher two feet in front of him.
He swings the bat slowly and gently as if he is Miss America waving in a parade.
He doesn’t run after the ball. He waits for it to roll by him, then he strolls over to where it stops and pounces on it. We have to remind him to throw the ball back to us.
He runs like he’s the Six Million Dollar Man speeding 60 mph in slow motion. I honestly don’t know how he defies the laws of gravity as he floats effortlessly through the air.
Our baseball team is all this – times 10. I’ve signed up to be the team parent, which means that I’m the good cop who gets to cheer them on when they hit the ball and the bad cop who has to wrangle them when they’re off in La La Land. As such, I have compiled a list of common commands:
Don’t play in the dirt.
Quit climbing the fence.
The bat is not a weapon.
Quit chewing your mitt.
Take your finger out of his nose.
No, it’s not snack time yet.
I told you, don’t play in the dirt.
Hey! Get out of their field! Our team is over here!
Run! Run! Run like you’re chasing after the ice cream truck!
“Baseball stance” does not mean sitting on your butt.
Your mitt belongs on your hand – not your foot.
Your penis is supposed to stay inside your pants.
Don’t throw dirt!
Turn around and face the pitcher. The rest of you – face the batter.
Great hit!… No! Don’t chase after the ball! Run to 1st!
You’re bored? You can come to my house and clean my toilet if you want something to do.
Is that your phone? Where did you get it? Is that your purse?
Tag him! Tag him! Touch him with the ball! No – don’t throw the ball at him!
Hey! What’s that in your hand? Drop the dirt. Drop it. Drop it now!
It’s a bat. Not a golf club.
Quit picking the grass.
Get out of that tree!
Don’t push the runner off the base. He belongs there. You don’t.
You already had a turn. Yeah? Well, life’s not fair. You should learn that now when you’re 5 (no, I didn’t really say this. I thought of saying it though).
If I see you in the dirt again I’m going to move you.
Don’t cry. When we say “Run! Run!” we’re not yelling at you.
You’re playing right field. You don’t need a helmet.
Don’t fight over the ball!
Drop the bat. Don’t carry it to 1st.
You found it on the ground? Take it out of your mouth.
All of you! Stay out of the dirt!
We’ve got two more months before the closing ceremony. I think the Toluca Baseball commissioners are going to need to order one thing for the big occasion to make these kids happy: