from Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories
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Janelle Meraz Hooper
T-ball season is over, and a good time was had by all. Of course, the spring weather was awful—isn’t it always? The grownups sat huddled in their folding chairs hugging their thermal coffee cups and urged their young players to run out on the field and roll around in the wet grass and the muck and have fun. When it actually rained, the adults brought out the umbrellas—not for the little players—for themselves. After all, wouldn’t want to get those camcorders wet, would we? No siree, Grandma and Grandpa back in Wisconsin had to see this!
We were into our second season, and the parents and grandparents could see a lot of progress in our girls’ and boys’ approach to the game. For instance, the first season, our little leaguers spent more time following the snack lady than the ball. You’d think the little rookies had never seen treats before.
This year, they were way cooler. As each player arrived, he’d saunter over to an earlier arrival and quietly ask if the snack mom arrived yet. When a player pointed out a mom with a big white plastic bag at her feet, you could hear a sigh of relief from the T-baller. Then, the player would carefully scan the Mom and the bag. Was the bag big enough? Could someone else’s mom be trusted to bring enough snacks for everybody? Surely, they didn’t have any mothers who couldn’t count?
Their mind at ease on the snack situation, they moved over to hear the coach’s instructions. “No dog-piling!” he pleaded. The team broke into a chant, “No dog-piles! No dog-piles!”
Actually, I was relieved to see some dog-piles. The first year, the T-ball would run through a tiny outfielder’s legs on its way to the alley and they’d never notice—their eyes would be on the snack bag.
This year, the same kids jumped on the ball rolling down the middle of the field like it was the last candy bar on earth. Sometimes, kids playing in other games on the multi-purpose field broke position in their own game to run over and jump on a ball in our game. Now that’s progress.
Yep. The season is over. The baseball pants and tee shirt have been washed and put away until next season—when they’ll undoubtedly be too small—the camcorder has been dried off, and the official baseball pictures have arrived in my mail.
At the beginning of the season I wrote a commentary that said organized ball was a lackluster substitute for a pick-up game in a makeshift field. I was wrong. Baseball is baseball.
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