You're Killin' Me Smalls

Jackson is playing baseball* for the first time since he played t-ball at age four. Back then it was adorable and exciting. Back then it didn’t matter so much about the game, but about teaching simple skills like wearing a glove, and not picking flowers, and cheering on your teammates. I remember the first time someone hit the ball and the whole team went running to it to “catch it first” and the batter was so excited he ran out to the infield to celebrate with them, rather than to going to first base. Seriously, seriously cute.

The league we are playing on isn’t a competitive, year-round, $5,000 league. Thankfully we found one sponsored by a local church where the parents say things like, “Listen, no one here is going pro.” That’s what I like to hear, because let’s be real, the chances of your kid “going pro” in any sport are the same as my kid getting accepted into MIT and me not having to pay for it, it ain’t gonna happen, and the sooner you realize that, the better the experience is for everyone involved. And trust, I’m not saying this because my kid sucks, cause he doesn’t. He seems to have a natural ability toward baseball, not like soccer, where he had to work at it, and work at it, each season to get just a little bit better. We’ve been practicing in the backyard to get ready for this season for about three weeks now and he’s pleasantly surprised us. He isn’t gonna be the best kid on the team, but he might actually make some good, solid plays this season, and we are excited to see what he does.

All this talk about baseball has brought up all the memories for Jerimiah and me. We didn’t realize how excited we would be when/if Jackson ever decided to play, but we are WAY excited. Remember how I said we’ve been practicing for weeks now. Yeah, we didn’t do that for soccer. He never wanted to, and we never wanted to, and we were like, “ehh.” We like to watch soccer, but not play it. Meanwhile, he’s been running in from school asking to “hit a few balls” in the backyard and I’m super pumped about it.

That’s when Jerimiah and I started to share stories of our baseball/softball days and we blew his mind with how much we played. I even have an old scrapbook filled with pictures, and newspaper clippings from when I was a kid (thanks to my mom for clipping them out each game, and underlining my name, and our coaches for actually writing them up and submitting them for girls’ league softball). For real, we had the best coaches and parents (including my best friend’s dad and sister, who pretty much rocked, even though they made LeeAnne and me run laps when we were messing around). Check this out:

Oh trust, there are more of this bad boys, for several years, this was just the first season I played. But we won’t share them now. They deserve their very own post with accompanying pics.

So this is our first week of Robotics, Honor Band Practice, Baseball Practice, then bed. Our nights are as full as they can get right now, but Jackson is learning some valuable lessons. Sure, he’s learning to square up home plate and “elbows up,” but he also learning about time management, that practice makes progress, and that there are some things you just can’t half-ass. In short, it’s the stuff he’s learning off the field that will pay in dividends. But isn’t that how it usually goes.

Good luck this season to the Braves (Jackson’s team, not the Atlanta Braves, though I guess good luck to them too!) We can’t wait to see how proud you are of yourselves!

M.

*Edit: I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago and then forgot about it when shit hit the fan. I wrote it back when life still felt “normal-ish” and I was optimistic that there would be a baseball season. Turns out the baseball season follows the school calendar, so the chances of us playing this year are slim, but Jackson still likes to practice in the backyard, and for that I am grateful. I still wanted to share this story though, for the reason I write most of this shit, for posterity. But for real, stay in your home, don’t go play baseball with the neighborhood kids.

Sports Nutsomuch

My husband has a couple of t-shirts in his rotation that make me cringe. Not because they are old, torn, raggedy shirts, but rather because they are nice t-shirts of the “athletic team” variety. He has, for example, a lovely NY Mets shirt that he wears on occasion for both its comfort and its convenient three-quarter sleeve. He bought it at Macy’s. Yes, that Macy’s. The one on Herald Square. The biggest, most beautiful Macy’s there is. He bought it in late March, when their Spring Flower Show was astounding travelers with giant tulips, and wreaths made of daffodils and gold. He bought it on a trip that he and I took together. A child-less getaway. My first time at that Macy’s. He bought it because we were in NYC. Because he likes blue. And because it was on sale. He did not buy it because he is a Mets fan. Therein lies the cringeworthy problem.

I hate watching him explain to unsuspecting Mets fans that he is in fact not a fan. Not that he hates the Mets. Oh contraire, he just doesn’t keep up with baseball, or well any sport for that matter. He doesn’t watch college basketball, and couldn’t (on most days) tell you anything about any football team, even his beloved Green Bay Packers. He doesn’t watch football on Sundays. He used to. Then we had a baby, and well, Sundays are family days now, not football days.

I have a husband who pretends to be a sports fan, and I am okay with that. Sometimes he pretends for my sake. I am a college basketball fan. And he will watch a game with me if I flip the television on and say, KU is beating North Carolina. He mainly likes to watch my reactions. #FuckUNC

He will take me to baseball games. He does like actually going to baseball games. We both like the experience of being in the stadium, cheering on the home team, wherever we are, and eating nachos and drinking $10 beer. Same with NBA games. Our favorite thing to do on a cold Thursday in Charlotte was to grab tickets to a Hornets game. What fun!

We’ve been to NFL games and other “big” sporting events. I bought him Chiefs v. Packers tickets the last time that Brett Favre played in Arrowhead as a Packer. We’ve had second row seats to the Panthers beating the Saints. His brother took him to the World Series the year the St. Louis Cards beat the Rangers. It was all very cool, even to a non-sports watching guy. But if given the choice, he’d just rather catch the highlights when people talk about it the next day.

My husband doesn’t know who was picked in the draft.

He doesn’t know who has an elbow problem, or who is benched this week.

He doesn’t know that “big” play, unless it was replayed ad nauseam, or someone shared it on Facebook, or it was mentioned in one of his podcasts.

But sometimes, when we are out in public and he has his Chicago White Sox hat on, the one I bought him in Chicago because I just knew he would love the retro look of it, and someone walks up to him and says, “Oh the Sox, huh?” He will smile politely and say, “Yeah”. And I will cringe because I know what is coming. The person, usually a man, says something about how the Sox are playing. My husband shakes his head in agreement. Pretends, for the other man’s sake, to care. They might say, “Well did you see that Fry was pulled early last night?” or “Herrera, man. Am I right?” My husband just nods and says, “Yeah, absolutely.” Cringe.

I want to shout out at the man, “He has no idea what you are talking about! He doesn’t watch sports! We don’t have cable! He’s hasn’t seen the Sports Center Highlights reel!” Instead I smile politely, and take my husband’s elbow and lead him away.

Listen, I’m married to the kinda guy who would rather be out there playing baseball in the backyard with his wife and kid. He’d rather play a game of pick-up basketball in our driveway (wherein I beat the pants off him, oh Baby Jesus he sucks at basketball) or playing catch in the backyard, than say, watching a football game. He’d rather play a board game on a rainy Sunday than get wrapped up in grown men in helmets hitting each other. He’d rather watch our son, out in the soccer field, all suited up, picking dandelions when he should be watching for the ball. I’m married to a non-sports nut, and I am okay with that. I just wish he’d pick some different t-shirts.

M.

PS… #GoRoyals