Sunday, May 2, 2010

Please, Don't Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Let me just preface this with my usual disclaimer:

I know I am a Slacker Mom.  
If you are looking for parenting advice or laundry tips, 
you'll need to keep on Googling.

Fortunately, my kids love me just as I am, and really, it's all between them and me, no?  (Oh, unless I write it all in a blog.)  That said, I really try to discourage my offspring from doing too much stuff.  I was a latchkey kid who grew up in a house on a lake nine miles out of town with full-time working parents.  We did not participate in after school activities, we didn't take classes, and we spent our summers generally alone, but on a lake, so no complaints there.  My idea of a perfect day consisted of two ideals, and was divided by the temperature:
  1. Temp is under 90 degrees, sit on the beach or on the deck drinking Kool-Aid and reading a book; or,
  2. Temp is over 90 degrees, sit inside the house drinking Kool-Aid and reading a book.
Oldest Daughter is in dance and plays cello, but not due to any great encouragement from me.  I support dance because it will help her be more coordinated than I, and I get to sit in Panera's for 45 minutes and read or write.  She's played cello for four years, and seems to like it, and it seems like a good way to prevent pregnancy, because what high school boy wants to nail the cellist?  It's a win-win.

Youngest Daughter is in dance, which is conveniently scheduled during OD's class.  Oh, you don't want to take German Clog Dancing?  Well, sorry honey, but they don't offer ballet from 6-7 on Wednesday night.  I heard Taylor Swift is using clog dancers in her next video.

Middle Son...he wants to be in EVERYTHING.  We've come to the point where we tell our friends, neighbors and his teacher not to tell him about any extracirriculars.  At the moment, he is doing the following school and after school activities:  Safety Patrol, Student Council, Cello, Piano, and Baseball.  This summer he is dropping piano, but adding swimming and starting a lawn mowing business on top of his can collecting business (don't ask).  Next fall, he'll be done with baseball, and will start tackle football, and is begging to be back in piano.  He also wants to do all of the intramural sports at the school, and would like to be on a Lego Robotics team.  Oh, the don't have one?  Let's form one!

I've studiously avoided baseball and soccer for a very good reason:  They have the longest seasons and require more than one practice a week.  The Son hadn't been in baseball since 4-year-old T-Ball, which we told him was as far as he could go in baseball.  Then he learned that boys his age play, and he asked to be on a team during the winter, while he was in his second session of YMCA basketball.

SON:  "I heard there is a good baseball league over the summer."
ME:  "I think that is only open to middle schoolers."
SON:  "No, I looked it up online and sent a link to you.  It's for 10-year-olds."
ME:  "I heard three kids got hit in the head with baseballs last year.  Never played piano again."
SON:  "No, they have protective gear."
ME:  "Well you'll have to pay for it, and I've heard it's about $5000 in fees and equipment."
SON:  "I have $5500 in the bank from the cans, the cash is on your dresser."
ME:  "I don't want to drive around all the time."
SON:  "I bought you a Starbucks gift card, a folding chair, and a new iPod."

And so we are in baseball.  We've been to three two-hour practices a week for the past month, and today was a scrimmage scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m.  Since The Son has diligently sat in the audience for various piano, cello and dance recitals for the girls, we told them they needed to come and support their brother.  OD agreed if she could bring her phone and get ice cream afterward, YD agreed when she found out there was a big playground by the ball field.  OD wore a tight t-shirt, jean shorts, Kanye West sunglasses and a slight scowl.  YD wore a flowergirl dress that was two sizes too small and flip flops.  We left the safety of our home and loaded up en masse in the rolling White Trash Mobile Unit.

When we pulled up they were handing out the new jerseys, and The Son's face was the picture of joy.  He proudly donned his purple jersey and socks and cap and stood by the dugout, practicing his swing with the other 10-year-old boys, and I swear to God he looked so flippin' sweet I wanted to sop him up with a biscuit.  And then I thought about that little vixen who is going to break his heart for the first time and I vowed to never let myself become attached to any of the girlfriends.  She's out there, the Vixen - be warned, little girl!  I have your number!  Where was I?  Oh, so cute in the little baseball pants that were white on every other boy but oddly had stained knees on my son.  I really need to sign up for that Laundry class at the local community college.

The game was almost ready to begin when I stopped gazing adoringly at my son and began to notice some things in the bleachers:
  1. Two of the women from Real Housewives of New Jersey were somehow plunked in folding chairs behind home plate.  They had matching dark roots/orange highlights with the old Kate Gosselin/Posh Spice haircut, huge designer sunglasses, bright dark blood lipstick, dozens of gold bracelets/hoop earrings/necklaces, and animal print outfits.  (Note to self - a little animal print goes a LOOOONNG way.)  They spoke loudly about their pedicures, how crappy the other team is, and donuts.
  2. No less than FIVE people brought their dogs.  To a baseball game.  Because the dog thought to itself, "Hey, I want to sit in the dirt and full sun on a retractable lead and have someone yell "SIT" at me for two hours."  I'm thinking the dog would rather be at home licking its balls on Mommy's favorite couch after going through the garbage, but maybe that's just George the Superpet.  
  3. People really love to outdo each other in the folding chair department.  I saw chairs with cup holders, side tables, umbrellas, MP3 players, hydraulics, GPS systems, and Playstations.  I saw chairs in canvas, nylon, suede, leather, actual cheetah hides, and color-coordinated with their highlights and pedicures.  I sat on the bleachers, old school, earning every bruise on my sciatic nerve.
  4. Mothers love to yell their child's name in encouraging ways, and flinch when the ball or bat comes within a foot of their kid.  Some fathers like to yell emasculating things at the boys, like "C'mon Joey, swing like I taught you in the yard until midnight last night under the Kleig lights!!!  (looks at other parents) He did so much better last night, I don't know what's going on today!"  Perhaps if you could actually beat him here, in front of everyone, he'd play better.  The last time I checked, these kids are TEN!!!  Get a grip, Ike Turner!
Again, I'd like to clarify something.  I didn't shower before this game, and I had on no makeup and a t-shirt I'd worn for the previous three days that is hot pink with huge red lips on it reading "Antique Archaeology".  I know very little about baseball and I'm completely disorganized and unprepared.  I can TOTALLY go crazy-ass mom at these things with the yelling and clapping, and I am FOR SURE not the classiest person there.  But there seemed to be more competition in the bleachers than out on the field.  And?  The practice scheduled from 2-4 p.m. ended at 5:30.  Five FRIGGING thirty.  And not one person there seemed the least bit put out about it, like "Hey, what else do I have to do today but hang at the ballpark with my dog in my folding Cadillac Escalade and encouragingly berate my kid?"  And Dude?  I had to pee in the worst way and I just couldn't go to the public bathroom at the four-plex after 300 ten-year-old boys had used it.

I guess I have to learn that I Don't Care if I Ever Get Back.  So take me out to the friggin' ball game already.  And don't stare if I laugh when the coach yells "BALLS IN" as the game starts.  It's all class, all the time with me.


Toni said...

You are WAY funnier than Jen. And I'm so glad Australia has never really gone for baseball in a big way. AT least you can doze through cricket.

Wendy Ramer said...

I grew up going to my younger brother's baseball practices and games. I would have hated it more than life if the boy I had the biggest crush on wasn't also always playing elsewhere on the field with his team. But he never noticed me. God, I hate baseball.

Agnes said...

You. Are. Funny.

SueWags said...

I loved this one! My husband coached UNDER NINE year old (people! they are under nine!) softball last year and the Grandpa of one of the girls got verbally abusive and wanted to get physical with him, but my husband just ignored him, because Mick missed bringing a girl from 2nd to 3rd because he was explaining the play (apparently under 9 softball is not for learning) to the third base runner.

Same grandparents, next season, this time the Grandma, got in a huge fight with another parent. Luckily, Mick didn't draft said granddaughter that season.

And me....a million months pregnant with back pains and I never ever remembered my fancy soccer mom, I guess that would be softball Mom chair. But I did get a fancy schmancy one for our anniversary. It has a tray, a beer holder, a place for the iPod.....I'm a fancy white trash girl, huh?!?

Oh and I don't shower that often either.


ForeverRhonda said...

My son doesn't do baseball...but let me tell ya, he's been doing tackle football since he was 5! Yes it starts that early here. And last year our 4-6 practices would not stop until it was too dark to see!

aleigh said...

Baseball. Is. Thee. Worst. Ever. I sat through my 9 year old's game, and my 11 year old's double header in 90-degree heat last Saturday. Because I am a saint? No! Because my ass had melted to my son-of-a-bitch camping chair. Aren't those things supposed to be made from breathable fabric?!?

Dr. Heckle said...

Parents go nuts at those things! Most of the time I wonder if they care about it more than the kids actually do.

Heidi said...

Very funny! I can totally relate to not wanting kids to be in everything. Love your blog.

CeCe Savage said...

Lol, wow! Very funny post. I have different memories of the game. I actually played little leauge baseball with my big brother when I was I was about 9 years old. It was a fun experience and I was so glad my mom came to the games, even though I know she didn't want to. So while I am laughing so hard at your account of the day, make sure you keep going, it'll be a memory that will probably end up meaning a lot to your son.

Julie, The Wife said...

It's funny, but I actually DO enjoy going to these things, because once I'm there I love seeing the kids do their stuff, but it's the whole idea of "REALLY?! ANOTHER THING ON THE CALENDAR?!" and the coordinating and the driving and the inevitable conflict with another child's event, thus forcing me to choose which event to attend, which translates to "Which Child I Love More" to the kids. But hey, they're all going to therapy someday anyway, so what the heck.

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