Wednesday, February 22

(Please Don't) Take Me Out To The Ball Game

So I've signed my 14 yo son up for baseball. Again. It is his passion and all that, and I do believe in nurturing passions. But, oh, do I HAVE to? I know, I know. I sound downright un-American to be so unenthused about the national pasttime, don't I? And un-mom-like too, for that matter.

Truth be told, under the right circumstances I very much enjoy a good baseball game. On TV is easiest, in the comfort and warmth of my own home. With every toy known to man for the under-8 set to occupy themselves, and snacks and bathrooms for everyone in easy walking distance.

But baseball season? Well, let me explain it to those of you who have yet to experience it. First of all, there's practice. Three or so times a week, right at the dinner hour. Usually practice lasts an hour or so. Maybe one day a week I can honestly gainfully occupy my time by running to the grocery store. But during baseball season I find myself way too often just using Walmart as a way to occupy an hour. And that can get expensive.

However, my options other than shopping aren't near as fun. I could:
#1. drive home (15 minutes), do something at home for 30 minutes and drive back (15 min) to retrieve the boy. OR
#2. I can stay during practice, watching the goings-on and riding herd on whichever of the 4 youngest I have opted to bring with me. As ridiculous as option #1 seems, it usually is preferable to the challenges of #2. You see, practice starts in March, which is kinda cold around here. About 12 minutes into the practice, my little kids will be either a-hungry, b- bored , or c-needing to use the potty which is conveniently situated a football field or two away. (of course there's also option d--all of the above).

For added challenge, coaches seem to fall in one of two categories. Either they never will specify exactly when practice will be done, leaving you twiddling your thumbs and checking your watch in a van full of noisy siblings so restless that the van is visibly rocking.

Or he is so scarily punctual that you feel guilty showing up a minute late for the kid. I much prefer the second guy, though it can get stressful when you're stuck at the back of a long line at Walmart, and you're due at a practice field 2 miles away in 5 minutes.

Then there are the actual games. Granted, they're quite a bit more interesting than practices. However, there are down sides. Just getting yourself, the kids and all the gear to the field takes a herculean effort, what with the lawn chairs, blankets, umbrellas, the bag of toys, the cooler of snacks, and the field frequently being a fair hike from the van.

And you always have to show up half an hour early, for warm-up. This ensures that by the time the game actually begins, the younger children will already be bored and begging to go home. And if it is March or early April, I will already be freezing cold and wishing I'd brought more blankets.

I spend much of the game either coaxing kids to play with the toys I've brought or craning my neck from side to side, trying to see where the 7 year olds have run off to play and who the sociable 3 year old has decided to talk with now.

If I'm lucky my attention will return to the game at crucial moments such as my son's at-bats. If I'm really, really lucky, I will be actually be watching and cheering those brief moments when it is my son's chance to catch that fly ball or tag that runner out. He grins while I cheer. And cheer. And cheer. Because, you know what? There ARE some really fun moments in there.

Last year I discovered another wonderful thing. Occasionally my teenaged daughters, who hate baseball way more than I do, will offer to watch the little kids at home, freeing me up to go to the ball game all by my lonesome. That is an entirely different experience of baseball. I can thumb through a magazine between innings, drink a backwash-free unshared Coke, take pictures, and cheer my son uninterrupted.

If you happen to see me out there this summer, cheering on my kid, with or without little ones in tow, don't tell my son I was complaining about baseball, OK? Because the truth is, even though there are down sides to being my son's fan club, if it wasn't worth it, I wouldn't be doing it. And he's worth it.

10 Comments:

At 11:35 PM, Anonymous chelle said...

awww I am so not there yet with my kid, however I was one of the kids that my parents never came to the sports...I got to tell you, it means the world to a kid to see their mom in the stands!!!
cool blog! thanks for stopping by mine!
chelle

 
At 11:55 PM, Anonymous Rednic Poiter said...

STRUTH! ya one busy lady!

As we sai in OZ 'Yer as busy as a centipede on a Hot Plate'

Take Care

 
At 1:51 AM, Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Here from Michele tonight!

I guess you really don't have a choice, do you? Love your son...LOVE Baseball! LOL! Have a great spring and summer!

 
At 5:31 AM, Anonymous Shannon from Rocks In My Dryer said...

I hear you. My son played baseball ONE year and gave it up, and I have never been so happy for one of my kids to give up! That is really hard. You have my sympathy.

 
At 7:31 AM, Blogger RANDI said...

Ah, yes, we have soccer season coming up soon. I luck out because my hubby is the coach so he takes the boys to practices!

 
At 8:02 AM, Blogger pink-diamonds said...

I have never understood baseball. Oh, I understand the concept of the game, it's just that it seems like a long drawn out exceedingly boring games.

That said, if one of my boys decided to take it up I too will go to all the games and cheer them on like crazy. There are some things, that while boring without your kids playing them are amazingly exciting when it's them on the field.

 
At 9:32 AM, Blogger momrn2 said...

They practice 3 nights a week??? YIKES! I thought one night a week practices were killing me for basketball and soccer!! Bless you...

 
At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Amanda/Mayhem Mama said...

We can wander around Walmart forever, too! They always have something we discover that we need, so, yeah, it could get expensive to hang out there too much!

 
At 4:02 PM, Blogger At A Hen's Pace said...

One of the few things I really love about the suburbs is that our kids can ride their bikes to the baseball and soccer fields (as well as the library).

I love that we don't have to go early to the games--or even to the whole game!--since they have their own way there and back. And it makes them feel grown up and independent!

 
At 6:03 AM, Blogger Carol said...

I feel it, Mary. Driving my kids to sundry activities during the dinner hour makes me nuts. I'm ready for my day to end and to just relax with the fam. in the evenings. But what are we to do?

See why I rely so heavily on my crockpot.

 

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