I am proud to tell you all that I've licked my addiction to Little League. From frothing to 'meh' in just a few short weeks. I can't tell you from what spring this addiction welled, it remains a mystery to me, but it had become clear my total insistence on AJ "playing the game the right way," and my own grumblings about the coaching, had a negative effect on my son. He wasn't enjoying himself, was gripping the bat like a dangling limb on the side of a cliff, and seemed to be one bad call/at-bat away from a meltdown at all times.
So I switched modes--not easy to do for someone as single-minded as I can be--to the "Aw fuck it, let's just have fun" setting on my parent-o-meter which has provided me with much relief and, slowly, AJ is focusing on the benefits of play, rather than the results.
This more open-minded view has shown that the Coach is less malicious than he is oblivious, that the assistant coaches are damn fine at what they do and great role models for the boys, the players themselves are a great group of kids that AJ should be proud to call friends and the baseball, well, it's just a game. A game. And it doesn't matter. As I told AJ, "You're 8! Nothing matters!"
I will mention a single event, but only because it illustrates how awesome Emet is. We hosted the Red Sox this past Saturday, a team of genetically-engineered baseball robots, each of them clothed in the guise of 8-year-olds, but so impossibly tow-headed and blue-eyed that they can not really exist. We've seen three of their pitchers in three games and if they were three years older, you'd say, "My goodness those boys throw hard." They are, in fact, undefeated at 12-0, have dealt AJ's D-Backs losses in each of those three games (the D-Backs are 6-1-1 in their other 8 games), each by a score of one million to zero.
Predictably, the game was out of hand early, but coaching must still go on. One aspect that still annoys me, despite my more Christian Attitude, is the coach teaching the kids to throw the ball back to the pitcher. Once the pitcher has the ball on the mound, runners can't advance. However, by instructing, nay demanding, throws from the outfield go directly to the pitcher, rather than the base they are supposed to go to, the kids aren't learning how to play the game. I understand that whinging the ball around the diamond at this age promotes mis-plays, but you can at least make the first correct throw, yes? My two cents.
Anyways, we're down a quarter million or something to zero, Red Sox with a runner on 2nd and no outs. A grounder is fielded flawlessly by our 3rd baseman and the runner is caught halfway. The 3rd baseman runs him back a little and fires to 2nd. A little high. The runner tears for third and rounds the bag, heading for home. AJ, doing a decent job of backing up in center, fires a one-hop strike to home, a seriously perfect throw, that, alas, arrives at the same time as the runner, who demolishes the catcher and scores. The batter, running all the while--as he is programmed to do in a small industrial park adjacent to Van Nuys--ends up on third.
There is a brief period of silence as the dust settles. Then the coach bellows, "Throw the ball to the pitcher!" The last syllable is hardly out of his mouth when Emet--who teaches 6th grade, so you know she has a voice that carries--yells,
"Great throw AJ!"
She has not yet attained my level of zen.
Missed last night's freeroll in favor of golf and beers with Emet. Congrats to longtime reader April for the TOC seat. April and I broke into this blogging bidness together and my delight at her victory is not dulled by my hangover or my atrocious putting.
I've come to the conclusion that my putting woes are almost entirely mental. This highly-scientific conclusion came to me yesterday after I three-putted seven holes on the front for a grand total of 24 putts against a score of 48, which is pretty decent considering the putting. Then, on the back, I had only 16 putts, just a single-three putt (with an excuse) and three up-and-downs.
The difference? I was drunk on the back nine. Go out of my head and just started stroking them.
It's been awfully frustrating, but tomorrow's another day (yes, I'm playing again tomorrow). No beer, what with another Little League tilt on tap in the evening, so no yip-helpers in little 12 oz. cans.
On the plus side, I'm driving the ball like a champ. And now I've just jinxed that.
I do believe I will take advantage of tomorrow's day off with the Poker From the Rail tourney tonight. My almost complete absence from the series so far has been due to time issues (and I suppose the fact I already won a Bracelet Race and have booked my spot in Event #24--June 12-16, c'mon down!), but I've been itching to get back into the ring with my fellow degens, so look for me this evening.