Month: April 2015 (Page 1 of 2)

Clearing Out The Notebook

A few quick, random thoughts to share.


Why do you have to verify that you are at least 21 years old before you access the website of a brewery? It’s not like you can pour a free sample out of your monitor once you put in your birthdate. And there’s no age requirement to watch the 8000 beer commercials that are on TV each day. Though it would be nice if you could lie about being under 21 and thus avoid those stupid Bud Light commercials.


This has been sitting in my Ideas list for awhile, and it’s a little moot now that Derrick Rose is playing again, but I wondered who the biggest bust was, him or Greg Oden. The quick, easy answer is Oden. He never played meaningful minutes in the NBA. But I think you can make an argument for Rose, simply because he did reach elite status in the NBA, winning an MVP, but each time his knees or ankles give up on him, he destroys his team’s chances. He’s obviously had a much, much better career, but have his health failures been more destructive to his team, thus making him a bigger bust? Even if Oden had been healthy, it’s a guard-oriented league now. I’m not sure he ever would have been an MVP-caliber player.


I’ve had a weird clothing dilemma since M. started CYO sports. Her school colors are purple and gold, with purple being the dominant color. When we get a notice that we can order spirit wear, I look through the adult items, wondering if I should get a shirt to wear at games to support the team, especially since I’m usually keeping score. But I just can’t wear purple. It has nothing to do with K-State being a purple school. I just do not dig the color. There are usually some white or black options in the dad shirt section, but I never like them, either.

I guess I should be glad that our girls don’t go to St. P’s arch rival school. They’re the Tigers, wear black and gold, and use the Missouri tiger-head logo. There would be all kinds of problems with that!


Recently, our governor was signing some bill into law or cutting a ribbon or some other ceremonial duty of his office, and mentioned, in his comments, that the people of Indiana were the “greatest people in the country.” I love it when politicians do this.

I love it partially because it’s one of those absolutely meaningless things politicians, from all points on the ideological compass, say that they pretend has great importance. They set their jaws and say it with great conviction, despite the truth that there’s no way to prove that the people of one state are any better than the folks from another. You can’t afford not to make those trite, banal comments though. Someone will insist that you hate your city/state/country if you don’t.

I also love it because it demonstrates the weirdness of human nature. A lot of people really care about these kinds of things. They get all bent out of shape if the people from the next suburb over claim their town is a better place to live. Or if the residents that live just across an imaginary, arbitrary line claim to live in the finest state in the union. Or, God forbid, if someone from another country claims theirs to be the greatest on Earth. (Or, cough cough, comparing the fan base of the team you support to that of another team.)

I get having pride in where you live. We all want to have the cleanest water, clearest skies, best roads and parks, healthiest economies, safest living conditions, etc. etc. etc.

But it always cracks me up when people from Indiana (or wherever) honestly think they’re better than those rednecks from over in Ohio.[1]


Finally, each year at St. P’s the second graders have a spring bake sale to raise money for a Latin American missionary project the parish has. A year ago M. woke up on bake sale day complaining of an upset stomach. She wanted to give school a shot, though. About five minutes after I got back home I got a call saying she had thrown up.

Today was this year’s bake sale. Before we left for school, M. said, “I sure hope I don’t get sick today like I did at the last bake sale!”

At 2:30 I got a call saying she was in the office with a very upset stomach and I should probably come pick her up early. At least she got to buy cookies this time. When I walked into the office, I said, “You jinxed yourself!” She’s already worried about next year’s bake sale day.

Kentucky is the obvious exception. People in Indiana are much better than those hillbillies.  ↩

The Other Two

C. got her own sports post last week. The sisters deserve updates, too.


We’re in the last week of kickball season. Baring a miracle finish (and collapse by another team), M.’s team will not make the tournament. They’re currently 5–1, but that one L was a 27–2 loss to a team they face again in the season finale. That game was brutal. It was a cold, windy, nasty day. St. P’s was missing five players (although they would not have made a difference in the outcome). And St. B’s is the school that knocked our girls out of the volleyball tournament last month. That B might stand for something other than the saint it is supposed to honor!

M. has had a good couple of weeks. One night she went 3–4, with three runs scored, and even fielded a ball in the outfield and got it to second for a force out, something that does not happen very often. Against St. B’s, our girls were getting no-hit (no-kicked?)[1] into the third inning before M. got on base and scored the first run of the day. And in her next game she was 3–3 with three runs scored. We’d still like her to kick the ball harder, but she’s improved a lot at the plate, and is beginning to get a better feel for how to play the field.

At practice last night, they were short several girls. In order to get the team some more fielding practice, the coaches called over C. and L. and let them kick and run the bases. They both played true to type. C. kicked the crap out of the ball twice – farther than M. has ever kicked it – but both times it was in the air and caught for an out. L.’s first kick was a short roller to one of the suicides[2], who fumbled the ball then over-threw first base. L. raced all the way around the bases for a classic Little League home run.[3] All the fourth graders were screaming and cheering for her and did their home run chant after.

While we were eating dinner, M. filled her role perfectly. She began explaining to C. that she might be able to get away with kicking the ball in the air when she plays kickball next year in third grade, but in fourth grade she’d have to learn how to keep it on the ground. She then jumped up from the table and demonstrated the different ways to throw the ball, how L. was breaking the rules by leading off before the ball was kicked, etc. At least it was done with love.

As for L., her soccer team is 2–0–1. Yes, a tie in U6 soccer. Worse, it was 4–4 on a night when L. could have easily scored 10 goals, and her teammates could have added at least half a dozen more. But the entire team kept kicking the ball just inches left or right. Their coach even yelled at them, “You guys are like Florida State! Always wide left!” L. did have a sweet, left-footed shot from about 20 feet out that I swear she was trying to curl into the goal. She just missed, though.

She made up for those misses Sunday. Her squad was playing a team full of five-year-olds. L. and the other six-year-olds on her team just destroyed these poor kids. Each time the other team kicked off, L. or someone else ran up, stole the ball, and took off for the goal. They were scoring a goal roughly every minute, with most of the minute taken up by the other team walking the ball back to mid-field and prepping to kick off again.

L.’s actual goal count is a bit uncertain. S. watched the first half of the game, while I was across the park at C.’s softball game. Then we switched at halftime of L.’s game. L. scored somewhere between 11 and 16 goals. Or maybe more.

After the game she had to go to a birthday party. But as soon as she got home from that, she put on one of her old soccer uniforms and ran around in that until shower time. For bed, instead of wearing pajamas, she put on yet another soccer uniform. Three uniforms in one day!

For her morning work one day last week, she wrote that she scored seven goals in her first game, and wanted to score 100 for the year. As crazy as that sounds…

Oh, and C.’s team has now won three games in a row, and she’s gone 1–3 in each of her last two games. She and M. both have games tonight, so hopefully I’ve not jinxed either one of them.


One more kickball story. Coaches always have trouble positioning outfielders. They always creep in toward the infield, are often not paying attention to what’s going on at the plate, and are prone to running the ball back in rather than throwing it. A few games back, St. P’s best kicker came up. The opposing coach was screaming at his centerfielder to move back. She took a couple tiny, tip-toed steps back. He yelled to back up more. Two more tiny steps. Finally, the coach roared, “LOOK WHO’S UP!!!” That did the trick. She took like five big steps back.

That was a wise choice. A. kicked an absolute rocket right at the centerfielder. It bounced once, went over her shoulder, and rolled to the edge of the parking lot. Had she not moved, I’m pretty sure the ball would have taken her head off. I bet that girl learned her lesson, though, and moves when her coach says to move.

It’s always high comedy to hear dads talking during kickball games and struggle with whether to use baseball/softball terms, or adjust them. “Who’s up to bat next? Or, um, to kick?”  ↩

Suicides are the players who stand to either side of the pitcher. They have to play behind an arc that is about 15 feet from home. They either pounce on slow rollers or try to catch liners before they get smacked in the face.  ↩

Little League home run: when a player circles the bases thanks to an error or other defensive error and thinks they hit (or kicked in this case) a home run when they actually got a single with a three-base error.  ↩

Friday Vid


“Street Fighting Man” – The Rolling Stones
In honor of Yordano Ventura and the 2015 Kansas City Royals, who are apparently going to get into some kind of altercation with every team they play this season.

Summer 2015 Cap

Lost in the early baseball season rush, I’ve forgotten to share something very important with you: my summer 2015 cap choice.

Frankly, I’m a little surprised I haven’t received angry emails demanding I reveal my pick.

Allow me to rectify.

I found myself in a bit of a quandary this year. Last year’s cap is still in decent shape. And there was a lot of good luck contained inside of it. If you don’t fuck with good luck in any sport, it’s baseball. Maybe I should just go with the ’14 hat a little longer.

I do love to buy a new hat, though. It seemed wrong to deprive myself of one of the simple pleasures of spring.

Which led to my other quandary: last year I wore a regular, replica Royals hat, an adjustable version of what the team wears on the field. I had not done that since at least high school, and likely middle school. And then the Royals not only break their 29-year playoff drought, but they get to game seven of the World Series. If I’m replacing the hat I wore during that run, should I still stick with the standard, royal blue, KC cap? You know, messing with a streak and all.

That seemed boring to me. If I’m buying a new cap, it needs to be different. After all, my spring tradition isn’t to buy a new version of the same hat I wore the year before, and the year before, and the year before… That’s something Yankees fans do.

So I ran off to the Rally House and began paging through their offerings. I am a bit picky in what I throw onto my head. First, I don’t do silly. Second, because my hat size changes by between 1/8 and 1/4 inch between haircuts, I can’t do fitted caps without trying them on in person. And while I don’t mind wearing something that is evocative of Kansas City in general but perhaps not the Royals specifically,[1] given their recent success, I would like the hat to be quickly identifiable as a Royals hat.[2]

After hours of careful consideration, I had five finalists. I poured over the details of each cap, making sure I was familiar with the brand, and thus fit. Was I sure I could wear that color for the next year? Did the back have the adjustment device that I get the best results from?

In the end, one winner was clear. I placed an order and it arrived, conveniently, on Opening Day. And it appears I ordered it just in time, because it is no longer available on the Rally House’s website. I like that is not the traditional royal blue, but still close enough to the Royals’ main color. I dig the old school KC. And yet the back is stamped with “Royals,” so it is clear that I’m supporting Kansas City’s current team.

Thus, I present my cap for the summer of 2015, and beyond.

Dope Ass Hat

All ya’ll can rest easier now.


  1. In the past I’ve worn a couple Kansas City Monarchs hats, a KC A’s hat, and a couple “fashion” Royals hats. One of those was a pretty cool, deep gray color with the KC logo in blue. That was a great hat. Then I wore it one day while kayaking with a friend in late July and ruined in by pouring gallons of sweat into it.  ↩
  2. I have a pretty fly 1960 Kansas City Athletics hat that I wear on occasion (It’s fitted, and I can only wear it late in my hair cut cycle). I love the way it looks, but since the Royals are good now, I don’t want people asking me “What team is that?” which happens pretty much every time I wear that cap.  ↩

Game Balls

I haven’t kept many mementos from my childhood sports days. There are a few stats sheets and participation patches hidden away in a box in the basement. But all my trophies were tossed out long ago. Nor are there any old uniforms or hats crammed into a cedar chest somewhere as reminders of my pre-high school sports glory days.

Among a group of six baseballs I have tucked into a drawer in our dresser, though, I do have two game balls that I saved from my YMCA/Little League days.[1]

One is dated June 24, 1981, a few days after I turned 10, with the notation “Cards 1st Win” inked onto it. I was catching that day, and in the last inning I took a throw from the outfield just before being absolutely drilled by a runner who was attempting to tie the game. I held on for the third out and, apparently, our first win of the year. I remember laying on the ground for several minutes after the collision, the wind having been knocked out of me, and gripping the ball as tightly as I could. I think my coach awarded it to me as much for my refusal to let it go as for making the play at the plate.

 

IMG 3722

The other ball is from three years later, June 4, 1984. This one reads “3 Great Catches. Won 25–8,” and is then signed by the rest of my team. I mostly played center field that year, and remember making one Lorenzo Cain-like catch in the game, running deep into left-center and backhanding a ball just before it hit the fence. I know I also made a catch running at full speed toward the infield and diving at the last second to collect a shallow pop. The third catch? Lost in time.[2] Clearly, given the final score, those catches were the difference between a win and a loss that day!

Why have I saved these balls for over 30 years when I’ve thrown away almost all other artifacts of my childhood sports career? I’m not really sure. Perhaps because of the power that a baseball holds over anyone that grows up loving the sport. There is something sacred about that leather-covered orb. Whether you catch a foul ball at a big league game, or are presented the game ball after your U–11 game, once you get ahold of a baseball you never want to let it go. It is a direct connection to George Brett and Nolan Ryan, Barry Bonds and Pedro Martinez, or Alex Gordon and Clayton Kershaw.

The game balls have rarely been moved in the seven or eight years since we purchased our dresser. I don’t think I’ve ever showed them to the girls, either. Probably out of fear that they’ll hunt them down and mess them up. They just sit there and take up space, pushed aside when I’m looking for the pill bottles the girls baby teeth are stored in, or looking for collar stays when I put on a dress shirt. But it seems wrong to ever throw them away.


There’s a too-much-about-me prologue to the real purpose of this post: C. earned her first-ever game ball last night; a first for all of the girls, actually.

Her softball season got off to a rough start last week. Her team, which is loaded with first-year players and first graders, got trounced 14–0 by a team with mostly experienced second graders. C. went hitless, as did most of her team, striking out in all three plate appearances.

Saturday, after her First Communion, we spent about 20 minutes outside hitting. It took almost five minutes for her to make contact, but eventually she was hitting line drives over my head.

Last night was game two, and it was a very different evening. They played a team that was more even to them in terms of age and experience. After a slow start, they strung together a bunch of hits in three-straight innings and got a 10–2 win.

C. struck out again in her first at bat.

In her second, she smacked a hit to the left side of the infield that gave her team the lead.[3] When she came back to the dugout between innings, she was fighting a losing battle to hide her proud grin.

Third time up, she got another infield single. “I can’t wait to hit again!” she told me while grabbing her mitt.

And in her final at bat, she lined a shot toward the shortstop that rolled to the outfield. “I LOVE hitting, Dad!”

All the girls were excited to get their first win. Their coach gathered them in the dugout to tell them how well they played and how proud he was of their improvement since their first game. Then he said he was giving the game ball to a player who had some really big hits, handing the ball to C. Her eyes bugged out and she had a silly, excited grin on her face.

Not going to lie. I had to take a little walk because there was dust or pollen or something in my eyes and I needed a minute.

Her teammates took turns signing the ball, which like her old man three decades ago, she held onto tightly as we walked back to the car. When we got home, she told me, “Dad, I want to play softball for a long time!” then she ran inside to show S. and her sisters. Of course, she said the same thing about being in Girl Scouts last year and now hates going to meetings. So we’ll see.

For now her ball is prominently displayed on her bedside table, and I’m sure she’ll show it to her buddy next door, with long explanations of how she earned it, at her first chance.

Maybe, in another 30 years, she’ll push it aside as she searches for a piece of jewelry or item of clothing in a dresser drawer of her own.

 

IMG 3720


  1. The other balls are: 1) A ball my step-dad gave me that has a bunch of very old players’ autographs. The most readable, and recognizable, signature is from Cardinals Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst. 2) Another is a ball the husband of an after-school babysitter brought me from when he worked in the bullpen at (then) Royals Stadium in 1981, signed by Rich Gale, Paul Splittorff, Ken Brett, and Dan Quisenberry. 3) A ball signed, to me, by Brooks Robinson that one of my sisters-in-law got when she met the Orioles Hall of Famer at a work event a few years back. Elsewhere in the house is a ball signed by Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye, and the two MLB foul balls I’ve collected over the years.  ↩
  2. Yes, I know it’s sad that I CLEARLY remember two catches I made in a Little League game 31 years ago. My athletic feats are few.  ↩
  3. Game Winning RBI!  ↩

R’s: Stuff And Nonsense

In the bad old days, I would think the Royals were cursed.

How else to explain getting off to a hot start – they’re currently tied for the second-best record in the bigs – yet still looking up at Detroit? The baseball gods hate the Royals, right?

But these aren’t the bad old days. This is the brave new world where every roster move Dayton Moore makes works out, every in-game decision that Ned Yost makes turns to gold, and the team gets clutch hits from the bottom of its lineup late in games to pull out wins.

The Royals, it seems, are actually good.

As much as I loved last October, I chalked a lot of it up to the flukey/luck-driven nature of the playoffs. Their pitching was solid, they got some huge hits in important moments, and caught everything that was hit. For 11 of 15 games, they played damn near perfect baseball, or at least in each game’s biggest moments they were perfect. In July, that’s just a nice little run. In October, that gets you to game seven of the World Series.

As I said in my preseason picks, I did not expect that luck to carry over. And I think I was right. Sure, the Royals have caught some breaks here-and-there in the first few weeks of the season. But they’re mostly winning because they are playing with a whole different level of confidence. Getting to the final game of the baseball season seems to have transformed the roster. Now they expect to find a way to work a walk when they need a base runner. They expect someone to come up with that key hit to bring the tying/go-ahead runs home. They play with a looseness that comes from being absolutely certain that if they can squeeze out one more run than the opponent sometime in the last three innings, a win is guaranteed.

What has impressed me most is how the off-season acquisitions have begun the year. Yes, we’re still in the extreme, small-sample-sized days of April. So we shouldn’t get too excited. But Edinson Volquez has been flat-out awesome through his first three starts, pitching better than he’s ever pitched in his career. Kendrys Morales looks completely rejuvenated. And Alex Rios seemed locked-in before he took a fastball to the hand that landed him on the DL.

Again, it’s early. Rios is already hurt and Volquez and Morales are both over 30 and more liable to break down than they were in their younger days. For now, though, I’m going to love every Volquez change up that makes a batter look silly, and every Morales double in the last third of the game that gets the winning run home.

Right now, the Royals are an absolute joy to watch. I’m not going to take a second of it for granted.


For the most part, I thought what went on at the K over the weekend was nonsense. I’m not big into retaliation in baseball. I think there’s generally too much at risk to throw at a guy, especially if it’s your #1 starter or a key member of your bullpen doing the throwing. Winning is the best payback, not putting a fastball in somebody’s ribs. (Or sailing one behind their head.)

That said, I understood the Royals’ frustration. They had been plunked with impunity through the first two weeks of the season. Rios is on the DL because a rookie couldn’t control his fastball. So when Brett Lawrie made an awful slide Friday night that Alcides Escobar was lucky to only limp away from, I knew it was going to be a long weekend.

Which is fine. But the way Yordano Ventura and Kelvin Herrera went about “paying back” Lawrie was all wrong. Ventura didn’t need to take steps toward Lawrie and yap at him. Herrera didn’t need to throw behind his head, or then point at his own head, no matter what message he was trying to send with the latter gesture. You have to be smarter than both of them were.

The Royals are built around young guys who are new to winning and play emotionally. That is mostly a good thing. But they need to learn to contain that emotion. Teams are going to start goading them into future altercations, knowing that umpires and the league office will not give the Royals much leash when things get testy. If it’s not already a distraction, it soon will be.

I kind of hate that I agree with long-time Royals broadcaster, and general grump about most things, Denny Matthews. But he was right when he said the Royals need to calm down, turn the other cheek, and just beat people. Let the scoreboard do the talking.

Oh, and that title? From an old Split Enz song. Here’s a version from 2001 featuring Eddie Vedder and Tim Finn.

A Quick Note

Yep, some changes to the site’s look over the weekend. I was unhappy with one little thing, which ended up costing me about two hours of research and messing around to adjust it. The result was just installing a new theme for the site. I’m happy with it. For now, of course.

But if you’re looking for the stuff that was in the sidebar in the past – the search box, recent comments, and archive links – they are now hidden. If you need them, hit that little three-lined icon in the upper left. That will unhide the sidebar and you’ll be set.

As always, thanks for your patronage.

⦿ Monday Links

Again links are shared on Monday this week. But for a great reason. I had to get through the incredible oral history of the making of Airplane! before I could post.

I’m pretty sure that Airplane! was the first grown-up movie I was ever allowed to see at a theater. And aside from the adult language, drug references, and sexual content, the comedy is largely aimed at nine-year-olds, making me the perfect age to see it. I’m pretty sure I laughed the hardest at the “…the shit’s really going to hit the fan…” line, followed by the image of actual shit hitting an actual fan. That was high comedy to me back in 1980!

Anyway, spend some quality time with this wonderful look back at one of the all-time great comedies.

Surely you can’t be serious: An oral history of Airplane!


Continuing with classic cinematic comedies of my youth, there are fresh rumors that Fletch is getting a reboot, this time with Jason Sudeikis in the starring role. Which I approve of. Of course, we were pretty sure Kevin Smith was going to reboot the series with either Jason Lee or Ben Affleck about ten years ago. And then Bill Lawrence and Zach Braff were going to do it. We’ll see if this actually goes anywhere.

This goes back to when Smith was looking to put a movie together, but it’s an email interview with Chevy Chase about the original and his thoughts on new Fletch films. It reads about how every interview with him reads.

“Irwin M. Fletcher”


The NHL and NBA kicked off their playoffs this week. Deadspin’s Drew Magary ranked the playoffs of our major sports. You may be surprised at the winner.

Playoffs, Ranked


My man Paul Pierce is approaching the end of his Hall of Fame career; he says next year will be his last in the NBA. He’s always been a bit of a different cat, and this interview with Jackie MacMullan does not disappoint.

Wizards’ Paul Pierce speaks the truth


Here’s a story about another once-great scorer. This time, it’s Jackie Stiles, who went from a small town in Kansas to becoming the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer. Then things kind of fell apart for her, at least on the basketball court.

Her story gets the Joe Posnanski treatment, which means it’s awesome.

Searching For Stiles


Finally, this New York Times op-ed looking back at the end of the Civil War, which was 150 years ago last week, is a tremendous reminder that wars often lack clear, definitive, satisfying ends and generally require lengthy operations (and spending) after hostilities cease.

(Americans) wish that wars, like sports, had carefully organized rules that would steer them to a satisfying end. But wars are often political efforts to remake international or domestic orders. They create problems of governance that battles alone cannot resolve.

The Dangerous Myth of Appomattox

Friday Vid(s)

Two classic Crowded House appearances from Letterman’s show this week.


“Now We’re Getting Somewhere”
Performed in 1987. Album one, side one, track three. In the heart of one of the all-time great opening stretches of any debut album.


“Locked Out”
From 1994. Most famous for its inclusion on the Reality Bites soundtrack. Funny to see the difference between the original Late Night band and the first CBS version.

Spring Sports

Several years back, as we were chasing likely just two toddlers around the yard, one set of our neighbors told us to enjoy those days. Because, they said, it wouldn’t be too long before our lives became this, and the husband pointed from our driveway, to the street, back to the driveway, back to the street. “You’ll be coming and going non-stop to practices, games, school programs.” They have two boys who are two years apart, both out of college now. But at the time they were still in the midst of high school sports. They spoke from experience.

Well, we’ve reached that stage.

Beginning last Monday, we are in a stretch where of the next 24 days, 21 have at least one kid activity on the calendar. Kickball, softball, soccer, First Communion related events. Swim team call out meeting. Study group for M.’s social studies project.

Several days have two events at two different locations. Last Thursday, for example, L. had soccer practice about 10 minutes from home. At the same time, M. had a kickball game 40 minutes away on the opposite site of Indy. Fortunately there is a family that has girls of the same ages, on the same teams, so we were able to split the transportation duties. Sunday I watched the first 15 minutes of L.’s soccer game then left to take M. over to her study group.

On top of the hassles of driving through construction zones and rush-hour traffic, there is the constant threat of bad weather endemic to the Midwest. Last Wednesday M. had kickball practice from 3:30–4:30, then C. had softball from 5:30–7. As we were driving home from kickball, the skies were darkening and the radar looked red and nasty to our west. I said to C., “I bet it starts storming right about the time we get to the fields.”

Sure enough, as we pulled up to the parking lot, her coaches were walking off the field waving everyone away. Then we raced back home and beat the hail into the garage by about 30 seconds.

At least M.’s kickball season only runs until May 1. If we had to do this for two full months, I might need some medications. Not that May is much easier.


We’re off to a good start, at least. M.’s team won their first kickball game by one run, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the sixth. They were down 8–2 early, had a four-run lead going into the sixth, then after giving up the lead got back-to-back doubles to get the win.

This season’s team is a little different that the past two seasons. Last spring they mixed the third and fourth graders so the third graders could learn the rules a but quicker. And in the fall, enough girls came out that there were two fourth grade teams. This spring, though, it’s just one team of only fourth graders. Which gives them 17 girls when everyone shows up. So the girls take turns playing in the field, but everyone kicks.

Based on one game, it also seems like the girls are better at fielding and throwing/catching at first base. You can’t dribble the ball to the pitcher and expect to automatically be safe at first. We’re desperately trying to teach M. how to put some ooomph in her kicks so she has a chance.

L. picked up where she left off last fall in her first soccer game. She scored seven goals, had two assists, and kept the other team from scoring any goals. We had hoped to move her up to U–8 this spring, along with two of her teammates from last fall. But the league kept all three in U–6 for another season. Our coach told the league commissioner that the kids were more than ready for U–8 and he was worried other parents/coaches were going to complain when our kids scored all the time. The commissioner insisted that would not be a problem. I’m not so sure.

C.’s first softball game is tomorrow. Because of weather, they’ve only had two practices. And about half the team has never played before. Which means tomorrow night should be very interesting. Based on practice, it looks like if you can get the bat on the ball, you will not only be safe, but you can run as long as you want. Not a lot of slick fielding in first and second grade softball. But getting the bat on the ball is easier said than done. C. made solid contact a couple times Saturday, so hopefully that will carry over to a game.

My biggest frustration with her is one common to any parent teaching a kid how to play base/softball: she always wants to catch with her glove facing up. I’m pretty sure I got corrected endlessly for doing the same thing 37 years ago. She can get her glove down on the ground, though, and has a decent arm.

L. begged me for a glove, too, just so she can throw the ball around when we go to C.’s practices. I got her a tiny tee ball glove that came with a cushy ball. Last night we were throwing it around and she did a great job. She has a good arm, but also struggled to catch. When she would get the ball in her glove, she had a look of amazement on her face after, like “How did I do that?”

I told her that I loved to play catch, my step-dad and I used to play for hours, and I hoped that at least one of the girls would learn how to throw/catch well enough to toss the ball with me. “I’ll play catch with you guys every night if you want to.”

“I’ll do it!” she said.

Of course she will.

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