It is getting hot here in the Tiny Kingdom, literally and figuratively. As the temperatures have hit the 90’s, baseball practices have become more intense as the tournament approaches. The team has played many “practice games” (which are practice only in the sense that they are not part of the final tournament. Everyone still keeps score, tears are shed and uniforms are dirtied.)
Our team is hosting the tournament this year, which is nice because it means we play on our own fields and don’t have to travel through rush hour for a 6 pm game. Despite the fact that we will be in familiar surroundings, I know that a lot of the parents who are new to Allstars are not prepared for the craziness of the tournament itself. If they think that Coach Rob is hard core, they are going to flip when they see some of the other teams, so I sent out fair warning.
To: Allstar Team
The tournament is about to start, and I have some last minute details. You already have our schedule for the next few days. Coach Rob wants each player to arrive one hour before game time for 30 minutes of batting practice and 30 minutes of fielding.
Please remember that we are the hosts of this tournament. Many people outside the Tiny Kingdom think that those of us who live here are snobby. Let’s dispel this notion. Smile, don’t snarl. If someone looks lost, stop and offer assistance. Be polite. If you really are snobby, please keep your remarks to others to a minimum.
Traditionally the dugout is decorated in some manner. I KNOW the other teams will be decorating their dugouts, based on last year’s behavior. Do not be surprised if other teams show up in identical Tshirts or mount a ten foot long plastic poster with each player’s caricature on it. Do not judge a team’s baseball skills on its supporters’ ability to decorate.
If anyone is feeling arty or balloonish or has a fab idea for a poster (and the materials to make that dream a reality) please email me. My goal is not to create award winning decorations; it is simply to make sure our dugout is not buck naked each game.
3. Equipment Alert
You don’t need to purchase anything else; I just thought you ought to be prepared for the fact that many other teams also go WAY OUT on their equipment. For some teams, it is no big deal for each kid to have his OWN batting helmet. WARNING: often these helmets are airbrushed with lightning bolts or balls of fire and other macho symbols.
If this is going to psych out your player, you have three days to get your own airbrushed helmet. Don’t ask me where; check the yellow pages.
I do have a couple of design ideas: “TCB” with green lightning bolt (make sure you match the green in our uniforms!), nuclear bomb blast with “ANNIHILATION” in Gothic letters, American flag with”America’s Best,” big red heart with “I Luv My Momma” on a banner held up by angels underneath the heart.
4. Anger Management
While the kids have behaved beautifully thus far, I cannot say the same for all the parents. Things are likely to get even more tense under tournament conditions.
You may think we take this game way too seriously given our players’ relative youth. Let me assure you that our team is quite laid back compared to some of the coaches and parents you will see over the next few days. Please realize that each team is different and do not be judgmental.
Thus, if we are able to get an opposing player out, do not flinch if his coach storms onto the field and drags him off by the collar, muttering obscenities under his breath. Similarly, if we happen to beat another team and you are the unfortunate witness of a mother berating her athlete for playing like a girl and then denying him money to go to the concession stand, do not interfere. This is how other people “play baseball.” They keep coming back every year, so they must enjoy it.