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June 1, 2005

Baseball Diaries: Anne Glamore: Team Counselor

Being team mom has evolved into much more than I had originally anticipated. It seems that in order to perform the job correctly, you need a background in counseling. I am also considering setting up office hours in which to take all the phone calls I have been getting.

I can claim victory in one area: no one has even blinked at having the players bring their own snacks and drinks to practices. On the other hand, the season has barely started, I have put a lot of work into the team, and it is not running like the well-oiled machine I envisioned. I blame this mainly on God and Coach Rob.

The weather has been disastrous, so many practices have been cancelled at the last minute on account of weather. The most frustrating aspect of the year so far, however, is Coach Rob’s inability to stick to the schedule.

Coach Rob originally gave us a printed schedule with all the practices and practice locations listed on it, but it turns out that the sheet was a hoax. Some of our practices were to take place at the elementary school field, and I soon discovered that Coach Rob has a deep hatred for that particular field. He believes that it is fine for school kids to play kickball or run on, but it is not conducive to holding the best possible third grade baseball practice.

Therefore, on the days that we are scheduled to practice at the elementary school, Coach Rob apparently spends most of the day calling all the other coaches in town, trying to locate 70 free minutes of field time at the high school field. Coach Rob is remarkably persistent, so he almost always succeeds.

The first time this happened, I had Finn dressed and everyone in the van, ready to pick up two other players and head to the elementary school when the phone rang. I picked it up.

“Anne, it’s Coach Rob,” he said, breathing heavily. “This is great! I got us a practice time at the high school in thirty minutes, so we won’t have to waste our time on that dumpy little field at the elementary school. Can you let the moms know?”

I was stunned into silence.

“Anne?” Rob asked. “Are you there?”

“Yes, I am here,” I said, “but barely. All over town, women are loading their players into their cars and heading for the elementary school field, like the schedule says. The high school is on the other side of town, and frankly, I do not think we’re going to be able to get in touch with anyone this close to practice.”

Coach Rob was undaunted. “Well, I guess you’re right. Why don’t we go to the elementary school and meet everyone and have them take their kids to the high school?”

“I think you’re going to piss off a lot of moms if you suggest that,” I answered honestly. “Most of those mothers have other children they are taking other places after they drop off at the elementary school, and a quick dash across town to the high school is not in their plans.”

“But practicing at the elementary school is like not practicing at all,” Coach Rob whined. “I have big plans for these kids. We’ve got to get them off to a strong start.”

“Coach Rob,” I said firmly, “you have two choices. You can hold practice at the elementary school as planned, which I highly recommend. Or you can meet the players at the elementary school and see if you and the other coaches have enough room to drive everyone to the high school, have your practice, and get them back to the elementary school at the time the original practice was supposed to end.”

Coach Rob was silent a moment. “That means we’d only get to practice about thirty minutes, once you subtract all the driving time,” he said glumly.

“That’s right,” I answered.

“You really think the moms would get mad if I told them to drive their kids to the high school?” he asked.

“I don’t think so, I know so,” I said.

That day, Coach Rob ended up holding practice at the elementary school, but he wasn’t happy about it.

A couple of days later, he tried the same switcheroo again, this time two hours before practice. He called at 3 pm and asked me to send out an email announcing that the practice would take place at the same time, but at the high school, rather than the elementary school. I kept my mouth shut and did as he asked, using the same principle I use with my children: it is better to learn from experience than to have someone tell you something will not work.

My email was brief and absolved me of any responsibility for such a wacky last minute change:

To: Allstar Team
From: Anne
Re: Practice Today is Changed

Coach Rob has asked me to inform you that today’s practice will take place today at 5 pm at the high school instead of the elementary school.

Anne

Coach Rob was shocked when only six players showed up at the high school. The remainder had followed the schedule and were at the elementary school. (Of the six players who went to the high school, I drove three and Coach Rob drove two, which meant that only one other mother had independently received the email).

Several mothers called me that night to complain about the deviation from the schedule and to emphasize the fact that they did not have computers in their SUVs, where they lived, and thus were unable to get late messages changing practice times. I gave them a sympathetic ear.

Coach Rob also called me that night to grumble about the fact that he had given what he considered adequate notice yet only half the team had made it to practice.

The “Let’s Get Acquainted” team party is coming up, and I did not want angry moms to bully Coach Rob instead of having fun eating hamburgers and drinking beer.

I decided it was time for an intervention. I told Coach Rob what was on my mind, and the next day I emailed the team.

To: Allstar Team
From : Anne

Re: Practice, Phone Tree, Remarks on male/female differences

1. Practice has been cancelled for today because of rain.

2. Attached please find a phone tree. As you may have noticed, Coach Rob really loves the high school field and hates the elementary school field and feels that our boys practice better at the former.

His decisions on practices are often made without much notice and therefore I am instituting a phone tree to be used if he makes changes to our printed schedule that take place so quickly that notice must be given by phone rather than email. Coach Rob is in charge of starting the phone tree.

3. WHEN is the phone tree most likely to be used?

WHENEVER we have a practice scheduled for the elementary school.

4. Male/female differences and how they apply to us

This is a good time to point out that besides obvious physical differences between males and females, there are differences in the ways men and women think about a lot of things. For example, a long time ago, my wonderful husband Bill failed to mark our 5th wedding anniversary in an appropriate way (fine jewelry).

His thinking, which I am sure the men reading this will appreciate, was that the anniversary was somewhat overshadowed by the fact that we had unexpectedly given birth to premature twins who were in the NICU, and I had been readmitted to the hospital for a postop infection. He may also have been distracted by Clinton’s bombing of an al-Quaeda cell in Africa at the same time.

In contrast, I realized that the anniversary was a special one, (as are all ending in 0 or 5) and I spent a lot of time on the phone arranging for a spectacular present for him, even though the IV in my arm somewhat hampered my dialing.

Bill and I have worked through this issue, and I raise it not to rag on him (for he is perfect in many ways), but only to illustrate how radically different those with testosterone and those with estrogen can view the same circumstances.

How does this apply to the baseball team? Listen closely.

Some mothers have been undone by the frequent changes in the baseball schedule recently. You men should know that women view a schedule as a paper that sets forth the exact time and location an event will take place, and deviations occur only in drastic circumstances. This is because the women have children OTHER THAN THOSE PLAYING BASEBALL and often plan their afternoons in the SUV down to the nanosecond in order to have all ballet dancers, musical instrument players, campers, babysitters, etc in the right PLACE at the right TIME. Even a small change in the schedule can cause the entire carefully calibrated system to disintegrate into a mass of crying children and screaming mothers.

On the other hand, the males, (and Coach Rob in particular) are focused on baseball and baseball only, and are doing their best to ensure that our players have a fabulous experience with stellar coaching and the best facilities possible. On behalf of the moms, let me say that OF COURSE we want that for our players as well and we are THRILLED with the commitment our coaches have shown thus far.

Coach Rob and I have had a little Mars/Venus conversation, and he fully understands the unforgivable schedules under which the moms operate. He has agreed to give reasonable notice (which I have defined as 24 hours) of future changes in the schedule to me, and I will get them out in an email. If his changes are last minute, he will start the phone tree and hope for the best in terns of players showing up on time at the correct field.

If he arranges a game with another team at their field, we’ll do our best to ease the carpooling by having coaches drive the kids to the field so you do not have a surprise trip to Springville sandwiched between ballet drop off and gymnastics pickup.

I think this is a fair compromise and should alleviate further problems.

If anyone thinks the team needs further counseling, please let me know and I will give a lecture on boundaries.

Go team!

Anne

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 7:19 amBaseball,Frolic and Detour: Sports2 comments  

May 19, 2005

Baseball Diaries:Things Get Serious

Things are dire in the Tiny Kingdom. Allstar baseball season has barely begun, and already I have had to intervene. Coach Rob is coaching Finn’s team. He is a tall, skinny and hyper coach who wants the best for the kids, but he also wants to win. Very badly.

At the first team meeting Coach Rob’s speech sounded something like this:

Fun blah blah blah work hard blah blah water balloons at practice blah blah practice as often as we can blah blah blah want to be competitive blah blah listen to coaches blah blah maybe a day off every now and then blah blah win win win practice practice…

After he started talking, Tall Blonde Mom and I realized that his thoughts were enthusiastic but scattered, that he envisioned a practice schedule worthy of a team training for the Olympics, and that he would benefit from a person who could calm him, stand up to him if needed, and act as a communicator between coach and parents.

That’s how I became Anne Glamore, Allstar Team Mom, responsible for translating Coach Rob’s thoughts into coherent English and sending them out via email. (Plus, I must admit, I knew I could fend off the idea of after-game snacks if I took charge at an early date).

***********************************************************************************

Dear Allstar Parents:

A. Preliminary Remarks

The regular season is over, so things are really getting cranked up. I take the job of team mom very seriously, so when you see an email from me come across the lines, you better drop everything and run to see what’s up.

B. Practices and Games

1. If you do not have the practice/game schedule, email me and I’ll forward you a copy.

2. Conflicts

This is EXTREMELY important. Please email me and let me know any conflicts your player has with practices or games from now until the end of June. If only 5 people can come to a practice it is not worth Coach Rob’s time to show up.

** Please do this even if you have already let Coach Rob know your conflicts; he has lost all that information. Let that be a lesson unto you: all information should be given to me.

Here is an example of a conflict letter:

Dear Team Mom: I will not be at practice on Saturday because my Aunt LuLu is finally getting married. My grandmother was about to give up on her. I asked Aunt LuLu to move the wedding until later in the afternoon so I could go to practice AND hand out programs at the wedding but she just laughed. This stinks. Plus I have to wear goofy white pants with a seersucker shirt. And she is making me give out the programs for free, but I am going to set out a tip jar when she is not looking.
Also, my brothers and I sure would like to go to the lake for Memorial Day weekend. I know that the weekend doesn’t really start til Saturday, but my mom likes to leave on Friday afternoon before 3 pm so she doesn’t spend four hours sitting in traffic. When that happens she starts yelling and tells us to look for a store that says “L-I-Q-U-O-R.” I told her that she should just take a gin and tonic in the car, but she said that could get her arrested and then who would fix us EZ Mac and chicken fingers and be team mom?
We leave for the beach June 26 and my mom says she is going whether we have baseball or not. My dad told her to calm down and when she wasn’t around he told me that he and I could stay in town an extra couple of days if our team is winning big. Just so you know.
Finn

3. We have an awful lot of practices scheduled. This is because most of the teams we will be playing have played together as a team all year. We will have to work hard to catch up. If it gets to be too much and your player starts to show signs of physical deterioration, let me know and I will pass this on to Coach Rob.

C. Finances and Legalities

The season has already started and we are already hitting you up for money. Here is what you need to get to Coach Rob ASAP:

a) registration check
b) copy of player’s birth certificate

Here is what you can expect to pay soon:

a) about $110 for the parts of the uniform that have already been ordered
b) check to Anne Glamore for $50 for team kitty

We will use team kitty for expenses for whole group – mailbox decorations, team food during doubleheaders, etc. I will keep a list of everything that is spent, and if you spend money for the team (because we asked you to; not because you thought you ought to have a lobster dinner to celebrate the start of the season), let me know the amount and I will make sure you get reimbursed. I will keep track and let everyone know where the money has gone – no Enron shenanigans here.

D. Fashion

Coach Rob has done us all a favor by measuring the boys for most of their uniforms and placing those orders. Here is what is left for you to purchase:

a) hat
b) green baseball socks
c) green belt
Please do this ASAP

* The green is a kelly green – don’t purchase the spring green and show up looking like a flower!

E. Nutrition

1. Please send your child to practice with plenty of something to drink.

2. In my opinion, each child can bring his own food/drink to games. If someone else feels like team snacks are an integral part of the allstar experience, go ahead and make up a snack schedule, but do not put me on it. I have enough to do.

I propose that we use this year, when our boys are making the transition into men, to wean them off the expectation that they will have snacks and drinks after every game. Derek Jeter does not expect Oreos and a Sprite even after a doubleheader, and I think it’s time we treat our players like the men they are about to be.

More importantly, this will liberate the moms from having to keep up with which game you are responsible for, and how a rainout and subsequent rescheduling affects Chex Mix duty.

F. Great Expectations vs. Fun

Let’s all remember that the season is about learning the game, respecting your teammates and your coach, and having fun. There is no need to yell at umps, scorekeepers, innocent bystanders or Coach Rob if your player does not perform according to your expectations. You better not yell at Coach Glamore either or you will have a Matron of Honor/Team Mom mad at you.

We will be hosting the tournament this year and need to be gracious.

On a related note, please do not stick your nose through the fence during games and tell your player what to do. He cannot hear Coach Rob if you are yelling, “Son! Choke up!! Bat back!”

G. Cooperation and Delegation

I have already gotten the names of some people who are willing to help out. I will be asking for volunteers from time to time. Volunteers do not have to have breasts; penises are permissible but should remain covered. I am an equal opportunity delegator. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

H. Conclusion

Go team!

*******************************************************************

I’ll let you know how the season progresses.

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 6:05 pmBaseball,Frolic and Detour: Sports5 comments  

April 20, 2005

Out of the Mouths of Babe Ruth Wannabees

Setting: Master Bedroom, 8:14 pm

Players: Drew and Porter, freshly bathed and clad in underwear and T-shirts, sprawl on bed with Daddy, clad in pj’s. Mom has just washed her face and brushed her teeth and put on her winter pajamas, due to the excessively frigid temperature required by the males in the house. With difficulty, Mom wedges her way onto a tiny corner of the bed between Drew and Porter.

Finn enters, showered, wearing only boxer briefs.

Dad: Finn, have you done your homework?

Finn: (nonchalantly) Not yet.

Dad: Go do it.

Finn: (dawdling) Okay.

Mom: (snuggling with Drew and Porter) You mean “Yes sir.”

Finn: Yes, sir.

Dad: Go on.

Porter: I’ve done my homework. I read “Henny Penny.”

Drew: I didn’t have homework.

Porter: No fair.

Finn: Dad, couldn’t you write an excuse?

Dad: For what?

Finn: For me not doing my homework.

Dad: And say what? That you had to play baseball and ride your bike and didn’t get to it?

Finn: Well, yeah.

Dad: No.

Finn: You could tell her I’ve had a lot of baseball practices lately, and games, and that’s made me be really busy.

Dad: Too busy to do your homework?

Finn: (nodding) Exactly!

Dad: No way.

Finn: Why not?

Dad: Do you think Mrs. Zither thinks baseball games are more important than homework?

Mom: Do you think we think baseball games are more important than homework?

Finn: Daddy does.

Dad: (reddening) I do not!

Finn: You’re just saying that because you want to stay married to Mom.

Dad: (very sternly) Son, go do your homework this minute.

(Mom buries her head in the twins’ hair and shakes with laughter.)

Finn exits.

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 6:43 pmBaseball,Frolic and Detour: Sports2 comments  

April 1, 2005

The Baseball Diaries: Snack Patrol

You wouldn’t think that a woman would betray one of her best friends over T-ball. You would be wrong. The Voice of Reason and I have been friends since the seventh grade. We have children the same age. We vacation together. Our personalities are quite different, but we get along really well. I count on her to be a source of wisdom and good sense.

This year her daughter is on Drew’s T-ball team. Hooray! We can sit in the stands and cheer together. Or that’s what I used to think, before she became so unreasonable.

It is customary for the moms (of course – the moms!) to provide the team with celebratory (or sorrowful) snacks and drinks after every game. I know this sounds nice. I don’t want to come off like a Scrooge. But since when is each game an event worth commemorating with a party? Why isn’t the game itself enough? Next thing you know, the mothers will be sewing themselves cheerleading outfits and dancing on the sidelines with pom-poms. In support of six year olds.

Bringing post-game snacks and drinks sounds simple, but in reality the practice is a lot of trouble. When it is your week, you must not only bring your player (with hat, glove and water) and his siblings (with items to keep them occupied during the game), but also a camera, your personal items (bug spray, sunscreen, lip gloss), an ice chest filled with drinks for the team, and grocery bags containing team snacks. If it’s rained, you need towels to sit on. It’s a lot to tote for a 45 minute matchup.

The post-game snack problem has irked me for years, so this year I proposed that we break with tradition and let every woman fend for herself. Isn’t that what we do the rest of the time anyway? Yes. All women travel with food and drinks for their children. On the rare occasion that I have been caught without a snack, I have encouaged the boys to forage in the cracks between the seats of the van and they have been able to find enough stray goldfish, cheerios and pretzels to keep them quiet until we get home.

Bill is helping out with Drew’s team, so he was the perfect conduit for getting the message out. Sometimes Bill doesn’t like to take advice from me, even when my suggestions make perfect sense. So before I discussed the matter with him, I emailed my idea to the Voice of Reason and asked her what she thought about letting each parent bring
snacks and drinks for her own kids to consume after the game.

The Voice responded promptly. She agreed that implementing personal snacks, rather than group snacks, was a grand idea. She was particularly enthusiastic because she has a new baby, and under the old system would have had to bring her player, sibling, baby, baby seat, snacks, ice chest and glove on her assigned week. She said that she had actually been eyeballing her little red wagon to see how much of that stuff would fit in there for the trek across the field, and she doubted that its capacity was adequate.

She also pointed out that with the old system, you never know how many brothers and sisters are going to be at the game and expect snacks and drinks. This is why she is the Voice of Reason, for her point is a good one. No matter how many drinks and snacks you bring, the number of brothers and siblings and friends always exceeds the amount of food, inevitably resulting in tears.

Plus, food allergies are a big deal these days. What if a novice T-ball mother brought Nutter Butters and half the players and their siblings had an anaphalactic reaction? The Voice concluded that handling snacks by each family is definitely the way to go. Smugly, I forwarded her email to Bill. He always listens to the Voice of Reason.

As I had anticipated, he then emailed the team, informing them that we’d have a “Personal Snacks Policy” for after the games, and that therefore no snack and drink schedule would be forthcoming.

The next morning Bill got an email from an overachieving mom. She evidently “didn’t receive” Bill’s email. I think she chose to ignore it.

To Bill:
From: Leslie

Last year the parents divided up the games and agreed to bring snacks and drinks for the kids to have after each game. I talked to Eugenia after practice to see if she would volunteer to put this schedule together and I think I have finally talked her into it. It would be easy if she could mail you a snack schedule and you could send it out on your email list. Leslie

You read it right! It was Leslie – from PTAtrocity!

[editorial
comment: Leslie clearly does not have enough to do, so why does she have to convince her friend Eugenia to take on this task?]


To: Leslie
From: Bill
CC: Anne

Sounds great. Thanks for organizing this effort. I will email the schedule to the parents when I receive it from Eugenia.

To: Bill
From: Anne
CC: The Voice

NO
NO NO NO NO!! We do NOT want to do this! Every mom can bring snacks for her own kid. I TOLD you this. These moms do not have enough fulfillment in their lives and need to find a hobby.
Why don’t you email her back and tell her to go to Hobby Lobby and find a hook rug in the team colors she and her friend can amuse themselves with?


To: Anne
From: Bill
CC: The Voice


Honey, I don’t want to squelch an enthusiastic team mom. I told her that you and the Voice do not wish to be included because you have too many other things going on.


To: Bill
From: Anne
CC: The Voice

I will email her myself and take care of this. I promise I will be nice.


To: Leslie
From: Anne
CC: Bill
BCC: The Voice

Dear Leslie: It was so kind of you to volunteer to make up a snack and drink schedule for the team. This season, some of the moms who have been doing the baseball thing for quite a few years thought we’d try something different to ease the load on everybody. If every parent plans to bring food for his or her child(ren) after the game, there will be enough for everyone. This will make it a lot easier on those who have small children or kids on several different teams. But if you’d like to organize something, feel free to plan the end of the year ice cream party. We need a volunteer! Again, thanks for the lovely gesture.

Many Thanks,
Anne

I thought that would take care of it. But amazingly, Leslie did not back down. I do not know what is wrong with that woman. Here is what I got in return:

To: Anne
From: Leslie

Like
most teams, our team did this last year and I didn’t realize that it caused any problems. For most of the kids, it seemed that getting snacks at the end of the game was just about as fun as the game itself! And personally, it was a whole lot easier to make sure I had
snacks for one game than making sure I had something in the car every week. I just emailed the schedule to Bill.

The nerve!

I forwarded her email to Bill and the Voice with this note:

That is the most nonsensical email I’ve received in a long time. Her kid must be a camel if she can make it a block in the car without giving him a drink. And if he thinks refreshments are the best part, I hope she’s not counting on him having a career in major league baseball. Seems to me she’d be better off going ahead and signing him up for Weight Watchers if he’s valuing food that much at this young age. If she puts me on that schedule I’m going to smack her.

Bill wrote back:

To: Anne
From: Bill
CC: The Voice

You did write her a nice letter, honey. And you are right. Your idea made much more sense. We’ll try again next year.

I love that man!

Conspicuously, there was no answer from the Voice.

Bill got home that night and changed out of his work clothes while I finished making Beef and Onion Pitas with Parsley Sauce. When he came back in the kitchen, he laid a sheet of paper on the counter.

“Leslie emailed the snack schedule,” he said. “I went ahead and sent it out to everyone. Don’t worry, you’re not on it.”

“Well, it’s not me I’m worried about as much as the Voice of Reason. She’s the one with an infant and two other kids,” I replied. “But Leslie knows not to put her on the list.”

“That’s what I thought,” Bill said, picking up the paper and reading it. “But she’s on here. You’re not.”

I was confused, but only for a moment. I dropped the pita I was holding and dialed the Voice’s number.

She answered.

“You are a T-ball traitor,” I said. “What did you do, call Leslie and tell her you’d be on the snack schedule even though it violated your principles?” I demanded.

“No,” she said defiantly. “I emailed her. I can’t let everyone else be on the list and not pitch in.”

“Well, I can,” I said.

“I KNOW you can, Anne,” the Voice said. “I don’t have any principles when it comes to T-ball snacks.”

“Well, I hope you’re happy when you’re schlepping all your stuff to the field in your ancient red wagon, because it would be against my principles to help you,” I told her, as my onions started to smoke in the pan.

“I figured that,” she said. “I went to Target and bought one of those bigger plastic wagons.”

I fumed. The Voice’s betrayal bothered me for days. I couldn’t figure out why she’d go to the trouble of signing up for a job I’d already gotten her out of. Maybe she was afraid her daughter would not be asked to be a debutante if she didn’t scrupulously follow all the rules of polite society. That made me grateful I only had boys.

Several days later, I had the chance to extract my revenge. The Voice’s birthday was coming up, so I emailed her husband, Mr. Consumer Reports and told him to talk to me before he purchased anything.

He called later that day.

“So what’s your idea?” he asked.

“Well, I just bought a Hoover Wind Tunnel that I love. It’s not the bagless kind,” I added, because I had heard that bagless vacuums had gotten a bad rap in a recent Consumer Reports.

“Really?” he asked with interest. Mr. Consumer Reports loves gadgets and appliances. He loves them a lot more than the Voice does. Ten years ago he got her a new mixer for Christmas and she has never forgotten it. Not in a good way.

“Yes. It has sucked up everything on my carpets and floors and I have been very impressed. It would be a fantastic birthday gift,” I said.

“Great. I was going to get her a bracelet she had seen, but this would really be a lot more useful. Do you have the model number?” he asked.

I paused a minute.

“Where’d she see a bracelet?”

“We were out shopping last weekend, and I’ve never gotten her a baby present since the baby was born, so we were looking at jewelry. She showed me a few things she liked. But she doesn’t wear jewelry everyday. She definitely needs to vacuum every day. Sometimes twice a day,” Mr. Reports said.

This was where I drew the line. It is one thing to have principles, but it is another thing entirely to let your principles stand in the way of your friend’s receipt of a piece of jewelry that you know she likes.

It would have been momentarily fun to have Mr. Consumer Reports give the Voice an appliance for her birthday. But I just couldn’t bring myself to stoop that low, even though she had betrayed me. I retreated.

“Sorry,” I said. “I think you need to get her the bracelet.”

“What?” he asked.

“I’ve only had the vacuum a week. I’ll test it a few more months and see if I really like it. We can talk again when Mother’s Day rolls around. Buy the bracelet. TODAY.”

(“Before I change my mind,” I thought, as I hung up the phone.)

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 1:23 pmBaseball,Frolic and Detour: Sports7 comments  

March 3, 2005

The Baseball Diaries: Introduction

Baseball season is starting, and Bill has agreed to be the head coach for Finn’s 3rd grade team. He has also agreed to help out with Drew and Porter’s Tball teams. I am preparing myself for a busy season.

On the surface, kids’ baseball seems to be a game run by men. There are men out in the field, coaching the players, and men in the dugout, keeping track of the batting order. There are men umpiring the game. There are men in the press box, keeping the book and running the scoreboard.

Any nitwit can do those things. I can do them, and I didn’t even play softball growing up. In reality the whole sport would crumble without the mothers.

The mothers plan their schedules to the second so that they can get one player to the high school field at 4:00, another to the elementary school field at 4:15, pick up a third from karate, and still make it home in time to wash clothes, empty the dishwasher, and prepare a delicious meal featuring all the food groups. The mothers pick up equipment and get jerseys personalized. The mothers ensure that the players do not disembark from the minivan without the correct uniform, hat, glove, bat bag, bottled water, and instructions on who will be bringing them home. If the mother is bringing them home, she interrupts her dinner preparations to get back in the van, redolent of garlic, to rush to the field and deliver her charges safely home.

At games, mothers sit on hard metal bleachers, whether in the searing sun or during the hardest spring thunderstorms, cheering their sons to victory. The moms are polite to each other, to fans on the other team, and even to the husband who never volunteers to officially coach a team, but persists in standing close to the batter’s box, year after year, yelling nebulous instructions to each player who comes to bat. All of this will wear you out.

Somewhere between the time that my generation played sports and the time my kids began playing, things changed. Playing baseball isn’t just for the kids anymore. In far too many instances, the parents use the games to compete with each other. The problem is that often the contests make the kids think their baseball games are much more important than they really are.

For example, there are the moms who compete for the “Best Baseball Mom” prize. The contestants compete to show team pride by thinking up unnecessary things to do to “support the team.” Things like having balloons at the field or encouraging the parents to wear team colors, even if they are unflattering. These moms award each other extra points for driving back home to retrieve a baseball glove, or for bursting into tears when their son strikes out.

Perhaps these ladies are bored and lonely. Perhaps they are mired in loveless marriages. Perhaps they get a perverse pleasure out of watching other women carry out mundane chores. Whatever their reasons, as a baseball veteran, I feel that it is my job to identify these mothers early on, and stay far away. I suppose this makes me a candidate for “Worst Baseball Mom,” but someone’s got to stop the madness.

Dads vie for various titles as well. My favorite male competition is called “Busiest Dad.” The entrants attend armed with cellphones and laptops, and conduct business continuously, seemingly unaware of the action on the field. Although the winner of “Busiest Dad” can truthfully claim to be physically present at each game, don’t you have to at least watch your son bat for it to count as quality time?

It promises to be a fun filled season, as I will be witness to three teams full of sons, moms and dads competing on and off the field. I’ll share the developments as they occur.

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 6:18 amBaseball,Frolic and Detour: Sports4 comments  


Welcome to the Kingdom

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I'm Anne Glamore, wife, mother, lawyer and blogger. I have three boys, and I'm desperately trying to train them to become Southern gentlemen, but that may be an unrealistic goal. At this point I'd be ecstatic if they'd quit farting at the dinner table. If you're new here, check out the Readers' Favorite Posts below or browse through the Categories. I write about my attempts to teach the boys about peckers and sex (which we call "making googly eyes"), my struggles with hepatitis C and spine surgery, the boys' adventures with fire and pets, my mom's death from ovarian cancer, my love of cooking (with plenty of recipes) and anything else that crosses my mind. Join me on Twitter or StumbleUpon or Email me. I'm happy to speak to your group or club.

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