Sports and Parenting and Denim Dresses.

I have to admit, I turned into one of those moms at the baseball field the other night.

Let me tell you a little about my son’s baseball team. The league is for first and second graders, however, our team has one kindergartener, and only two second graders. This means that a lot of the kids have never played before, and they have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. I totally understand this! They’re little kids and they are there to learn. Learn implies being taught. My son, Logan was the absolute worst kid on his team last year. We worked with him, encouraged him, but he just couldn’t hit the ball or pay attention on the field. Let me make it perfectly clear that he was not forced into playing, he WANTED to play. I would ask him after the game if he had fun, and he would say, “I saw 17 birds!”

At the end of last season, their team made it into the playoffs. Logan had maybe hit the ball twice all season. It was heartbreaking to watch as a parent, let alone a fiercely competitive parent who puts that part of her character on lockdown. I let him know all the time that losing is OK, as long as you tried your best. Still, he was that kid. But then, a miracle happened.

It was the bottom of the 7th (last inning in little league) tied 7-7, bases loaded, and my son is up to bat. You cannot begin to understand my angst. I ran over to the bench behind the fence, all of the parents giving me the aw, it’s ok, it’s all over faces, accompanied by comforting pats on the shoulder. “Eye on the ball buddy! You can do it Logan!” I called out to him. He swings, strike one. He swings again, strike two. I have chewed off every fingernail. I had IBS. Then, the most beautiful thing happened. He hit the ball! The one that really mattered. He advanced the players, they won the game, and moved them to the next round of the playoffs. It was the coolest thing ever. His best friend was the one who brought in the run, too. The coaches picked them up on their shoulders. I lost my mind. I had tears of joy and pride running down my face. Parents were high-fiving and hugging as if our sons had just won the World Series.

Logan got his first taste of victory, of accomplishment, and he was hooked. He couldn’t wait to play again this year, now that he knew he was capable. So, here we are at the game last night. Their first two games they lost miserably, and by miserably I mean like 20-0. Then, last Friday, it was like something clicked, and almost every kid was hitting the ball, we scored a huge amount of runs, and had our first win. The problem with our team though, was that they had NO IDEA what to do in the field. Once they got the ball, they just held it and didn’t know where to throw it. When they did throw it, the word aim did not factor in. We were hitting the ball, but our fielding needed serious work.

Half of the challenge with six and seven-year old boys, is getting them to pay attention and stay focused. So, Logan’s out in left field, literally, not figuratively, well actually, a little of both. He’s kicking the dirt, looking up at the sky, tossing his glove up in the air and catching it. I call out to him to pay attention and put his glove on. He does, and a ball is hit out his way. He picks it up, right next to the kid running from 2nd to 3rd and doesn’t tag him. All he had to do was stick his arm out. This is what I’m talking about, he just spaces out. So I yell to him, “Logan, good job buddy, but you have to pay attention!” And just then, it happened.

One of the moms decided to poke the bear.

This particular mother was sporting a circa 1985 sleeveless denim dress to mid calf, the kind with a yoke neck, empire waist, and pleating. No joke. The look was completed with a butter yellow turtleneck, and white socks and sneakers. This I have come to know as her standard uniform, minus the apron.

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So, after I yell out to Logan, 10 feet from me starts shaking her head, and waves her finger at me in “no-no” fashion, looks me in the eye with a condescending chuckle and says, “IT’S OK! IT’S OK! You DON’T have to YELL at him!!”

The words were out of my mouth in a split second, “EXCUSE ME? He’s MY kid and I’ll yell at him all I want!” In front of all the other parents, who were secretly applauding my awesomeness, in my mind. I shot lasers at her from my eyeballs.

If I were one of those shitty parents who’s all win at all costs losing is unacceptable, I would totally understand where she was coming from. But I’m not. I believe in encouraging them to do their best, and my son likes to space out, and as his mother, I will always try to snap his focus back. Some of the other kids let the ball roll right by them, and their parents say nothing, and I don’t yell at them or their kid. As I said earlier, learning takes teaching. That’s fine if you want to reward your kid with a day off from plowing the fields for not even trying, but I don’t roll that way. All I expect is that you try your best, even if you suck. Period. Would I reward my kid for not doing his homework? Fuck no. But if he tried his best, you bet your ass I would. If my son wants to play a sport, the basic idea is for him to learn it, which means staying focused and giving it his best.

So at their next game, as I’m warming the batters up and encouraging and joking with all the kids, hopefully she has learned not to poke the bear again. You parent your way, I’ll parent mine, and if you yell at me again, I’ll kick you in your fat exposed ankles.

The End.

32 replies

  1. Tracy, you’re an AWESOME Mom and baseball fan! I too have gone through several similar experiences with my son of twelve now. He’s a catcher, sometimes pitcher or first-base man. Everything you’ve shared, spoken, and implied is right on! And more so for 7-year olds! And by the way, baseball (even little league) is a very, very complicated game for such young wandering minds! Even as a Dad/fan I would get totally lost and confused with the ba-jillion different scenarios each frickin position faced in certain pitch-counts and certain base-runners! God, I’d get migraines sometimes it is so convoluted at times! Which is why at 8-years old I was transfixed and hooked forever when I played soccer for the first time; never looked back. I love the game. Played it semi-pro and professionally.

    My point….you are the perfect Mom/fan for Logan. Rock on with your no tolerance for know-it-all big mouth other parents! HAH!

    • I coached the 7-8 year old boys soccer team last fall, I am hands on and I get it. She just set me off so bad, and I forgot to mention that when our team walked off the field after that inning, as my son rounded the fence to the dugout she got down eye level to him, patted his shoulder and said “Great Job, you did a REALLY great job!!!” I seriously wanted to smack her.

      • The audacity huh? Unless she’s played baseball/softball near or at the highest level, cheer your own kids, keep your mouth shut about other teammates, and (this is a serious pet-peeve of mine!) shut tha hell up about ‘coaching’ the players; let the COACHES coach! Some parents are absolute morons when it comes to true knowledge of the game. In soccer, I could easily give about a dozen different examples of their ignorance. I understand and encourage positive reinforcement for little ones, but a parent can go too far with it, especially if it crosses over into ‘coaching’ from the stands. Do they even realize they could be contradicting the coaches game plan, etc, and totally CONFUSING the kid? Again, unless you’ve played the sport at the highest level, check your egotism in the parking lot! Right?

  2. The taste of victory… You have no idea how valuable that is. Just the idea that you CAN DO IT, something, whatever it is.

    It learns your child to become a go-getter. A fighter. For a happier life.

    You should be proud of yourself for allowing him the space for a taste of victory, I know many parents that can’t do that (including my own, my first taste of victory ever was exactly two months ago!)

    • Yeah, and I forgot to mention that when our team walked off the field after that inning, as my son rounded the fence to the dugout she got down eye level to him, patted his shoulder and said “Great Job, you did a REALLY great job!!!” I seriously wanted to smack her.

  3. I have already been banned from the bleachers. My son is four and has not even joined a team yet. My husband, friends and family have all banned me. Clearly, they know my limitations. I expect to watch via webcam where I can scream all I want at the Duggar-clad women. Oh, ya, and I’ll be yelling at the perfect-looking, yoga pants wearing, Starbuck’s holding beotches, too.

    • The fact that she was wearing what she was wearing just made it that much more ridiculous, but I would have reacted the EXACT same way regardless of how he or she was dressed. The fucking nerve.

  4. I believe the word you’re looking for is cankles.
    I also believe that the greatest gift you can give your child is a secure familiarity with disappointment. There is a big difference between something being painful and harmful. When children aren’t taught the difference, they don’t try new things. They turn into whining little pussies, waiting for their demented mother to tell them “Good job!” for getting the fucking straw into their organic apple juice box.

    • “They turn into whining little pussies, waiting for their demented mother to tell them “Good job!” for getting the fucking straw into their organic apple juice box.”

      I fucking love you.

  5. Good for you. Fascist parenting pisses me off too. Coming out ahead of the competition is a highly valuable skill to have; schools may teach there are no losers now, but Life teaches otherwise. If I can help my daughter by not letting her believe the lie that there are no losers, she won’t have the shock of learning that the hard way.

  6. Look, I am certainly NO pollyanna and I parent my kids like none other. no one hurts my kids, ever. I remember the first time my son was hurt in first grade and he’s now in college I still hate the kid who was so mean to him..But making a laughing stock out of “Mrs Duggar”as one of your friends said, not so great either. She will see this or hear about it and so will your son. Just something to think about. Believe me, I’m more like YOU than like her. But, karma is a bitch. What goes around comes around and before you make fun of THAT, it’s so true.

    • Believe me, I definitely considered your very valid point before posting. I weighed my options, but I felt justified in writing it. It may come back and kick me in the ass, and I accept that. The fact that she dressed the way she did made it that much more ridiculous, but I assure you, I would have reacted the EXACT same way regardless of how he or she was dressed. That behavior is unacceptable. If she had been dressed differently in the story (or in life) I don’t think it would be an issue. I wasn’t judging her, I was describing her. Plain and simple, but I appreciate your viewpoint, because it’s my conscience.

        • Perhaps a little. I didn’t say she was a bad person or mother, I did make a few assumptions based on her dress, yes. I was judging her behavior, the rest was observation. It’s what she was wearing, so I did take a few liberties with that. She pissed me off. I’m waiting for my karmic payback.

        • Ok,ok already. You got my conscience, I don’t want to hurt anyone, I was angry and I crossed the line in a way that could potentially hurt someone. It was judging. I have no problem with what I wrote, I took out the stuff that could have been viewed as hurtful. Please re-read. Thanks for keeping me straight.

          • of course I will read the re-write, where is it? Don’t worry, I like very much but I’m honest as well (take a look at my blog sometime) and you will know that. Don’t worry my own karma will catch up to all of us, not just to you. Your new friend, Laurie

  7. Tracy,
    I just fucking love reading your posts.
    I made the bold move of coaching when my son was young for about 5 years. I still can’t believe some of the crap parents will yell out. One guy stood behind the backstop screaming at his kid (the catcher on the opposing team) every time he moved. The kid was in tears. The dad screamed more and the kid played worse. No-one else in the stands moved or spoke. I asked the guy to quiet down and he threatened me. So I took my kids back to the dugout and forfeited the game. Those kids were 7!
    I took the kids for pizza that night. We learned. We won.
    Red

    • I coached the 7-8 year old boys soccer team last fall, I am hands on and I get it. She just set me off so bad, and I forgot to mention that when our team walked off the field after that inning, as my son rounded the fence to the dugout she got down eye level to him, patted his shoulder and said “Great Job, you did a REALLY great job!!!” I seriously wanted to smack her, the fucking nerve.

  8. So funny. And true the one thing I haved learned is that karma is a big bitch. But you will live.

    My grandson played baseball last year in the same age group pretty much and I felt the same way. I don’t even like to go to those games but I went for him and it about killed that no one seemed to be really teaching the kids! I tried to “encourage” him to pay attention and who got on my case but my son! It’s not as if I got in my grandson’s face and yelled at him. So what, I whisper yelled through the fence down at the end. I feel the same way you do. If you are going to try it then try it and someone teach it. I was never good at anything when I was little so it’s not as if I am going to be hard on anyone about it.

    • Karma is a big bitch, but as I said above, I didn’t say she was a bad person or mother, I did make a few assumptions based on her dress, yes. I was judging her behavior, the rest was observation. It’s what she was wearing, so I did take a few liberties with that. She pissed me off. I’m waiting for my karmic payback.

  9. your a good mother tracy. I would see paul at motocross and see tommy play football all in an afternoon. you have to be there for your kids. I agree with Professor
    Taboo. he’s right on the money !

  10. Scruffy,

    Karma is already making its slow wide arc to circle back and bite you on the ass. Consider amending the post – just spicier, not more neutral. Maybe you imagine a wild pitch or foul taking one of her eyebrows off. The dress shot could have sections identified: for instance – pleats: something to do with cookie shame.

    And your title: Bull Denim…..you’re welcome.

    Scruffy

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