Softball Mom

My ballplayers prior to their traumatization.

“Wow, your daughter’s got quite an arm!” says a dad sitting next to me at Little League softball tryouts.

“Oh I don’t know … I guess maybe she did inherit her grandfather’s eye-hand-coordination. He won the 1952 Little League World Series as a shut-out pitcher.”

“But I don’t care how well Clare does … I just want her to have fun. There’s nothing worse than these crazy sports parents traumatizing their kids for the rest of their lives,” I respond.

“You’re not kidding. Those parents need to get a life!”

“Living vicariously through their kids. It’s so sad,” I sigh.

“You got that right.”

Clare steps up to the plate to bat.

“Wow,” says the dad, “She’s a southpaw!”

“Actually she’s a switch-hitter,” I inform him.

“She can hit from either side?”

“Without batting an eyelash. She’s a natural. Just born that way. Not that it matters. I just want Clare to learn the importance of teamwork.”

Strike one. Strike two. Strike three.

Clare’s out. I shift in my seat. Blinks rapidly.

“She’s just come off a bout of stomach flu,” I say. “Puking messes with the equilibrium. The gastric juices cause vertigo.”

“Yeah. Sure, sure.”

“Because last week she was hitting nothing but triples in our backyard.”

“Uh huh.”

“She hit one ball so hard the stitches burst. She knocked out a street light six stories up. Not that it matters. I just want Clare to learn about work ethic.”

“Of course.”

A coach on the field pulls out his stopwatch.

“Okay Clare, let’s see how fast you can run from home to first base.”

“Clare’s got pretty good quick-twitch muscles,” I tell the dad, “For a girl her age. I’m sure there’re other girls as fast as her. Though it’s unlikely. Maybe some of the older girls. Not that it matters. It’s good to have something to strive for.”

The coach yells, “Ready, set, go!”

Clare bolts. Her feet … seem to be … moving through molasses.

The sun goes down, then comes up again, the seasons change, man becomes extinct as the oceans rise to cover the earth in a new millennium and Clare is still running to first base.

I  leap from the bench, “Clare! You’re supposed to run as fast as you can! Run! Run like a motherf$#@%errrrrrrrr!”

Clare skids to a stop with the furtive look of harried prey. Crickets chirp. All eyes on me.

“Not that it matters, sweetheart. Just have fun!”

24 thoughts on “Softball Mom”

  1. HA! See, now if I had only known that parenting meant I could stand up and cuss in public, I might have given it a try! Thanks for the (very funny) window into the mind of a proud parent dealing with conflicting impulses.

  2. *speechless*… BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Sweet merciful jesus, this is pure motherf$#@%ing GOLD! In fact, I’m frantically printing this out and framing it to present to my Big Bag of Man Candy the next time he so much as hints I should accompany one of the uncoordinated midgets to a game/school event/company-sponsored party/ANYWHERE public! LOVE THIS! And your writing had me completely wrapped up and squirming nervously in my chair!… Once I clean up the resulting mess of coffee spewed simultaneously out of both nostrils, I shall so be back!!!

      1. Do you want the abridged version or the ridiculously lengthy one I rattle off every time I have to fill out even remotely “official” paperwork only to turn around and find that my ‘Ol Man has left the building and is promptly peeling of the parking lot in a successful effort to ditch me? *smile* We can just say “Vavoom” otherwise…..

  3. This is very good. I can so relate. I always love your dialogue. (Translation: I’ve tried to write this way and can’t so I’m massively jealous.)

    You’re funny.

    1. First of all I’ve seen no evidence you’re dialogue isn’t fantastic. Second of all you’re smarter than me. I’ve accepted it.

  4. LOL — so true. The worst are parents who don’t practice what they preach. It can start pretty young, too. Of course the kids see through it all.

    1. Jamie you just have a soft spot for me. And I for you! When does Dancing With The Stars start?? Have to google it right now. xo

  5. I’ve said this so many times but I love your writing…you have this unique way of telling a story…conveying emotion….bringing us right there into the moment…..

  6. I don’t know when it starts, but we are weaseling our way in. Check your text messages, it’s about your fan club being started over at the Van Nuys precinct.

  7. I SWEAR I try not to swear in front of the kiddos but, at some point, i must have because…the other day I had to drop lunch off to my 6 yr old at kindergarten and one of his table mates looked up at me all round-eyed and said, “Ethan’s mom, Ethan says you say the F-WORD!” Mortified, I slunk (is that a word?) out and drove back to work not sure whether to laugh or cry. Of course that afternoon my son tried to make me feel better. ” Don’t worry Mama. Andress thinks the F-word is fart!!”

    1. I almost had an aneurism when my 7-year old said she knew the “C” word. It turned out to be “crap.” After which resounded the sigh of relief heard round the world. Thanks for reading Loosecannon!

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