To play (ball), or not to play (ball)
Posted on January 31st, 2013
t’s still winter but it’s already time again to decide: will Roy play baseball or won’t he?
Personally, baseball doesn’t get it done for me—not Little League, at any rate. No other sport requires quite so much time from our family while offering so little in the way of actual exercise in exchange. The seasons start out promisingly enough. The team practices together in the unpredictable early spring weather and there are drills and the excitement of batting practice and, initially, fielding, too.
But then the games start. The schedule is erratic and because of this, whatever exercise your child was managing to get during those practices ends because when, pray tell, can a practice be scheduled? Your child is now a baseball player and that means a lot of waiting around in the dugout where, if you live in New Mexico, you’re going to need to keep your eye out for the occasional wayward scorpion (true story).
Let me say that the fickle weather of spring is decidedly less charming when you’resitting in the bleachers and getting dermatologically assaulted by the desert grit blown at your face by winds angry at everything—which, ironically, is how I feel by the time I’m leaving the field.
And I would be remiss were I to leave out mention of the ever-present snacks. In no sport that I’ve ever been exposed to is the element of food—commonly found on your typical carnival midway—as ubiquitous as it is in baseball. Last season, I watched a second base line coach eating a carton of nachos as he kept things on the up and up in that patch of real estate between first and second base. I realize that we’re talking about teams made up of elementary school children, many of whom are just waiting for a break in the action so that they can go ask their moms to buy them a carton of nachos too, but are you kidding me, dude?
Roy likes baseball—well, parts of it, at any rate. He likes to bat. He enjoys throwing the ball and catching it. He loves everything about being on a team though, mostly, to be fair, he loves the fact that his team might beat yours. And he does love that damn snack bar.
Another baseball season will mean more work for us. If Little League isn’t about running its players until they need to sit down and catch their breath before they give serious thought to whether or not they can keep a snack bar Slushie down without throwing it up (and it isn’t), finding time for Roy to really exercise will be left to us. He will have to exercise and play baseball and it will be left up to his parents to figure out how that will happen.
At nine, he’s still pretty little. Somehow, it feels wrong to tell my nine-year-old that he can’t play baseball because it’s too inconvenient for me.
We have one more day to decide. And it may not seem like much to hold onto when the wind is blowing hard and cold but he is pretty cute in his uniform. I’ll just have to keep staring at him out in the outfield to remind myself.∗