Our Lady of Fatima... Pray for us.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament... Hear us.
Our Lady of the Rosary... Strengthen us.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Funny Guy Friday... Mr. Romance...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband, Mark.  So, I married a funny guy...
     When Cheryl and I were first dating, I was living in Riva and working at the State's Attorney's Office in Upper Marlboro... and Cheryl was living in Bowie and working at the Labor Department in Washington D.C.  On most nights, we would hang out at my house until after midnight... even on school nights... then she would make the twenty-minute trip back to her house. We got into this nightly routine almost immediately after we met.
     We only dated for six weeks before becoming engaged so we were on the dating fast track.
     In those early days, I would go out to my car, in the morning, ready for work, and would often find a love note or better yet, a homemade crossword puzzle. Cheryl made the effort to drive home, prepare her note or puzzle and then wake early the next morning, drive in the opposite direction of where she worked, in order to leave me a surprise. A love surprise... if you will!
     The poor thing got no sleep. That's okay, she didn't need sleep. She was in love!!!
     I had her hook, line and sinker!!!
     Then we got married.
     Those first few months of marriage, we would wake up together every morning and prepare for the day. She would make my lunch, and she would always sneak in a little surprise. Every time I opened my lunch bag, I not only would I find my favorite foods, but I would find a napkin with a little love note or a romantic drawing.
     She was truly in love...with me! Just so we are clear,  
     I was telling my kids about how much their mother loved me and about how she took such care to prepare and leave these beautiful notes. Their response was a bit surprising.
     Oooh, oooh, oooh, gross! Stop, I don't want to hear that! La la la la la, I'm not listening!  
     Why is that gross? It is romantic! 
     It is only romantic when it is not your parents!
     I asked them why they would say such a thing... they see us everyday... they know that we are still romantic. More specifically, that Cheryl is still in love... with me!  Just to remain consistent about whom she loves.
     Then I had a rush of realization of the way things really are today... after twenty years of marriage... after three kids...
     There have many been nights... where... Cheryl falls asleep on the couch or in Noah's bed. When she does manage to make it to our bed, she takes all of the covers and most of the pillows. She rarely wakes up with me in the morning, unless I "accidentally" turn on Sports Center. If that happens, she rolls over, glares at me with one eye open and asks... Really? Really? 
     I am not even sure if she is awake or not, but I am sure that I had better turn off Sports Center.
     Many days, she is still in bed reading when I leave, so she never makes me breakfast; in fact, I have not eaten breakfast in more than fifteen years.
     I eat out for lunch every day, and no waitress has ever slipped me a love note or a romantic drawing  on a napkin. I have had a few smiley faces on my bill, but I am not counting those as anything more than pandering for a better tip.
     When I get home from work, Cheryl typically is wearing a tee shirt and a pair of sweats or shorts... and she almost always has her hair up in a pencil. That's right... I said pencil.
     As this flood of reality smacked me in the face, I turned to Cheryl and asked... What have you done for me lately?... in a romantic sense.
     Her response was touching.
     I sometimes iron your shirts... now be quiet!
     Of course, I threw the "be quiet" part in for comic relief, but the occasional ironing of the shirts part is true.
     That's it, you iron my shirts?
     I also bought you some socks that time.
     So that is what we have been reduced to.. shirts and socks?
     How come you don't stay up late with me, anymore? How come you don't send me love notes or make crossword puzzles, anymore? How come you don't make me lunch and send notes or drawings, any more?   
     You're lucky I iron your shirts and buy your socks.
     Seriously. I am asking you, why don't you ever do those things?
     Seriously? Let me ask you... have you ever (and she said "ever" in what I interpreted as a kind of a mean, accusatory voice) done any of those things for me?
     Do you stay up late with me every night? Have you ever (the mean, accusatory "ever") sent me a love note... or made me a crossword puzzle... or ever (again... mean, accusatory) made my lunch and sent a note on a napkin? 
     I... I... I don't want to talk about it anymore!
     That's what I figured (and she said that in what I interpreted as a confident, victorious kind of voice).
     You know it is not a contest of who does the most romantic stuff for the other.
     If it were a contest, I would crush you... you don't do anything romantic.
     Oh yeah? That's all I had.
     I've done some romantic stuff for her.
     I know I've done stuff.
     I think I have done stuff.
     I am pretty sure that I have done some stuff.
     I have to have done some romantic stuff.
     I know. I buy her flowers whenever I go grocery shopping. Although to be honest, I only do that when Noah is with me. It is always Noah's idea to buy her flowers, and I just try to glob onto it. In fact, if truth be told, Noah always picks out the really expensive bouquets, and I end up steering him over to the cheapos or the "on sale" items from the flower department.
     But still, it is the thought that counts... even if it is Noah's thought.
     Okay, maybe I have to work a bit on the whole romance thing.
     Look, this is what I have learned, romance is not a contest and life sometimes gets in the way. I can accept that.
     I love Cheryl and she loves me... that should be enough. And if I can get my shirts ironed and get a nice new pair of socks out of the deal, I am good with that.
     Wait, wait, wait... forget all that.
     I just remembered; I give her massages. Massages are way more romantic than shirts and socks.
     I think I win.
     I win. I win. I win.
     I wonder if Cheryl will think that my winning is romantic.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Funny Guy Friday... We got next!

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
     When we were growing up, my brothers and I played three sports... baseball, football, and basketball. We played baseball during baseball season and football during football season. But basketball was a different story... we played basketball all year round. Besides playing on our organized teams, we would play a lot of pick-up games in the summer.
     Two of my fondest memories were summer basketball-related.
     The first involved games played during the summer months on the eight-foot baskets at the local elementary schools.
     The schools would place permanent low baskets on their blacktops, so the little kids had a chance to shoot it up and into the basket. That also provided opportunities for the bigger kids to kick the little kids off of the court so the bigger kids could dunk... and ultimately tear down the eight-foot baskets.
     It was the little guys' first life lesson and first basketball lesson. The life lesson was survival of the fittest: the bigger, stronger kids always prevail. The basketball lesson was don't bring that weak stuff into the paint, or it, too, will get rejected... Shorty!  
     Obviously, the eight-foot summer basketball season was a short one, lasting only as long as the basket remained on the backboard. Since the schools were not in session, they did not fix the shorter baskets until September.
     My second great summer basketball memory was playing ball at the pool.
     Play three or four games, and then jump in the water. Dominate the paint... dominate the pool.  I am sure all the moms appreciated the large school of stinky basketball-playing fish jumping into the water in lieu of taking a shower. Kinda gross, but on the other hand... kinda awesome!
     So, when I recently received an e-mail from a friend trying to organize a group of guys to play some weekly summer pick-up games, I must admit, I was intrigued by the idea. The typical trash-talking emails ensued. I hate getting fifty emails on one topic going back and forth clogging up my inbox. On the other hand, I don't mind sending clever retorts to the fifty emails clogging up my inbox... but mine are pithy and funny. None of these other losers offer the same clever responses as I, and they offer even less to the stream of smack talk.
     Anyway, one of the guys has a beautiful backyard... with a nice court... and a pool... so the idea was to play some three on three and then jump in the pool... in lieu of a shower?  Still kinda gross, but on the other hand... still kinda awesome!
     When the email went out, the temperature outside was a balmy 81 degrees, and it seemed like a great idea. On game day, it was a horrific 95 degrees with 100% humidity... and it seemed like a heart attack waiting to happen.
      No problem... Game on!
      I arrived at 7 pm, mistakenly thinking that was our start time.
     They had been playing since 6:30.
     Now, I must admit, I watched with great trepidation. First, I had not played basketball against anyone over the age of twelve in more than fifteen years, and these were grown men. Out of shape grown men, but still grown men all the same.
     But worse than my hesitation to play against stiffer competition was the fact that everyone was just so sweaty.
     I have heard people say that they were sweating so much it was like they just got out of a shower. Well, these guys were wetter than that. Did I really want to get involved in something like that?
     Of course, the answer was yes.
     Once I got into the game, it was clear that I had been the latest to arrive. I was a little bit quicker than most, and by far the least winded... for, oh, about ten minutes.
     After ten minutes, I was equally slow and equally winded. Funny thing about being out of shape, you get this pain in your chest and your body refuses to respond to your mind's commands. You would think that a ten-minute rest would solve the problem for at least a few minutes, but you would be wrong. The moment that you get back on the court and make your first move to the basket, the chest pain returns and your body remains belligerent.
     Personally, I have decided I need a complete 24-hour rest period in order to fully regenerate. And by regenerate, I mean getting back to the point that I can play comfortably without chest pain... for oh, about ten minutes. So my personal playing rotation is ten minutes in the game, twenty-four hours of rest, and then ten more minutes in the next day's game.
     If NBA players had similar requirements, each team would require a fifty-five man roster.  
     When I played real basketball back in high school, the coaches would always say... Don't rest on defense, take your rest while we are on offense. That was great advice when I was fifteen. At pushing-fifty, I just want to rest on both offense and defense.
     In fact, five minutes into the second game, guys were shamelessly working their way to the corner of the court that had shade and waving off the ball yelling isolate on the other side and take him to the basket, you can take him!
     I know this because, I, too, was shamelessly working my way over to the shady corner and waving off the ball and yelling isolate him on the other side and take him to the basket, you can take him!
     We weren't basketball players, we had become hot, sweaty, and in some cases, large-breasted cheerleaders.
     *Author's note... There was a day when that last sentence would have elicited a completely different response than "Eewww yuck!" 
     As we wrapped up the third and final game, we took inventory. Not of who won or lost, or how many points we scored, but of who was injured. One twisted knee and one twisted ankle.
     Not too bad of a night.
     Next Monday. Same time. Same place.
     We got next...
     I'll bring the first aid kit and the defibrillator.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Funny Guy Friday... The one that got away...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband. So, I married a funny guy.
     If you read last week's Funny Guy Friday, you know that Matthew's team played in a baseball tournament at the beach last weekend.
     Like most tournaments, a team will play three or four games, and based on the results of those games, that team will get seeded for the elimination round. Just as the name implies, if you lose in the elimination round, you go home. We had played in four tournaments already this year and had won two of them. Those tournaments were very appropriate for our level of play... good, but not the best of the best!
     This tournament was an open tournament with teams with varying skill levels. We were going to see some very good teams.
     We had a pretty difficult draw in the initial pool play and in our second game, we played a team from Beaver Valley. We learned a lot about Beaver Valley over the weekend. They draw players from three states... Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio. In comparison, we draw from about three square miles.
     In all honesty, they were the best 12-year-old baseball team that I have ever seen. They were big, they were strong, they could hit and throw, and they were well-coached. I got a first-hand look at the size of these kids when they all came out to stand behind their coach at the umpire meeting at home plate. I had never seen a team do that before a game.
     We played them on Thursday, and they beat us 25 to 1. And it wasn't as close a game as the score might indicate!
     As I watched them hit bullets all over the field, I became concerned about my team's safety. This was the first time that I had ever participated in a game as a player or a coach where I was just happy that nobody got hurt too bad. The score did not matter. I was not encouraged by the score, but it did not matter. Our injury report was one bruised back, one bruised forearm and 13 bruised egos.
     After all of the pool play was concluded on Saturday, we got the good news that we were the 8th and last-seeded team in the elimination round. Of course, we were playing the Beaver Vally gang that ripped through everyone on their way to the number-one seed. In all honesty, this was not the news that we wanted to hear, and some even questioned the wisdom of even showing up to play the game. We were tempting fate by sending these boys out in the line of fire for a second time. I was not sure that they were wrong, but when it comes right down to it... you have to play the game.
     Somebody asked me my strategy and I decided that we would stall. Take our time between innings, make a few pitching changes, maybe a catching change or two, and several mound conferences. So many mound conferences that I might pull a hamstring on the way back to the dugout! There is a two-hour time limit on every game, so if I could stall for an hour of that, they would only be able to clobber us for an hour.    
     Saturday evening, before our Sunday game, we all got together at the home of one of our other coaches for a cookout and a pool party. The evening ended with a wiffle ball game in an open lot next to our hosts' home. I watched as each of our kids and their sisters and brothers took swings at that ball as it was lobbed across the plate. Some hit it well, but many did not. They all laughed and carried on.
     This is when the idea for our game plan was hatched.
     We have one pitcher, Nate, that throws a knuckle ball. Typically he throws pretty hard... but not hard enough to get it past the Beaver Valley boys. I pulled Nate aside and told him that tomorrow we are going to play a wiffle ball game. We will loft nothing but knuckle balls up to the plate, and if I call for a fastball, do not throw it for a strike. I don't care if we walk in ten runs, they are not going to jog around the bases all game. In an effort to convince myself this would work, I assured him that we were going to have fun.
     Just like this wiffle ball game!
     We were going to try and play a different kind of game this time. We were going to slow it down. Well, maybe not quite as I had joked earlier.
     I also pulled Brian aside at the party. Brian is the smallest guy on our team. I told him that I wanted him to accompany me out to the umpires' meeting. Just he and I versus their coach and the 12 Jolly Green Giants. I thought it would make for a nice contrast.
     I did not sleep very well that night. In fact, the air conditioner kept rattling the venetian blinds in the room where I was sleeping and made it sound as if it were raining outside. I remember thinking that a rain-out wouldn't be such a bad thing.
     The drive to the park, in bright, sunny weather, was not pleasant. I kept thinking about the "fun" we were about to have, and kept hoping that we could just keep it close. The first time that we played, they threw two pitchers that threw gas, and I was sure that they had more of those kids just waiting for us in the elimination round.
     As I walked to home plate, a second kid from our team, Alex, wanted to join us. Alex is skin and bones. What the heck, skinny also provides a nice contrast to these monsters. While talking to the other team's coach, he mentioned that they beat what everyone considered to be the second best team in the tournament 16 to 2 the day before. Yeah, they threw some kid that threw nothing but junk. We did not have much trouble with that. Also, I have still not used my two best pitchers.  
     Really, junk. Nothing but junk... what a bunch of idiots those coaches must be. By the way, do you consider knuckle balls to be junk?  
     As I walked back into the dugout, I gave the boys a little pre-game pep talk. This ain't no funeral boys, this is a wiffle ball game. We are the only team playing them, so we are the only ones that can beat them. We are not quitting, and we are not going away. Let's all have fun today... it is just a big wiffle ball game. 
     Let's see, nobody had thrown a pitch yet, and I had already mentioned a funeral and quitting. Not the most inspiring choice of words, but I don't think they really listen to my pre-game speeches anyway. But I will say this, I did feel a little bit better about the game. The kids seemed to buy into the whole wiffle ball game and having fun and were in pretty good spirits.
     We hit in the top of the first inning and as expected, they had a kid that threw pretty hard. Probably not as hard as the first two kids that we had seen previously... but hard enough. He struck out the first three batters. Not the greatest start but I will say, the kids were up there swinging.
     Then, it was their turn to hit. The lead off hitter walked. Okay, I understood that this could happen. Everyone, and by everyone I mean me, has to keep his cool and stick to the game plan.
     The next hitter hit a soft line drive to the pitcher and we doubled off the runner at first. We got the third out and allowed no runs. IT WAS GAME ON!!!
     After a scoreless second, we scored two runs in the third and three in the top of the fourth. A big hit by Anthony scored Brian D, who had walked and home runs by Kyle and Donovan led to the other runs.
     And Nate's knuckle ball continued to keep them off balance. The old saying, Good hitting is good timing. Good pitching is screwing up that good timing, was never more on point. Defensively, we were outstanding. Our middle infield of Sean and Matthew, were all over the place making plays and saving runs. Clearly, Beaver Valley was frustrated.
     Unfortunately, Beaver Valley is also very good.
     The fourth inning had their hitters coming around to see the knuckle ball a second time. They became more patient and took better swings. They got a few runners on and hit two home runs to take a 6-5 lead into the fifth inning.
     Their first base coach yelled that This is no Wiffle Ball game!
     I thought to myself: he doesn't get it.   
     A funny thing was happening as we were going toe to toe with this team. People around the park knew how good their team was, and they were hearing that they were in a real dog fight. People started to come to our field to watch the game. Probably about a hundred-twenty people who had no dog in the fight.
     We weren't done fighting.
     In the top of the fifth, one of our young men, Camden, came up to bat with one out. Before this year, Camden had never really played on a competitive team. There were times when he really struggled because he had never seen quality pitchers before, and he had never really had coaches that expected him to play the game the correct way. A very good athlete, but it was all new to him. This tournament, with these pitchers, had been a real struggle for him.
     With two strikes, Camden took one of his better swings and fouled a ball straight back. I was encouraged by the swing but thought that they are not going to throw that pitch again because he just missed it. They did throw it again, and this time he did not miss it. It cleared the center field fence to tie the game. Camden stopped running as he rounded first and started back to the dugout. Our first base coach yelled for him to run. As he rounded third he was still confused and asked what had happened. You hit it out; it is a home run. Make sure you touch home. I was taking nothing for granted.
     Tie game. My only regret is that Camden couldn't enjoy his home run trot.
     Our next hitter, Kyle, had homered earlier in the game. In fact, Kyle had no home runs all year and already had three in the tournament. What the heck, how about number four.
     Back to back jacks!!!
     Now we were up by one going into the bottom of the fifth.
     It was crucial for us to keep the lead because I had no doubts that they were going to use one of their two best pitchers coming out to start the last inning. We had to hold them.
     Unfortunately, we did not. They tied the game at seven, and, not surprisingly, they brought in one of the two big guns to pitch the sixth inning. He was as advertised. Big, strong and threw really hard. They had a speed count on the board and he was getting clocked in the 70's. Pretty hard to hit from 50 feet.
     Just for statistical purposes, Nate's knuckle ball was getting clocked anywhere from 32 to 45 miles per hour.
     The big boy retired the sides and now we had to hold them to send it into extra innings. Their lead-off hitter had struck out on two knuckle balls in his previous two at-bats. We got two strikes on him and the kid looked bad. I was pretty sure that Nate could sneak a fast ball by him, but I had fought the urge to call fastballs all day. In fact, he maybe only threw five or six the entire game. I told our catchers, Topher and Keaton, no fast balls and if I do call one, make sure it is out of the strike zone.
     I did fight the urge to call the fastball, but I wish I had not. That kid hit a knuckle ball over the fence and we lost 8-7.
     I have played that pitch over in my mind a hundred times. My only consolation is that had I called a fastball and the kid hit that pitch over the fence, I wouldn't sleep for a week.
     Now here is the thing... we lost.
     We were right there and we lost.
     This would have been as big of an upset as you would ever see in sports. You may read this now and think that I am overstating what was going on. Maybe.
     But I don't think so.
     Despite that loss, I have never been prouder of a team that I have coached.
     That Beaver Valley team wins national tournaments. They travel all over the country. They are full of huge 12-year-olds that throw in the 70 mph range along with snapping curve balls, and they are probably the best hitting team I have ever seen. And we were right there tied with them in the last inning. They kept bringing in kids to pitch and each one was better than the last.
     For this game... we had Nate.
     My buddy gave a great description of the game. We had the biggest fish in the sea on the line for two hours, and just as we were reeling it in, the line snapped. The only difference about this fish story is that there were about 120 people around to confirm it.
     My guess is that the Beaver Valley boys may not remember much about that game, but a group of kids from South River will talk about the one that got away for some time.
     A fish story that started out as a simple wiffle ball game.
Our boys in blue. Beaver Valley in red.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Funny Guy Friday... Take me out to the ballgame...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
     We are at the beach this week with Matthew's team for a baseball tournament.
     I have had the pleasure of coaching baseball for the past twenty-five years at various levels, and my goal has always been the same... don't screw the kids up, and make them want to come back and play the following year. I have enjoyed coaching 95% of the kids on my teams over the years and would love to coach them again. The other 5%; you know who you are. You do not necessarily have to come back and play for me... if you know what I am saying.
     I got involved in coaching as a result of my brother, Jeff. You would think it was as result of a nice long conversation but you would be wrong. Like many things that I do with my brother, it was a monologue.
     Hey, you would agree that you and I benefited from good coaching when we played.
     Sure, we had....
     And you would  agree that a lot of people put in a lot of time preparing us to play college baseball.
     Sure, there was but....
     And you would agree that we should give something back to the community as a result of all those coaches that gave up time for us.
     I suppo......
     Great, I just signed you up to coach a 13-year-old baseball team. Send a letter telling the Boys Club what your coaching credentials are.
     But I have never coached before.
     It doesn't matter, you know more than they do. Besides, they don't have anyone to coach the team and they have a practice tomorrow night. I will come and help get things started. 
     He came to only one or two practices, but I will say, he is a great baseball coach... so I was able to learn a lot from him.
     When I first started coaching, I was single and could schedule practices whenever I had a field. I had a field three or four nights a week with games on the weekends. Then I got married to a very understanding wife and had to sprinkle in a date every now and again.
     Then we had our first child, and Cheryl loved her so much, she didn't care if I were around or not. Then the second one came along, and my very understanding wife required more than a lousy date every now and again... she actually wanted me around to help raise the little guys.
     What's that? The first one was a girl? Oh okay, she actually wanted me around to help raise the little girl and the little guy.
     She and I did have a conversation... not a monologue like with my brother. The bottom line is that I lost the monologue with my brother Jeff... and I lost the dialogue with my wife Cheryl.
     I took a few years off but got back into it when Matthew started playing. Once Cheryl's baby boy was involved, she was all in. Practice, practice, practice. She was crazy... I had to reign her in.
     Matthew was six and was playing coach-pitch. That meant that I got to pitch to a bunch of six and seven-year-olds. Not that I like to relive my glory days... but... I kind of liked the idea of striking out a bunch of kindergarteners. Unfortunately, I learned that I was supposed to let the kids hit the ball. For most of them, I was trying to hit their bat with little success.
     Coaching this age group was a very different experience for me. I was used to kids having skills that we would try to refine. These kids looked at me like I had two heads when I told them to get a partner and start to warm up. But, Coach... it's not even cold out here.
     I asked if they had ever played catch before with their parents in the back yard and got blank stares.  No? Then why are you here?  
     So our first practice we spent the entire time learning how to warm up... i.e. learning how to catch, and showing them how to hold the bat... not swing... just hold the bat. I went from saying things like You are casting your hands... you need to stay inside the ball when you swing... to Are you a rightie or a leftie? 
     When we got back in the car after that very first practice, Cheryl told me that the parents thought I was so patient. I told Cheryl that I was ready to put my head through the window. As always, Cheryl got all religious on me... God put each of those kids with you for a reason. Figure out why, and make it work. 
     Maybe one of those kids knows first aid, and God put them with me so they can treat my wounds when I put my head through the window. Did you ever think of that? 
     I had two girls on that first team, and one of them wore a skirt to every practice and to every game. After each game I would give out bubble gum to the kids for outstanding play... orrrrrr... the best
bubble gum chewer... the skinniest kid on the team... the fastest runner... and then there was Emily's award... the best skirt of the night. She won that award every game.
     I got a piece of gum for being the most creative coach.
     I thought Emily hated me and hated baseball. I thought that because Emily told me, on several occasions, that she hated me and hated baseball. When the season ended, I was surprised when she hugged me an started to cry: Coach Mark, you are the best coach I ever had. Emily was only six at the time, so I was pretty sure I was the only coach she'd ever had. No matter, the best is the best! What can I say, that's how I roll.
     Each year brings different challenges and different personalities... hence the challenges.
     This year was no different. We changed organizations and had to add few new players. One thing that I learned from my brother Jeff... in the two practices that he assisted me with several years ago... the best team is not always made up of the best players. You need to have kids that will work together as a team... that will not complain about their roles... and that will get along.
     We did not have a lot of choices to make this year because we did not have many kids try out. However, the choices that we did make were the correct ones. For the most part, the kids always worked together, they never complained about their roles, and they always got along. In fact, after every practice and every game, I'd ask if anyone had any questions, and someone would always ask, Where are we going to eat? Typically, it was The Greene Turtle.
     Oh, and by the way, they played really well. They finished first in our overall league play, before losing in the final game of the league tournament. They also won two other tournaments.
     All of this, in spite of their coach.
     For a variety of reasons, this was the most fun that I've ever had coaching. Maybe it was the circumstances that brought the kids together. Maybe because the team had success. Maybe because Matthew had some success. Maybe it was just the group of kids (and just as important, the parents, because if they were complaining about me, they were doing it behind my back, so I couldn't hear it. Just how I prefer it to be).
     I suppose, it is for all of these reasons, plus a few more.
     The tournament we are in right now is not going so well. In our second game, we got thumped pretty good by a professional 12-year-old team from Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio. That's right, three states. Did I mention that these kids were all built like men? Six-foot men with broad shoulders. I can tell you this, those kids are not eating at the Greene Turtle every night.
     So what do you say after getting beaten so badly. I tell them what I always tell them: you are playing a game where you fail more than you succeed, so a good baseball player has to have a short memory. Forget about it and get ready for tomorrow.  Then I handed out bubble gum to the player with the nicest skirt. Did you forget that Emily said that I was the best coach she ever had? It had to be the bubble gum.
     The sad apart is that this will be our last time together as a team because we are done after this weekend. Some of the kids will have another year as 12-year-olds, and others will move up, but each one says he will play again next year.
     I suppose I did achieve my goal at the start of the season... I didn't screw anybody up. At least I don't think I did... and none of the parents complained... at least not to me!
     Sad to see another season come to an end, but on the up side... fall ball starts in three weeks.
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