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In the dugout

By Richie Ann Ashcraft

The saga of Little League continues ...

We had the first baseball meeting a couple of weeks ago where I stood out on the track in my work skirt and esperdrilles and told a group of parents that I was the default manager, but obviously not a coach. One parent piped up — "well, who's going to teach our boys to pitch?"

Yeah, my point EXACTLY.

Our group had a few dads who said they would be more than happy to help, but their jobs wouldn't let them make a full-time commitment. A few are oil and gas guys, another a firefighter, another a lineman ... fine, but commit to what you can and let's take it game by game. We had enough parents to pull it off, probably.

There was grumbling.

So, I said, "Look, I don't want to have to tell my kid he can't play baseball this year. I don't know what I'm doing but I'm going to do what I can." I really said that, then immediately regretted committing to more.

I set up more practice. Last week, I spent much of my free time sending emails to parents, picking up uniforms and equipment, and filling out paperwork. Basically, I nagged and nagged and nagged until I had a whole folder of volunteer forms and concussion training certificates. Nearly every parent on our team is registered, probably not qualified, but registered to be out on the field if need be. When I turned this fat packet in to one of the board members, he laughed, saying he hadn't seen more organization from any team so far.

I thought I'd really accomplished something!

Last night was our first game. We had coaches, an ump, and even someone who knew how to keep score. I was in charge of the dugout.

I had no control of the dugout. It was like Boys Gone Wild only they were shooting Gatorade and talking about cups. "Every time I play ball I get hit in the nuts," one boy said. "Awwww," the boys chimed back.

Me: "Boys, don't say nuts."

Them: "Are we supposed to be wearing cups?"

Me: "I don't know. Ask your dads."

It went on and on this way, except remember, they're all 7ish so in the meantime there's some lying on the ground, others spitting, another crying ... I felt like I was sitting in the dugout of the "Bad News Bears" only their wasn't any alcohol.

It didn't make it any better that we didn't know all the kids' names. I think that fact alone helped us get stomped 5-0.

The boys were sad. Glove throwing, cussing, more crying.

Losing sucks.

We have another practice next week where I'm going to strongly encourage some names on jerseys. And next time, I'm coming to the dugout with the biggest bucket of gum Sam's club sells and using to wisely.



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Way to stick with it.

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