Softball or a Cage Fight–it’s hard to tell

“She’s OOOUUUTTTAAAA HEEEYAAHHHH” booms the umpire. We cheer. From across the field the coach storms over to the UMP. “Out? OUT? Whaddya mean OUT? She ain’t out!” The ump quietly answers. The quiet answer made the little bald coach scream louder, and louder and louder. We heard ‘safety bag’ ‘base line’ and ‘rules’. One by one the players start sitting down. The conversation continues. The coach at this point looks like a stressed out ommpla-loompa. I look over to the other moms and say, “Don’t make me take off my earrings.” Another mom says, “…or make me turn my ball cap backwards.” We were teasing about having to join the fray. Keep this in mind. It will come into play later.

A good 5 minutes later the Ump has had enough. He puts back on his face mask and strides to home plate leaving the irate Pillsbury Dough Boy behind. “Play ball!” he calls. Shrinky-dink implodes. He screams and hollers and tells his player not to come out of the dug-out “cause we ain’t taking the field until this is settled.” Oh for God’s sake. Give her the base. These are 10 year old little girls. I’d rather give her the base then continue to deal with this idiot. Tensions mount. Our girls are in the field in 90degree heat, confused, hot and confused.

Finally play continues. Whew.

We get out of that inning with no more fanfare. It’s our turn at bat. Out comes a pitcher the size of an NFL Linebaker. Seriously, her shoulders were broader than my husbands. Her warm up pitches are terrifying. It’s like Optimus Prime throwing a softball. Our player takes the plate. “SCHWACK” Our player takes to the dirt screaming. The pitch has hit her knee. Eventually the coaches get her up and moving. She limps to first. A few batters later, “SCHWACK!” we cringe from the stands because by now we know that sound. Sure enough the SCHWACK is immediately followed by cries of pain. This time it was a foot.

Pitchers dad comes over to our side of the field and starts shouting encouragement to the Lilly Linebacker. In one glance her size made perfect sense. He was built like the business end of a mack truck. “Don’t you be worried about that. You doin’ great. Doin’ great!” he bellows. Don’t be worried about that? This girl is single handedly (literally since you pitch with one arm) taking out our team one-by-one. My daughter steps on deck with her big eyes wide in terror.

Sidebar: My girl had been experiencing some fear at the plate. Just this morning I told her to stay in the batter’s box and to not be afraid. I also told her that it would sting but it wouldn’t HURT and that if she got hit I would give her $5.00. Win-Win. She got to take a base and make some money in the process.

Back to the story….

In the batter’s box my little girl…looking much littler compared to the sledge hammer on the pitchers mound…looks at me. “$10,” the look she gave me would have been funny had I not been afraid for her safety. She looks back at Amazonia and then back at me and shook her head as if the say there was no way $10 was enough for what she was about to endure. I couldn’t disagree.

Luckily my lefty got walked…without injury. We escape the inning. Well…not really. Mr. Mack Truck comes over and says, very politely I admit, “Your girls said something to my girl about tying her shoe laces together and she’s crying in the dugout. Please ask your girls not to talk like that.” What in the world was he talking about? I looked over at another mom hoping for a translation. Another mom beat me to it and says A softball mom behind me says, also very politely, “I assure you we aren’t that kind of team. We don’t play that way and don’t teach our girls to play that way.” He goes away. It was a very benign exchange expect for the fact that a) the coaches sputtering had us rattled b) the annihilator had us upset and now c) we were being accused of something ridiculous—a comment about tying her shoes is making her cry yet we’ve got ½ our team covered in ice packs. Really? Luckily he walks away.

Next inning the TERROR takes the mound again. I ask, “Is there a rule as to how many girls she can injure before they have to take her out?” No one knows. Sure enough. One of our batters steps timidly up to the plate. “THWUMP”. The impact is so great that our little player is knocked back off the plate like a stunt man in a movie…you know the scene…he’s running to a burning car and it explodes-BAM knocking him off his feet and onto his back. It’s not funny but the song ‘Another one bites the dust’ seems appropriate at this point. “Don’t you worry about that…don’t you worry bout that. Part of the game girl, parta the game.” We aren’t cage fighting here sir. It’s 9-10 year old softball for crying out loud. No one pays him any attention as our attention was on our injured player. It was several minutes before they had her upright and moving. This one had us seriously scared. Even the UMP looks uncertain as they help her to first base.

Next batter. 2nd pitch. “BAYAM”. Another foot becomes the victim of Gargantuan. “How many more Ump? How many more?” softball mom of the latest injured player leaps of the bleachers and to the fence. From across the field Mack Daddy is screaming, “It’s part of the game lady!” Softball mom pays him no attention-she is heading to check her daughter with me right behind her. I can feel my softball earrings slapping against my neck. Here is where things go from BAD to worse. Sputtering dough boy aka COACH is yelling, “You shut up. You shut up!” to the mom of the injured player. “You get your player off the field,” is yelled back. I grab mom by the arm just the word DUMB ASS is yelled. Another voice is suddenly in the mix, “You are acting crazy—–“ to the Pillsbury Dough Boy who is still shouting. Out of the corner of my eye I see an orange shirt throw his thumb in the air, “You are outta here,” he says to the man that is trying to get the coach to calm down. Holy crap. Softball mom goes one way. Coach shuts up. Ejected Dad is still trying to figure out why he’s ejected…it’s a mad house. I slink back to the bleachers.

Our calm-cool and collected coach comes to the fence, “You gotta calm down,” he says to the group at large. Ump comes over and ask if we are okay. We nod. Okay. Everyone take a deep breath and settle down just a bit. In the quiet a roar happens, “Don’t you take my girl outta this game like that, don’t you dare,” Daddy Gargantuan is screaming at the coach. The amazon is heading to first, crying. Our player is limping to the same base. I want to cry. Ejected Dad’s daughter is crying. The coaches look around in bewilderment. “everyone’s crying! Forget fist pumps-I am just going to give the all hugs when they come into the dugout.”

Welcome to the world of little league.



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