The Sandlot

June 23, 2009

This weekend wrapped up baseball for the Dodgers…not the LA Dodgers, but Omaha’s beloved KWAA 10-year-old Dodgers. They started off the season looking like the Bad News Bears. They threw with such little accuracy that they only thing they did less successfully than throw the ball was CATCH it. They couldn’t pitch, they couldn’t field, but they could WATCH a pitcher…and they could steal bases. Early in the season, boy did they. It was the one thing they all loved to do. They’d watch those pitches, praying to get walked so they could stand on 1st and jet their way daringly around to 3rd…the bases would be loaded with players who had stared down that pitcher and DARED him to throw another ball. And then they’d steal…even daring to steal home if they got the chance.

As the season went on, however, the competition learned how to field the stealing of bases but it seemed for many games the Dodgers did not. Bear struggled through many games, it’s hard to stay focused when you’re down by double digits. It prompted his father to say over and over, “that boy’s got a lot of quit in him.”

One game, late in the season, the boys found something they had been lacking. They started an inning up…WAY up on the score. They found confidence and they found drive….and they WON. Then there was no stopping them, they’d figured it out. They’d seen themselves make plays, smash the ball, and yes, even steal home again. They became a team and IT. WAS. AWESOME. The games were heart stopping at times. They won 5 in a row, many times only by one run…but it was enough. They were WINNERS. Teams were now talking about them. Coaches were saying, “Don’t underestimate the Dodgers, they came here to win!” The season was saved.

Then…it was tournament time, the Dodgers have played together for a couple of years so historically, for them, the tournament meant one and done. But this year, they found the love of the game. They had heart. They won the first game in the tournament. Then came the second game, THE ANGELS. The second toughest team in the league. The Dodgers played hard. They made plays. They lost a pitcher, due to a “lack of protection” injury, their catcher tried to make a play at home plate and got his fingers stepped on (I thought he beat the runner, but I’m, unfortunately, not the ump.) and they nearly lost a first baseman to a midair collision with the runner. They played their hearts out and in the last inning, they tied it up.

The Dodgers were up to bat first, they scored two runs. One of them was Bear stealing home plate…It’s his favorite thing to do. I don’t know how many times this season I’ve tweeted “The Jet stole home! The Jet stole home!” It was fitting that he did it again during the tournament play when his team REALLY needed him.
The Angels were up to bat and the first batter up was thrown out at first. We were screaming. My heart was pounding. It was a game for all time. And then the next two batters annihilated the ball and the Angels, score two runs…the score was TIED again. Would the pitcher throw the perfect strikes? Would the outfielders make the perfect play?

No…not this year…the Angels won. The Dodgers were heartbroken. Truly, there were more teary 10 year old leaving that dugout than I’ve ever seen…EVER . But I couldn’t have been more proud. The played their hearts out. They challenged the Angels to the toughest game of the season. The Angels were scared…and lucky.

By the end of the season the Dodgers were better, They were a different team. They learned to read the players, throw the ball and catch the ball. They learned where to make the play. They learned (sort of) to listen to their coaches. I saw Bear throw the ball from left field to the catcher in an attempt to make that last play at home plate. They didn’t make the play, but the throw was dead on and the catch was solid. The Dodgers had heart. They gave everything they had to that last inning. I am so proud of my son and his team.

And a fish was born…

June 19, 2009

Last year, Bug was afraid of the water…really afraid. This summer, as we packed up to go to the pool the first several times, she HAD to take her life jacket. Then, as all her other friends were no longer wearing life jackets, she’d take her inner tube. Well, yesterday, we went swimming in the afternoon. Very few of the neighborhood kids were in the pool. She started out slow. Swimming only where she could touch in the shallow area, and never when someone was too close to coax her out further.
Little by litte, she gave in. She swam all to where she couldn’t touch. She swam further and further each time. It wasn’t long until she’d swim into me and keep going even though I couldn’t back out of the way fast enough. She swam…over and over and over again.
I’m so proud of her. She just decided that yesterday was the day to learn how to swim and she did it. But, now, I become a little more vigilant, a little more nervous, until I know that she understands her boundaries. I bet I don’t get away with being out of the pool nearly as much this summer….but that’s ok…SHE SWAM!!!!

There were two things I wanted to be when I grew up (that I can remember…it wouldn’t surprise me if the actual list was long and varied.) One of them was a baker. I mean to really own my own bakery and create baked goods for all people. And I can bake (as long as I don’t get distracted by trying to do too many other things at the same time), so it seemed legit.

So when my children asked me to go to one field trip with each of them this summer, I took the opportunity to go to Doodlecakes with Bug.

First, we decorated chef’s hats.

And then…the real fun began. We got a tube full of frosting and a sugar cookie, plus a few extras, teddy grahams, candies and assorted goodies. They taught us how to use the pastry bag and gave us ideas. Bug and I frosted away. We created a swimming pool for our teddy grahams.

And it only took us about 30 minutes to do ONE cookie…I’d have to sell all of my wares at day old pricing because it would take me so long to create even one tray of “goodies”.
Childhood dream number 1…CRUSHED…

So this week, my son wanted his summer ‘do.

“Shave it all off, Mom. Make me look sick.” (I’m confident by this he did NOT mean cancer patient, however…it may have happend, you be the judge.)

So I started shaving, from the back. As the clumps of hair started to fall, all of a sudden Bear grows quiet. In a very tight, quiet, anxious voice he says, “Uh, Mom, I changed my mind.”

WHAT?!?!? This is what he looked like at that point.

Yes, I understand that there are others in this world that strive for this look, but they tend to reside somewhere south of the Mason Dixon line. This ‘do, mullets, and rat tails are NOT allowed in my house.

I started fast talking…”What? You changed your mind, you’re 10, you CAN’T do that…at least not without my permission. Just let me finish…I promise, it will look good. Why are you worried? Your ears don’t stick out THAT far. What did you want? It’s just hair it will grow back”

He got this rather devious grin on his face and said…”Just kiddin’, Mom. I was just sarcasing you.”

Alright, son. You win this time…but I’m on to you. I know your kind well.