Seriously weather we already did this once. Back in February you waited until the very end of winter to start snowing like crazy. Now you’re waiting until the very end of summer to heat it up to 100 degrees. I think it sucks. And I want you to stop.
Last weekend we spent all day Saturday and Sunday outside at softball tournaments for Kinz and Bails. We threw in a four hour dance class for Rye on Sunday just to bolster the logistics.
Saturday didn’t start out too badly. Bails had a doubleheader that started at 9. Usually takes a little over 3 hours to get both games in. We arrived at the fields and lo and behold they pretty darn nice. Plus lots of shade to go along with a nice morning breeze. And I got to help warm the girls up by hitting grounders to them. I admit, it was fun. Bails is playing 10U ball but her team is the third best of four 10U teams for our local girls softball association. So they are playing in a “rookie” league which means that its regular softball until the pitcher throws four balls and then the coach comes in to pitch to his or her own players. Coaches are limited to 5 pitches. Bails doesn’t really have any confidence that she can hit off the pitcher and almost always waits for the coach to come in. She almost always hits off the coach. As do the rest of the girls on her team. In this coach-pitch league they are 5-1.
At the same time I’m out watching Bails, Mom is watching Kinz play two games at our local fields. Our softball association is in charge of the tournament. Good news is that the fields are 10 minutes from the house. Bad news is that we have to volunteer to help with various things. Kinz’ team goes 1-1 in the morning, she gets a couple hits and plays a clean second base. She’s done playing for the day. But we told her and Riley that were going to come watch Bailey play later.
Later you say? Yup. After all the morning games are done, we get a break before Bails has two more games in the evening. Bails’ team is playing in the same tournament as Kinsey’s team except at the 10U level instead of 12U. But this tournament is all girl-pitch no coach-pitch. Also means that nearly all the teams in the tournament are the second, not third, best teams in their respective softball associations. So we’re pretty much just assuming two losses. The other thing you can assume with evening games is that they will start late. First game is supposed to start at 5. We arrive about 4:15 for warm-ups. Heat is mid-90’s. After warming up for 30 minutes, we walk to our field only to see the game before us go into extra innings. Lots of extra innings.
About 6, we start. Around 7:15 the game ends. We managed to get a runner to second base as the result of a walk and a steal. That’s it. No hits. To be fair, the girl pitching against us was throwing faster than the 12U pitcher in the game directly behind us. She also was the size of a Big 12 linebacker. You should have seen the look on Bails’ face when the first pitch came across the plate, belt high, at what must have looked like 217 mph. I’m just going to paraphrase what she was thinking but I’m pretty sure it was “you gotta be f’ing kidding me.”
Again, just guessing. Pure conjecture.
But the late start in the first evening game led to a late start in the second evening game. A 6:30 game became a 7:30 game. We literally walked right from one field onto the another, no warm up, barely even broke stride and the girls went right to their positions.
Temperature? A sticky 90. Now, to recap, this team is made up of girls under the age of 10. They are what can be described as the “C” team. Some of the girls are good enough to play on the “B” team. But what holds them back is that their attention spans and concentrations levels are not at optimum levels. Then you decide to play FOUR FREAKING GAMES IN ONE FREAKING DAY. Oh and you mix in some humid late summer 90 degree weather. And, as every parent knows, oppressively hot and humid weather really brings out the best in every 10 year kid.
We got a runner to third in this game. Small victory. But still no hits. At one point late in the game, one of Bailey’s coaches goes up to her and asks her to bunt. She, as she does with most things, considers this a request and not an order. She considered it for about two seconds and then said “no.” Coach dropped his head faster than Magnum when Higgins used to start telling stores about how he was there when the Bridge Over the River Kwai was destroyed. Coach had the look of a man who knew he had no options other than to just accept defeat to a 9 year old blond in a pony tail and cleats.
Have I mentioned that Bails’ team also had two more games scheduled the next day. A day in which it was supposed to be hotter. First game at 2:30. Right at the time when the sun should be hovering around a temperature level of flamethrower. Woo hoo. Also, Kinsey’s team has two more games at 11 & 2.
How could it get better? Just as that second so-called game is ending I get an email from Kinz’ coach – “Just got word that our team has gate duty 7am-9am Sunday morning.”
So quick recap – of the 13 hours between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., Mom and I have each spent roughly 10.5 of those hours at softball fields. Now news comes that one of us gets to be back at the fields just before 7 a.m. for gate duty. Upon receipt of the email Mom says, “Well you can go date duty or take the kids to church. Which one do you want to do?”
Which meant I volunteered myself for gate duty. Truth be told, it wasn’t bad. But if we’re being completely honest here, if I’m outside at 6:45 a.m. on a Sunday it better be in the parking lot at Heinz Field while I’m tailgating before a Steelers game. Two hours of gate duty later, plus two more hours of just walking around visiting with folks, I finally got to watch Kinz play. They lost 10-4. The good news is that we only had about an hour to wait for our next game to start which we won 10-9 in extra innings. Kinz scored a couple runs and recorded the last out in the top half of the last inning when she covered first on a bunt. She drops the throw and a run would have scored. So good job outta Kinz!
Kinsey’s second game ended about 3:30. A quick check of my watch tells me that I’ve now been outside since just before 7. It’s about this time when you realize how gross you feel. You and your clothes are all sweaty and covered with that crusty dust from the softball fields. I tried to come up with a word to truly describe how I felt standing out in the heat. That word is “swampy.” And I mean that in the grossest possible way.
So we grab all of Kinz’ gear and head home. She heads for the shower and I head across town to Bails’ games which started at 2. I get there just in time to see her get left in the on-deck circle as the first game ends. No big deal, schedule said her second game starts at 3:30. So I figure its gonna start any minute. But, alas, there’s been a change. The winner of the first game plays at 3:30, the loser plays at 5. We of course lost. But I learn from Mom and some other parents that we got a few hits and actually scored some runs. Lost 11-3. I hang out till about 4:30 when we remember that Riley is at dance and somebody needs to pick her up at 5. Before a decision is formally reached on which one of us should go, I’m gone. Literally. I just started walking. Aside from the time in the car between field complexes, I’ve been outside in 90-plus degrees for 9.5 hours. So I just kinda decided I’m not staying. I pick up Rye, go the grocery store, and water the newly germinated grass seed I have down before finally making it inside for my first shower since 7 a.m. Saturday. Which, if you think about it, kinda sucks. If this was say back in ’91 and I was outside all day because of softball it would have been because I was playing in some college intramural tournament. And when we finally finished I would just drive home, shower up and crank the Trixter and Firehouse and rock out. But now we have these damn kids. So before I can shower I have to do all this, well, crap. When really all I want is a freaking shower.
And listen, it was a long shower. Wouldn’t have been surprised if the city called during my shower to complain about excessive water use. Once out, I check my phone to discover that Bailey’s second game was of course delayed. Didn’t start at 5. Almost made it to 6 before they started. Mom got home about 7:45. Which, if you take the time to track the mileage between the fields Bails’ team was on and our house you conclude she was driving over 85 all the way home. Not that I blame her. Totally justified.
The good news is that the heat is so stupidly ridiculous right now we went until Wednesday before we had any softball practices. Tonight Bails is back on the field too. But that’s after she and Kinsey have dance. Yeah, we’re slowly but surely cranking back up the other activities. But we’ve still got at least a month left of fall softball. Including another tournament for Kinsey the weekend. Three games on Saturday. Yay. Her games also unfortunately collide with Iowa State’s home opener. So something’s gotta give there…