Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Boy of Summer

In the words of John Belushi, Holy SH*T!!!!!

Today Adam's little league team played a playoff game. Their opponents were the Senior League Red Sox. The parents were realistic-- the Yankees had had a rough couple of weeks. They lost their last five games of the season, including two in a row to the Red Sox-- a scheduled game and a rainout make-up. Not only had we lost to them, they clobbered us-- one game, they nearly invoked the "slaughter" rule (up by 15 runs). Frankly, most of us thought that this was going to be the end of the season today.

My ex, however, had noticed something-- that most of our losses were in games scheduled for the end of the day-- 5:30 p.m games. Some of the big hitters play in other leagues-- some of the boys had come to the games after another baseball and a soccer game. I won't even go into the wisdom of that-- and how fair it is to the rest of the guys on the team. In any event, today's game was a 9:00 a.m. game.

The coach had asked the guys to get there at 7:30 a.m to take some fielding and hitting practice. We were the first ones there. Teammate Tory arrived a few minutes later. Ten minutes later, a half dozen of the boys were there.

In the other two games against the Red Sox, they'd gotten off to five or six run leads in the first inning, and our guys never caught up. This time, things were different. The Yankees kept the Red Sox from scoring in the first inning, and then they came out swinging. They scored three runs in the bottom of the first, and never lost the lead after that. They scored five more runs, while the Red Sox scored two the whole game. We won 8-2.

My ex and I rolled our eyes a little bit-- with the dozens of practices and games since April, we're at the point where we're ready for the season to end... but damn it was good to see them win!

Coach Rick had gotten wise to the traditional dumping of the water cooler over him that followed victories. Apparently, Adam was the ringleader of a plan; while he and one of his teammates faked him out with one cooler...

...the other guys got him with the water cooler.

Next Saturday we play the A's, who are expected to win it all. The A's coach had been there watching the game, scouting the team his would have to play next week.

He's a legend in the league-- he takes it way too seriously, and he's a a cheat and a notoriously poor sport. Two years ago, when his team came in second instead of their usual first, he got his team to boo the first place team at the awards ceremony. If I had been in charge of the league, I would never have let him coach another game in the league after that incident.

After the game yesterday, the Red Sox players told us one thing-- beat the A's.

As the game ended, Tory and Adam were off playing catch, just like they'd been when the rest of the team got there a few hours before. They'd been playing baseball for over three hours, and what did they want to do? Play more baseball. They obviously love the game.

Adam and I celebrated the victory by walking over to "Wayne's World" icon Chicago Joe's for brunch...

...and then a bike ride.

Win or lose next Saturday, there'll be more baseball for him-- and me. He wants to try his hand at pitching next season. I'd bought a a catcher's mask a couple of years ago after the second time I got hit in the face by a pitch I missed. His pitching's gotten a lot faster. I had to add a catcher's mitt-- I'd been using my regular fielder's mitt up to now-- and a chest protector recently.

A couple of weeks ago, Adam and I were playing catch, and I was thinking about how damned sore I was already from playing catch the day before, and how much more sore I was going to be the next day. And then I remembered something my father told me a few years ago. One evening, in a moment of candor, he told me that he regretted not spending more time with my 2 brothers and I, and to remember that you get your kids for such a tiny fraction of their lives.

In a few years, my son will be off to college, studying whatever he decides to, making the most important friendships he'll make in his life, having romances, and following his bliss. It'll be the time of his life.

In the meantime, this is the time of my life.


Bubs said...

Wonderful. It's good that you remembered your dad's advice, it's important. I feel the pangs nearly every day as I watch my daughters go on their way, and it's a funny feeling to be so proud and happy and yet sad and nostalgic all at the same time. You clearly do an excellent job of being a dad.

I just heard a story from a friend the other day, a friend of his died at 42 or 43 of an aneurysm. He was a Chicago cop who worked tons of overtime and side jobs, had bought a few apartment buildings as income properties over the years, and was planning on retiring early, right after hitting 20 years. He was in his car on his way to work a side job when he died. He'd takend thousands and thousands of overtime hours as comp time (which he'd often use to take days off to work second jobs) and now his widow will get paid the dollar equivalent of all that unused time off.

'Bubbles' said...

Amen, JY.

It is great that you get it.

When my dad was retired and his health was failing, my mom told me that he used to sit and look through the family photo albums for hours. He told her that he had missed a lot of it, even though he was there.

Congrats on the great baseball game!!

GETkristiLOVE said...

JYen: I can really tell that you are having the time of your life. You are so cute every time you say "we won". It's very endearing. Both you and Adam are lucky bastards.

Splotchy said...

Fantastic post, jy. I can't really comment on it any better than bubs, 'bubbles' and kristi did.

Though... might I suggest you continue living a long happy life without injury and refrain from taking pictures whilst riding your bike?!!