Little League Is Bringing Us Closer

Father & Son ready for Little League opening day

BR & I ready for Little League opening day



This past weekend was the big game. It was opening day of my 10-year-old’s first season of Little League Baseball. And it was opening day for me as a coach.

Yup, just another day on the calendar. Nope!

P.S. You may recall that yesterday Mom in the Muddle did a guest post here on my blog. Today, I am guesting on her blog, so to read the post, click MMK on Mom in the Muddle’s blog. Enjoy.

I Can’t Handle the Little League Sidelines

Parents viewing a little league game

Parents Viewing a Little League Game

Little league Baseball season is upon us and today is the first day of a home and home series. The visiting team is Mom in the Muddle. Karen is the coach, eh blogger, at Mom in the Muddle.

She blogs about stumbling through parenthood at Mom in the Muddle. She writes, edits, parents, and whips up last-minute dinners while trying to survive her kids’ math homework.

I enjoy Karen’s blog very much and look forward to each post. So after reading her post here, make sure to go check out Mom in the Muddle.

I Can’t Handle the Sidelines

I’m pretty sure it was one of the reasons I stopped playing. I knew it even then. In fourth grade, I played softball and I wasn’t very good. When the ball was hit to my patch of centerfield grass, I ran for it and threw it in. I threw it to whoever looked most eager to get it in her glove. Only my aim sucked. My eyes looked at her outstretched hand, but the ball went six feet to the left.

I used to sit in the dugout and pray my turn wouldn’t come up. Standing at the plate, I could hear the parents in the stands. Maybe they meant for me to. “Come on, hit the ball!” They weren’t using encouraging tones. They weren’t being helpful.

As a parent, I’ve sat on the sidelines through enough games and enough sports to know that I’m not cut out for this sort of thing. I hate sitting in the stands, hearing the other parents. My kids are 8 and 11, and I already hate the other parents in the stands. I hate hearing them chuckle when a kid messes up, and not just my kid. I hate the parents who scream at the top of their lungs to their own kid, “Shoot the ball! Get it, Bobby! GET IT! GET IT! GET IIIITTTTT!” I wonder whether I’m going to have to slide over when the guy’s heart attack kicks in.

I hate the parents who forget that these kids are still learning the game, and this is not the big leagues, folks. I hate the coaches who teach the kids to push the rules.

I get angry at the kids out there who call the other kids “asses” and bully them so hard that you have to have a talk with your kid after the game about being the better man and good sportsmanship—when the talk you really want to have is, take that kid down.

I’ve heard parents laugh at my kids, yell at them, and yell at their own during all sorts of sports through the years. I’ve had to get up and walk away.

I’ve learned to sit on the grassy hill to watch baseball games, on the other end of the field during soccer games, and on the floor against the wall during basketball games. I try not to sit with the other parents. One man last year yelled so loudly so often at his son during a game, that I had to cover my ears and finally had to move. My son told me later he was glad my husband and I didn’t do that.

I do a lot of clapping during the games. I clap for my kids and other kids. I talk under my breath. A lot of times I just sit there and watch.

I remember how hard it was to be out there with so many eyes watching. Some kids are naturals. Some kids aren’t. Some kids will work hard at it and get through all that. But they don’t need some jerk in the stands to crush their spirit.

I know I never was a great athlete. I didn’t want to be. But I’ve learned more in the past eleven years about throwing a ball, shooting a basket, and kicking a soccer ball than I ever did during my own childhood because now I don’t have grown bullies bringing me down.

Pic is courtesy of Google Images

Lollipops and Popsicles: Two Generations of Sticks

Sticks - Lollipop and Popsicle - in my familyMy dad came of age in the 1940s.

Everyone smoked in the 1940s.

Every morning, he would reach for a cigarette. He smoked Kool. As he got to a certain point in life, he surely realized smoking was not cool.

However, he like many of his age and time period, was already addicted.

My dad quit smoking when he was 60. He went cold turkey. No bumming a cigarette here and there for him either. He got to the point where he could not stand having cigarette smoke around him.

While I can’t attest to his mindset as to why he quit, I can tell you his secret.

It was the sticks.  Lollipop sticks that is.

My dad’s new addiction was lollipops. He preferred Tootsie Pop lollipops to be more specific. I don’t think it was the sugar that he craved though he certainly had a sweet tooth. No, for him it was about the stick that remained after the Tootsie Pop lollipop.

Anyway, it got to the point that those lollipop sticks were everywhere in the house, my dad’s office, and his car. Where ever he was, a lollipop stick was not far.  Yes, a chewed on lollipop stick was always lurking.

To confirm what you may be thinking, it was gross. However, the other option of stinky cigarettes that made my dad hack up to the point where it scared me was much worse.

So, I choose the sticks.

BR is slim. This is not because he has a healthy diet. This is not because he is always active. This is not because he has those type of genes.

BR takes medicine for ADD. An unintended side effect of the medicine is that his appetite is suppressed. He goes through long stretches of the day where he is not interested in food. Sometimes, he complains of nausea.

There is one food that BR has never turned down – popsicles.

Every morning, he goes to the freezer to reach for a popsicle.  BR eats multiple popsicles throughout each and every day.

By the way, my wife makes the popsicles from sugar free juice. The popsicles are not my wife’s greatest recipe thought it is surely her most appreciated.

BR eats the popsicles down to the stick. In fact, he often bites the stick as well.

As you must know, chewed up popsicle sticks are nasty. And these nasty popsicle sticks can be found in BR’s bedroom, in our sofas, and on the computer desk.

Now, I would rather BR eat a healthy nutritious diet in which popsicles are not the staple. Well, at least he is eating.

Ultimately, I choose the sticks.

I’d like to think that somewhere, my Dad – who shares a name with BR – is smiling about the new generation of ‘sticks’.

I Have to Admit I Like the Passover Holiday

Boys celebrating Passover Holiday

Boys – Pre-Passover 2012. The jackets were off before the Passover Seder began.

The Passover festival begins Monday evening an hour after sundown.

However for those of us who celebrate the holiday, the thought and preparation for Passover began weeks ago.

I’m not kidding.

Passover is an all-encompassing holiday.

Of course, like most religious holidays, there is the food aspect. And food is a major factor in Passover!!! We literally get rid of all our food from the year. We either eat it, throw it away, donate it, sell it (ceremoniously) or lock it away. I’ll spare you the rules and the specifics.

I’ve been managing my food shopping the last couple of weeks so that we will have a minimal amount of food left. This takes all of my food shopping skills.

I must admit this part is fun for me.

QUICK ASIDE: I ended up bringing up some food to work this week. Why is it that people will eat anything at the work place?

This zest to rid ourselves of our food forces us to do a Spring cleaning. Now, my family and I keep a neat house. However, we have a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old. Therefore, food travels to the weirdest places. “Hey, how did that pretzel end up in the sofa cushion?”

So, add cleaning to the Passover checklist. We pay someone to clean for us every other week. On top of that, I was down on my knees on the kitchen floor. By the way, I found a pretzel there too. Mrs. MMK cleaned the cabinets and put in new contact paper. These were among other tasks.

I have to admit I do like a clean house.

Anyway, we get rid of our food. The holiday lasts eight days. Therefore, it is not a fasting holiday. So, there is food shopping to do to replace the food you are ridding your home of. This special kosher for Passover food – and it’s not just Matzah – is pricey. We have already made multiple trips to the grocery store, and I foresee another one on Monday.

Then there are clothes. There is no law that one must buy new clothes.

However, I have adopted a custom. I wear at least one new item of clothing on the first and last days of the holiday. It adds to the special nature of the Passover holiday. I can’t be the only one who is wearing new clothes in the family. So, there is clothes shopping to do for the whole family. Well, my wife takes care of herself and the boys. I simply pay for it. On that note – does anyone know of any freelance writing gigs? The bank account has taken a hit.

I have to admit I like having new clothes.

A quick note on the background of the Passover holiday.  It commemorates the Exodus of the Jewish people from their bondage in Egypt. It is a holiday that celebrates our freedom and praises G-d for what he did for us.

Ultimately, the Passover holiday is about spending time with family and friends and recalling a special time in history.

I have to admit I like spending time with family and friends.

I have to admit I like this holiday.

P.S. As part of the holiday, I am going to take a blogging break. I don’t expect to post and will not get to read the blogs of others on a regular basis over the next week and a half.