Put my kid in there, coach

Features Columnist

T. Gamble

T. Gamble

Well, I know summer is almost here because the 7- and 8-year-old machine-pitch baseball league is holding the year-end tournament to decide which team managed to sneak in the most 9- and 10-year-olds to win the tournament.

Seven- and 8-year-old ball is not quite as rigorous as T-ball but it still has plenty of action. The field is still full of slobbering, whining, name-calling, inappropriate outfits and human beings who have absolutely no business whatsoever even entering a ball field.

But enough about the parents. Let’s discuss the kids instead.

The kids generally still don’t really care too much who wins or loses, but instead focus on real issues like if anyone brought frozen Fla-Vor-Ice ice or if they can ride on the all-terrain vehicle when no one is looking. The parents, on the other hand, take the tournament as life and death. You’ve never really seen a good umpire cussing out until you’ve seen the mother of a 7-year-old kid who just struck out for the 28th consecutive time tear in the ump for calling the kid out on a full-swing missed third strike. Never mind that the mother never played baseball and thinks Babe Ruth is a candy bar. Today she is an expert on everything from the infield fly rule, which no one except Don Sutton and Bobby Cox fully understands, to the catcher missed third-strike rule.

The cussing out is generally exponentially increased in severity by what I call the poundage rule. The poundage rule states that for every 10 pounds overweight the mother is, the cussing out will increase in intensity by 10 percent. So, a 10-pound overweight Mom will deliver a pretty good cussing out, but a 100-pound overweighter will be 100 percent worse, so on and so forth. Those 300 pounds and up will generally reach hall of fame cussing by stringing together as many as 10 cuss words without a single noun, verb or breath taken.

In this league, there also has never been a losing team in the history of 7/8-year-old ball that did not at least whisper that the big kid who hit the three-run homer must be at least 10 years old. No self-respecting 7/8-year-old parent is ever allowed to admit the other team may — just saying may — be better than your 7- and 8-year-olds. Parents are also required to believe their kid should be batting fourth, playing shortstop and signing autographs before the game, never mind that the kid still can’t hit off a tee, has trouble walking more than 10 steps without tripping or running out of air, and he’s wearing his glove on the wrong hand. All of these problems are created, of course, by the coach, who doesn’t know his you-know-what from a hole in the ground.

With this said, I’m fully expecting the 8-year-old Hurricane boy to hit three game-winning homers and dive over the fence to catch the game winning out from his position in right field, where he should never be playing if only the coach recognized that he should be playing shortstop because he is a very nimble 114-pound 8-year-old. I’m sure he will hit the homers because he’s due, having just come off an 0-for-15 skid, which was mainly caused by bad umpiring because he came to bat right after the ump had been cussed out by a 310-pound woman. It is hard to get a good third strike call from an ump who has just been cussed out by a 310-pound woman.

We are also required to complain that any south Georgia team that beats us is without question redneck. Yep, those rednecks from Shellman, or Edison, or Buena Vista, ‘cause everyone knows we don’t have any rednecks in Dawson as I watch the game in my wife-beater t-shirt, drinking a beer from a plastic cup, all with a hat on that says, “My wife ran off with my best friend and I sure do miss him.”

So, to the tournament we head. If we lose those cheaters played the fifth-graders again. If we win, well why shouldn’t we with all that great skill and excellent parenting?

Contact columnist T. Gamble at t@colliergamble.com.