Bolla di calcio. Leave it to over-protective Italian mothers to come up with this.
This is dedicated to my friends, the 2014 Astros Moms.
July 18, 2014. I plan to savor every minute of today. It’s the last day of the last road tournament of my youngest son’s youth baseball career. We’re all riding high off the excitement of a late inning victory last night and the hope of one last national championship, but I know when it’s over, win or lose, the reality will hit and we’ll all be a little sad. The reality is, it’s the last day of the last road tournament of our sons’ youth baseball careers. I feel a twinge of melancholy now before the first pitch is even thrown.
It has been a privilege to watch my son and his teammates become men on the diamond. As a baseball mom, I’ve steered clear of dugouts, bullpens and cages. My place has been on the sidelines, breathing sighs of relief on my son’s good days and suppressing the urge to gnaw off my own arm when I helplessly watch him struggle. Today, there is a perch reserved just for me in the bleachers and while I’ll be watching and cheering, adrenaline pulsing through my veins and a towel on my head (a story for another blog), I know it will be a little different.
In the back of my mind, I’ll know it’s the last day of the last road trip. There’s something special about being on the road. There’s a special sort of bonding that happens. It is on road trips that you realize teammates are more than friends. They are brothers. It is on the road when “team” means family.
These young men have been together for a long time. It’s hard to imagine that soon they will scatter. With scholarships waiting, I’m excited about what the future holds for each and every one of these players and most especially for my son. I’ve no doubt they will cross paths again and will stay in touch. The future is bright, but the truth is, after today it will never be the same. So just for today when the ump shouts, “Ballgame,” I’ll let myself be a little sad, watching from the sidelines, as this chapter finally comes to an end.
© Copyright 2014 Just Another Ordinary Day by Antoinette Datoc All Rights Reserved
There is a compendium of unwritten mandates in baseball that fall under the umbrella of things you just don’t do. The majority of them serve to prevent baseball moms from embarrassing their sons and themselves… but mostly their sons… in public. You can learn more about them here. Others provide a code of conduct aimed at maintaining harmony within the baseball mom community. They prohibit stuff like gossiping about other people’s kids, negative cheering, brown-nosing coaches and perhaps most importantly, punching other baseball moms in the head no matter how annoying they may be.
The need for rules governing laundry room etiquette may seem odd if you’re a soccer mom or a basketball mom or a swimming mom or any other sort of mom, but if you’re a baseball mom you know restoring your son’s uniform to its pristine, pre-game condition is serious business. If you’re a baseball mom you should also know unless AND ONLY UNLESS you are the mom designated to wash uniforms for your entire team on a road trip, you must NEVER monopolize the hotel guest laundry facility by doing consecutive, multiple loads of laundry when people are waiting to use the washing machines. Period. It’s the one-load-only-when-there-is-a-line-for-the-hotel-washing-machine rule (henceforth know as the one-load-only rule). It may be unwritten, but it’s still a rule and should never be violated. Just don’t do it.
The one-load-only rule is rooted in simple common sense, fundamental good manners and good old-fashioned consideration for others, but you’d be surprised at the number of women parading around as “baseball moms” who feign obliviousness to the one-load-only rule. These women should not be allowed to call themselves baseball moms. If it were up to me I’d ban them from baseball (or at least from hotel laundry rooms) for life.
I do not care if you are traveling with your entire family including two teenaged daughters, each of whom changes clothes three times daily and a grandpa who soiled his trousers when Junior was proclaimed safe on a close play at the plate. I don’t care what your whiny excuse is. It is non-negotiable. It’s rude and inconsiderate and I shouldn’t even need to write about it, but I’ll say it again. You never violate the one-load-only rule. JUST DON’T DO IT.
This actually happened a couple of nights ago in the baseball mecca of Ft. Myers, Florida. A woman from New Jersey (let’s call her Garden State mom) violated the one-load-only rule when she tied up the only two washers and dryers available in the Homewood Suites for more than four hours. I’m not kidding. This was a particularly egregious violation because 1) the majority of her soiled laundry was non-baseball and 2) the line for the machines snaked out the laundry room door, about thirty feet down the hall into the lobby. As Garden State mom started transferring her first two loads from the washers to the dryers, it became obvious to all of us waiting that only a fraction of her laundry was dirty baseball stuff.
One rule-savvy baseball mom from Texas (Lone Star State mom) called her out on it, but Garden State mom played ignorant, “I’m heeeyah with my entiyah family and they were at the beach awll day. Whaddya expect me to do widdit? Take it awll home dirty?” A couple of South Carolina (Palmetto State) baseball moms waiting in the hall poked their heads in the door and chimed in with a few snarky comments of their own.
I thought (hoped) a riot might ensue, something tantamount to a bench clearing brawl that would allow me to act on my exceedingly strong urge to punch Garden State mom squarely in the head. Luckily, the words just don’t do it popped into my brain at the exact moment that I stood up to cock my fist in her direction. Given my normal peace-loving nature, I found the whole thing very unsettling and briefly considered retreating to the safe haven of my room in order to save myself from doing something that would require my husband to post bail on my behalf.
The thing is, I still had a filthy baseball uniform that needed my tender loving care and like most self-respecting baseball moms, I take my laundry responsibility very seriously. It occurred to me, good things come to those who wait so I waited. I suppressed the urge to pummel Garden State mom and I waited…and waited… all the while quietly repeating the baseball mom’s mantra just don’t do it just don’t do it just don’t do it until it was my turn.
The next day we arrived at the field and wouldn’t you know it. My son’s team was playing the New Jersey (a.k.a Garden State) Tigers. We won 15 to 0 in three innings by a mercy rule. I scanned the bleachers for Garden State mom because I sort of wanted to gloat, but I didn’t see her, plus I thought just don’t do it and that’s when it occurred to me. Good things come to those who wait… and play by the rules.
© Copyright 2014 Just Another Ordinary Day by Antoinette D. Datoc All Rights Reserved
Lots of players have talent, but grace and humility is what makes the ordinary baseball player extraordinary. Tip your hat to this guy. #2 Derek Jeter, NOT just another ordinary major league baseball player.