As you may recall, my eldest son, 8YO, tried out for Little League last weekend, and I wasn’t lying when I said the boy tore it up. After I got the phone call confirming the child’s obvious brilliance at America’s Past Time, I strutted around my office like a peacock on Viagra during mating season. That feeling was the epitome of personal achievement, because naturally I gave myself credit for instilling a sense of greatness in the boy, and our sessions of playing catch and hitting ground balls was most certainly the deciding factor in his selection. In other words, you couldn’t tell me shit.

(I’m surprised my big head could fit into the elevator that day. I swear. I need to slow my roll. It’s Little League, not American Idol – what kid DIDN’T get selected? Idiot.)

On Tuesday, I left work a little early for the team meeting, scheduled for 6pm. I got there, and DWW arrived with the superstar and 5YO. The meeting was at the baseball field, outside, in the bleachers. This is significant because on Tuesday, it was about 45 degrees and windy as a mofo outside. With the wind chill, I estimated the temperature was somewhere between “Brrrrrr” and “Hug a hobo for warmth”, and my thin jacket really wasn’t enough protection from the Arctic blast. I just hoped and prayed that the meeting would be brief. Upon arriving, we (the parents) quickly discovered one disconcerting thing: the team had no coach. Because so many kids tried out for baseball, the league had to create two new teams, and ours is one of those expansions teams. Those teams had no coaches, and the league needed someone to step up. And when I heard the call for help, I responded in the only way I could.

Fuck. That.

I wasn’t ABOUT to become a baseball coach. I didn’t have time. I didn’t have experience. I didn’t have equipment. I didn’t have a clue. So when the lady said she needed someone to to coach the team, I suddenly found my shoes to be quite interesting. When she later repeated that someone needed to volunteer to coach, I found a cloud that looked just like Halle Berry. After about 20 minutes of going over the season and things the kids and team will need, the league official said “Listen, we have to have a coach, so we’re not leaving here today until one of you steps up.” You would’ve thought she said “I know one of you left a turd on the coffee table, so no one leaves until someone fesses up.” Guys started saying why they COULDN’T do it: schedule, lack of experience, rap sheet…the reasons kept coming. I didn’t say a damn thing. Finally, a guy in short sleeves surrendered to the cold and said “OK, I’ll do it.” Praise be to Jesus. And THEN, dissatisfied, the league official lady said “And we need some assistants.” One guy who didn’t want to head coach immediately jumped up and volunteered for that, and when no one else would even make eye contact with her, I heard my mouth saying “Well, I’ve played baseball…maybe I could help out too.” Hearing a voice that sounded like mine, I looked around, only to discover that the other dads were looking at me with relief in their eyes, and the league official and other coaches were all thanking me for participating. I had seriously just volunteered to be an assistant coach. Holy shit.

The first practice for our team (which I’ll call The Badgers, because that’s just plain funny) was Saturday morning. I nervously took 8YO there to meet the other two coaches, and the 12 man team. Since I know I’ll be talking about these kids in the future (and in this post today), I’ll go ahead and assign codenames so I can freely talk shit.

  • Ringer – tall and fast and with lots of baseball experience. Hits like a high schooler, and he’s only 8.
  • Crier – a small fella, first year playing, and very afraid of the game itself.
  • Specs – another first year, but rangy and with good eyes and coordination.
  • Rounder – short and fat, and runs like a piggy bank on its hind legs. First year.
  • Brat – this one’s gonna be trouble. He talked CONSTANTLY, has trouble listening, and generally won’t let the other kids do anything without him either (a) jumping in and taking over, or (b) criticizing them somehow. Also, while I was running a catch and throw drill, Brat decided that he’d play a game called “Attack the Coach”, and started hitting me with his glove. I then played a game called “You Better Take Your Little Chicken McNugget Ass Back To Your Squad Or You’ll Run Laps Until The Sun Goes Down.” I predict a lot of laps for him.
  • CS – coach’s son. Good kid, relatively unremarkable so far. Has experience.
  • ACS – assistant coach’s son. He’s got skills, ’cause the other assistant coach used to be a head coach, and ACS has played for several years.
  • Shrimp – tiny little guy with glasses, not many skills, but pretty fearless.
  • 8YO – my young ward. Can hit well, needs to focus more in the field.
  • Hot Shot – son of an ex-coach, who corrected him non-stop. He’s played before, and is pretty good.
  • 2 other kids I can’t remember. Hey, it was my first practice. I can’t expect to remember EVERYONE. Damn.

We practice Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, each of which coincides with a band rehearsal. Yay me. Looks like I’ll be going straight from work to pick up 8YO, go straight to BB practice, take him home, inhale some dinner while standing up, and immediately set off for band practice. Those days are gonna suck hard. I think the weirdest part of the whole thing was having to buy my 8 year old son an athletic supporter, and then watching 5 or 6 kids in the practice whacking themselves in the weenus repeatedly to demonstrate the effectiveness of the equipment. Freaky, man.

I’ll keep you posted on my coaching progress. It’ll be interesting, for damn sure.