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I kept trying to think of eloquent ways of saying this; lines of flowing prose that evoke all kinds of emotions from the readers, but…I’m just gonna get straight to the point. After a lot of thought and consideration, I have decided to leave my band, Nonetheless.

It was not an easy decision. For five years I’ve defined myself in part by my role in the band. For five years I’ve been Bean (my stage name, for those who didn’t know), the wild and crazy bass guy, the man just as likely to lie down on the stage while playing as he was to jump into the crowd, the black guy in the hard rock band. That was about 33% of my entire identity, sitting equally alongside “father/husband” and “drop-dead sexy cup of cocoa”. It was a source of energy, a relief from stress, a wonderful creative outlet, a breeding groud of friendship, and overall just a nice way to spend time. It was a welcome escape.

As time goes on, though, your life begins to shift. Your focus, your priorities, they tend to become more or less prominent as situations change. And for me, the situation that was undergoing the most change was the growth and development of my kids. I’ve written many posts about 9YO and the troubles he has, but less about 5YO because…well, he doesn’t have the same issues. However, as they get older, there is an issue they both share – they want their daddy. Their reaction to me leaving 3 nights per week moved from apathy to disinterest to curiosity to outright disappointment, and the sighs of “Awww” when I walked out the door got harder and harder to bear. In addition, 9YO’s ADHD makes it incredibly hard for him to focus on homework at night (after the medication has worn off), and the nightly battles were taking their toll on DWW on those nights when I’d disappear into the darkness. I needed to make a change.

I can’t deny the obvious, though. The simple fact is that this decision was made easier by the disarray the band’s been in since earlier this year. Funny stories aside, we’ve had exactly two gigs this entire calendar year, with a lot of unfulfilled hopes in between. It hadn’t been anyone’s fault, and I’m certainly not casting blame anywhere…it is what it is. We found a great new guitarist, and thought we had a singer, but that didn’t work, and we went through several months of auditions and possibilities and uncertainty and just general lack of cohesive focus. While this alone wasn’t enough to push me to my decision, the combination of both situations proved to be too much for me to ignore.

Although I’ve stepped away from the band, I do so with no regrets. We were absolutely fantastic on stage. Locally, very few could compare with the energy, the emotion, or the skill we brought to the stage. Nonetheless could make the room form a mosh pit to a ballad, and we did that more than once. The intense sense of power and fulfullment we got from the fans was without equal, and was addicting like the most potent opiate. The vibratory buzz I felt each time before stepping on the stage made me feel like a superhero about to take flight, each time and every time. We never mailed it in. We never half-stepped. We never gave less than our ultimate best, whether there were 150 people in the room, or just 3 (which happened once). I know in my heart that, as a band, we had absolutely nothing left to prove to others, and maybe only a handful of things to prove to ourselves. I can walk away knowing these things, and knowing that I loved each of my bandmates as though they were blood relatives, and that it was that love and caring that made us who we were. If you’ve given your all, and can be proud of the results, there’s no room for regret.

And I love them still. My decision isn’t at all personal, and isn’t based on any individual’s actions or deeds. It’s purely a decision from within. This isn’t the stereotypical messy band divorce, full of acrimony and accusations and avarice. There won’t be an airing of dirty laundry or a list of wrongs or even backhanded insults aimed to make me look or feel better. It’s just the drifting apart of two parties due to a change in climate, not unlike an iceberg breaking away from a glacier. Even though leaving is incredibly bittersweet, there’s far more sweet than bitter.

To all of you who supported the band – by coming to shows, or buying CDs, or even just by listening to the music on Myspace – I thank you sincerely. And I urge you to continue supporting the band, should they decide to go forward, just as I intend to support them. My fondest wish is for their success, no matter what path they take.

NTL4EVA.

Peace.

Time for some random bullet points! Let’s rock this funky joint.

Some news about Nonetheless – good news, for once. Firstly, you can now purchase our CD on iTunes! If you have an account, just sign in and search for Nonetheless or Despite the Stereotype (the CD title), and feel free to purchase 2049854 copies for you and the nation of Uruguay. You can also purchase individual songs for $0.99, which is equally awesome in nature. If you don’t have an iTunes account, you are living in the past and should be set aside like hand-crank phonographs and VHS copies of Highlander 2.

We have a gig! We got tired of waiting around for a great singer to show up, and decided that we are strong, we are powerful, we are woman (two of us are, at least), so we went ahead and booked a show at Skillman Street Pub in Dallas on September 13th. Since we’re without a lead singer, we’re gonna have our guitarist Trip singing, I’m singing, we’re having some guest appearances, and we’re even gonna let the crowd hop up there and belt out a song or two. And did I mention that it’s a FREE show? Free as in free? Bring your asses out if you’re in town. We’re doing an 18 song setlist, which is kinda like doing distance running with asthma for a band that hasn’t gigged since February. Come see us.

Speaking of not having a lead singer…we still don’t. But we’ve auditioned a guy who seems promising. He’s coming back out tonight for a second look. We’ve learned to make people sing for us at least twice if we like them, because even a blind squirrel can find a nut SOME days, and that initial audition can often be misleading. We had a guy come out last week who sounded decent, but when he returned on Tuesday, he couldn’t replicate that performance. It’s worth the extra effort, and if the person really wants to join the band, they’ll willingly come sing again. We had a singer once who was positively awesome in his audition, and we hired him on the spot, only to discover that he sounded like a bag of weasels being pulled over gravel by a 4-wheeler. Don’t worry, it’s a sturdy bag, and no weasels were harmed in the making of that analogy. Wish us luck on that front.


5YO starts kindergarten on Monday. My baby is growing up. It’s a really emotional moment for me, but not for the reason you might suspect. Sure, DWW is all misty-eyed about her baby going to Big Kid School, but I get choked up over the fact that our daycare costs will decrease by nearly $100 per WEEK now! Yes, per week. And that doesn’t count the additional costs (such as field trips and other activities) or the additional additional costs (such as 9YO and 5YO sticking their hands out for spending money when they go on the aforementioned field trips). Kids are expensive as all hell. We’re gonna save about $400 per month just by having him go to public school now. Damn, I’m tearing up right now thinking about it. Do you even know how much bacon that represents?

Here’s some pictures from my boy Bryan’s wedding I attended in June. I don’t have any crazy stories to tell about the trip, really, because all in all it was a good time with very little drama. That’s a good thing, but it makes for boring storytelling. Hence no separate blog post.

This is the van we rented for the trip. And yes – we rented. You may recall that my vehicle, the Jeep, has no air conditioning. Well, it DOES – but it conditions the air to be hot as hell, so that’s a no-go. DWW’s car is practically a Model-T, so that was not a viable option either. We went with this big brown box instead. Ignore the weeds growing in my driveway.

This is one of the things I really love and miss about old-school diner-type restaurants. What you see there up on the wall is the biggest menu known to man. This little place makes damn-near EVERYTHING! I think I could go in and ask for a bowl of unicorn horn soup, and the most they’d say is “We’ll bring it to your table”.

5YO and 9YO with their cousins, DWW’s brother’s kids. Adorable.

Bryan, the groom, mugging over the groom’s cake at the rehearsal dinner. See that bald head? Yeah, I’ve slapped it a time or two. Had to put him in his place. Bryan and I met at work11 years ago, and decided to start a band. We’ve been thick as thieves ever since. His poor, poor wife…she knows not what she has bought into.

The wedding rehearsal. Bryan’s up there with the faux-bride. As you know, it’s bad luck for the real bride to walk down the aisle before the actual wedding. I think the fear is that she’d think about what she’s actually doing, and run for the hills. Note that we’re outside at this point. The wedding took place at the home of the bride’s parents, which sat on a lovely piece of land out in the woods so deep that sunlight has to be faxed in. And was it hot, in South Carolina, in June, outside? Why yes, it was.

This is Chris. Chris is the epitome of awesome. Sure, he looks like Noel Gallagher from Oasis, but don’t let that deter you from his awesomeness. He’s the guitarist in Bryan’s band (my old band), and you see him here practicing “Canon in D”, a very traditional wedding piece. (And as an aside, check this YouTube video out for the most incredible anti-Canon in D rant ever. It’s worth it.) But Chris is a rocker. I very innocently asked him how hard it would be to slip in some hard rock tunes while he played that lovely music. You know, not all heavy and shit – after all, he’s only got an acoustic guitar – but just to play something that’s obviously hard rock, but play it sweetly. He resisted, but my generous offer of $5 swayed him to sneakin some classics such as “Stairway to Heaven”, “One” by Metallica,  and “Dream On” by Aerosmith into the playlist. It was funny as hell, trust.

Me, in my fly groomsman gear. Note the teal tie, set off by the teal vest and the long-sleeve white shirt. Note the sunglasses I wore, due to the sun beating down on me like prison guard during a riot. Note the lack of sweat, due to the fact that I had just wiped my head when I took this pic. The sweat returned instantaneously. It was a hot one, people.

White people doing the Cupid Shuffle. The two closest people in the picture were damned good, though. They obviously dance a lot, because they were putting in dips and spins and all kinds of Soul Train maneuvers out there, while the others were still trying to figure out which way to go when the song says “To the right, to the right, to the right, to the right!” And yes, the dance floor – such as it was – was also outside. When Bryan and his new bride nearly stumbled on the uneven floor during the couples’ dance, we groomsmen only laughed a little. Ok, I’m lying. We laughed a lot.

9YO with my mom and my grandma. We had an early birthday party for him while we were in town with family, and my peeps made the cross-state journey. If you count me, since I took the picture and all, that’s four generations of my family all in one spot. That’s pretty damn cool to me.

See than man, way in the back, bending over? Can you make out what his outfit looks like? You may need to click the picture to make it bigger. I’ll wait.

This man is no relation to me. I do not know him, I’ve never met him. But I barely suppressed the urge to tell him to stop dressing up in Osk Kosh B’Gosh for Men, because this ensemble looked like a Tim Burton crack-induced nightmare. Just…no. I actually circled him twice before finding a good spot to get this Secret Squirrel photograph. He literally looks like he fell asleep in the Crayola factory and fell into a vat of What The Hell.

Whew! All that blogging winded me. I’m out. I’ll let you know how the 2nd audition goes tonight. Cross your fingers, folks.

Peace.

In my last post, I talked about the broke-ass Nikki Sixx lookalike who came to audition for us on Saturday. This is a follow-up to that post, because this asshole did the unthinkable:

He called us out.

We had band practice last Thursday night, so we got together as usual and ran through some new music we’re writing. As we were winding down, our drummer Rowdy noticed that she’d had some missed calls and a voicemail from the guy – I’ll call him Kenny Y, or “KY” for short. While the rest of packed up and prepared to leave, she listened to the voicemail. Then she looked up and announced “Y’all have GOT to hear this!” She put her cell on speakerphone, and this (paraphrased) conversation started spilling out:

“Hey, this is KY…you told me on Saturday that you’d call me in a couple of days to let me know something, and it’s been like 4 or 5 days since then and I haven’t heard from you. I don’t know if you’re lying to me, or if you think I’m some sort of chump or whatever, but I wanna let you know that it’s really unprofessional of you to leave me hanging like this. Just tell me what’s going on. Hello? Is anyone there? Yeah, I hope you’re not lying to me or whatever. Call me back.”

He left this same message, nearly verbatim, on 2 of our phones while we were rehearsing. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but if you call me a liar, you better damn-well be sure of it or I will lose my shit. Rowdy isn’t called “Rowdy” because of her diplomatic skills or her soft touch. We call her The Pitbull because she’s the one we sic on people when people ain’t acting right. Rowdy is unafraid to get in someone’s face, man or woman, and can back it up. One night at a gig, a bunch of guys started a mosh pit near the stage, and it started spreading outward to the tables were people were just sitting and drinking. One guy nearly bowled over this tiny girl who was sitting at a table, completely uninvolved with the moshing. Upon seeing this, Rowdy went to confront the guy, and I stood a few paces behind her, watching. DWW said “Maybe you should step in there and help her.” I said “I’m not watching to help her – I’m watching to help HIM. Rowdy will kill that guy if he steps to her.” That guy was wise – like an antelope on the Serengheti, he recognized danger, and lifting his head, he bounded away at top speed. However, I’m not so sure that KY has these natural instincts. And needless to say, Rowdy was calling KY back even before the full weight of his message had sunk in.

He answered the phone, and Rowdy immediately laid into him about basically calling us liars, and reminding him that since we didn’t have any information to share with him, we hadn’t called him yet. Not to mention the fact that it had only been FIVE DAYS! Desperation much? The fact that he called to find out what the deal was is fine; in fact, it’s kinda professional. But if you’re calling to find out your status with something, it’s a good idea to not accuse the people you’re talking to of wrongdoing. As she tried to tell him to relax, he got belligerant with her, causing them both to raise their voices, and he repeated his claims that we were unprofessional and liars and making him out to be a chump. And to her credit, Rowdy refrained from verbally gutting him like a catfish. Instead, as things got progressively worse, she simply said “You know, let’s just end this right here. We obviously have a personality conflict, so let’s just call it quits.” and hung up the phone. Case closed. After all, we most likely were not gonna go with this guy, but dammit, we have a process, and we were gonna let him know in due time. About 5 or 10 minutes passed, and lo and behold, KY called BACK! This time Rowdy let it go to voicemail (after the rest of us vehemently refused to talk to El Pollo Loco), and she checked the message afterwards. Folks, let me tell you – I’ve heard a lot of disgruntled voicemails in my time, but this one really takes the cake. It’s both enraging and wildly entertaining at the same time. I’ve never heard so much stupid, misplaced anger in my entire life. While listening to it, my emotions went from amused to pissed to bewilderment to outright anger to plain ol’ laughter. I can’t do it justice by transcribing it. If you want to know what he said, listen to it for yourself. Some warning, though, before you go a-clickin’ on the link: the link will take you to Myspace, so if you shouldn’t be going to Myspace at work or whatever, consider that. Also, the message contains some very….colorful language. Make sure you’re alone or you use headphones, ’cause this is definitely not PG-13 shit. He gets vile. Go to the site, and click on the very first song in the song list (it’s called Declined Disgruntled Singer or something like that). When you’re done laughing at that, make sure to click on the band’s blog post titled “Audition Blues”. It’s basically the exact same post that I made here, but here’s the kicker – HE RESPONDED TO IT!

Oh yes, he did.

This part didn’t make it on the voicemail linked on the band site, but it was by far the best part of that whole craptacular message. At the end, after he had finished spewing forth all his hate and anger, there was a pause, maybe 4 or 5 seconds at the most. Pure silence. And then, in a slightly different tone of voice, Mr. KY uttered the single most hilarious phrase I’ve ever heard after a venom-laced diatribe:

“Mom? Is that you?”

Mr. Rock Star? Mr. God of Singing? Mr. Throwback to 80s Hair Metal Madness? He lives at home with his mom, a fact confirmed by Rowdy when she described calling him on the day of the audition to confirm his appointment time, only to encounter what she describes as a bad version of Katherine Hepburn on the phone line, who went on to explain that SHE was on the phone, and no Rowdy COULDN’T talk to ol’ KY, and that he doesn’t need to be making any long-distance phone calls, and then repeated all this when Rowdy asked if she could give him the message that she called. (Now THAT was a run-on sentence, people.) At that point, apparently KY picked up another extension in the house, and screamed at his mom, calling her a whore or a drunk or something similar before turning his attention to his caller – who then said “Call me back when things settle down there.” I can’t make this stuff up.

I’ll update you of anything else happens. Welcome to my world.

Peace.

Please, for the love of God and bacon, WHY can’t we find a LEAD SINGER?

Do we smell funny? Was it the bag of Funyons I ate? Maybe I’m just too demanding…maybe I’m just like my father, too bold. What is going ON here?

I swear, I honestly never thought it would be so incredibly difficult to find a new lead singer for Nonetheless.  Sure, I knew it was a major blow, but I figured we’d be on the hunt for one, maybe two months, It’s been damn-near 6 months since our lead singer left, and we’re still standing around, waiting for someone with a modicum of talent and charisma to come in, prepared to sing, not overstate his/her abilities, and have some dignity and humility. It doesn’t seem unreasonable, but here we sit. We had a guy come in last night to try out for the role, and his visit with us has inspired this li’l posting. In fact, it inspired me to come up with a list of Do Nots (the Do’s are easy) for anyone who wants to audition for a band’s lead singer role.

Do Not Overstate Your Abilities

It’s perfectly alright to tell your prospective band that you’re good and you’re experienced. To a point. There’s a fine line between confident and cocky, and you have to be really careful about not crossing it. For example, it’s ok to tell people what you’re good at, such as “Screaming is my preferred style” or “I’m a pretty good jazz singer”, but if you say things like “I’m 1000 times better than your last lead singer” or “I’m an expert at blues”, it sets the bar pretty damn high, and you better deliver like David Cook on American Idol or you’re going to be laughed at. Additionally, it’s bad form to say “I know I have hit songs; I just need a band to back me up” because it means you’re just looking for a vehicle to get you where you want to go, as opposed to a group of equals with whom to make music. It’s particularly stupid to say “I should’ve had 5 or 6 Grammies by now for my songwriting”, and then pull out your book of lyrics, and present shit like this to the band as evidence of your greatness:

“Hell machine! Hell machine!
Stuck in a bean!
Fleeing the scene!
Bada bada ba! Bada bada ba!”
(That last line was spoken to me, as he read the lyrics out loud, and it was only through great force of will that I didn’t laugh right in the man’s face.)

Now, it’s not that the lyrics themselves are bad (they are, but that’s immaterial). You just can’t go spouting off about your award-worthy songs, and then give this Dr. Seuss on an acid trip version of a bad 80’s nursery rhyme as an example of your work. Additionally, don’t try to impress your inquisitors by telling them about all the radio play you’re getting in Serbia. It’s Serbia, dude. That’s not quite impressive enough to make us sport wood. Basically, just state what you can do, then do it. No more, no less.

Do Not Have A Style Completely Divergent From The Band

Now, we don’t really give a rip about a person’s look or style, in general. We simply ask that the person HAS a look, because it’s important for the lead singer to set the stage for the audience. How the singer presents him/herself is almost as important as how well they can actually sing. With that said, it’s just as important to make sure that whatever style you have somehow connects with the band’s overall image, or you’ll get some huge mismatch. You wouldn’t want someone from Kiss to audition in full makeup for a band like the Beatles, right? Shit wouldn’t work image-wise. When this guy walked in the door, we were immediately stunned because he looked like Blackie Lawless from the 80s band WASP. Here’s a visual:

Blackie

Imagine that, in jeans that probably fit 4 or 5 years ago, with a black t-shirt that was stretched thin over an overly large belly, and heavy eye shadow. But the black wig? It stays. Oh yes it does. This is who walked into our middle-class band. He looked like he had been kidnapped by 1987, and 1989 just paid the ransom to get him released. That style might work great for him…somewhere, but not so much for this band of today’s hard rockers. Also, just don’t ever wear a wig to an audition. Ever. Just…no.

Do Not Trash-Talk The Person You’re Replacing

People leave bands all the time and for various reasons. Any new person coming into a vacancy needs to understand that just because there’s a vacancy, it doesn’t mean the remaining band members have enmity (or “bad feelings” for some of y’all) towards them. Shit happens. In particular, it’s in very poor taste to blindly talk smack about the previous singer’s ability when you don’t know all the details. For example, it’s completely possible that the person you’re talking bad about isn’t the person you’re replacing at all, because it’s entirely possible that the band has more than one vocalist, and the person who did sing the song you’re dissing is the person you’re talking to at the moment. So please – don’t build yourself up by tearing someone else down. It kinda leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouths.

Do Not Insult The Fans

As it happens, sometimes there are people in the room who aren’t in the band when you come to audition. In this case, these people were a couple of friends and fans of the band, and they were there to just kick it with us that night. If you find yourself in a similar situation, make sure that you keep in mind that it’s these people who pay the sometimes expensive cover charge to come see the band perform, and it’s these people who you owe for whatever success you’ve gained. As such, it’s not a very good idea to insult the intelligence of these people when you make statements like: “When I write my songs, I keep it simple, man. I keep it real simple. Most stuff on the radio now is shit anyway, and I can write hits songs like 1-2-3. So I keep it simple. The crowd? They like simple songs, because the complicated stuff goes right over their heads, man. They don’t get it. Why bother putting all that time and effort into making those songs?” The thing is, the fans may just happen to enjoy listening to songs that make them think or emote or react, and to say otherwise, RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM, is just plain dumb. Avoid.

Do Not Ask Silly Questions

I’m referring to specific silly questions, like “So have you auditioned anyone better than me?”. There is no good answer to this question. If I say no, then you’ll think you’re the best thing since TiVo, and if I say yes, then I’m an asshole. Just do your thing and hope for the best. Another dumb one to ask is “So do you think I did ok?” The reason this is bad is because (a) if you really did ok, you’d know it – either through your own confidence, or by watching the reaction of the others. And (b) it speaks to insecurity. When I perform, I don’t need someone else to tell me how good or how bad I was. I just know. If you’re asking, then it means you can’t gauge your own performance, which is itself another problem. And certainly don’t ask this same question 5 or 6 times, because that just reeks of desperation.

Now kids, follow these simple guidelines and you’ll do fine at your next audition. And for God’s sake, please cross your fingers and hope we find someone soon before I start smacking people in the head. We have another audition tomorrow night.

I hope he’s big in Serbia.

Peace.

Random jonx, in honor of the glorious return of my friend and bad-ass blogger Fyrchk. Welcome back from hiatus, mama! Missed you much.

————-

The gig Friday night went really well! We rocked the spot, and have been invited back to play again sometime. And for those of you who wonder about the glamorous rock star life style, here’s a little peek into the reality of it – for our headlining gig, we got paid, as an entire band, $125. That’s not a typo. We got something like $5 for every person who said they were there to see Nonetheless, so that’s our mighty haul for the night. We don’t even split that money up – we apply it directly to band rent. And it doesn’t even cover half. We’ll be a-gigging again in a couple of weeks to make up the difference. Other than that (and our lead singer arriving approximately 5 hours later than expected), the show was so cool. At one point, when we were playing our signature song “Show Me (Your Tits)”, I glanced to my left, where the stage steps were, and there were 2 security guys just standing at the top of the steps. Generally speaking, seeing the beefy security guys all up next to you isn’t a good thing, so I eased over to them during the song and said “Is everything ok?” They looked at me and said “Hell YEAH, everything’s ok! Wouldn’t you wanna be up here, if you were us?” Turning back to the audience, I realized why – there was a sea of breasticles, lovingly displayed to us by our wonderful crowd. God, I love being in a band. Check out the marquee:

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WE’RE ALL UP ON THE MARQUEE, PEOPLE! This was so damn nice, I nearly wet myself as I pulled up to the place. The venue is a converted theater, and still has many of the elements from that day and age. See the room?

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This is about an hour before the show started. For those of you who don’t get out to rock clubs often, this place is HUGE. HUGE.

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This is what it looked like, via crappy cell phone picture, during the show. Hopefully I’ll soon have some semi-professional looking pics of the event, maybe even some of us onstage. I’ll keep you posted. Oh, and I got pulled over by the cops at 4:30am as I was trying to get my black ass home. Fortunately, I didn’t get a ticket…he was a music fan, and I played up the band angle hard core. A fitting end to a good night.

—————

On Saturday, 8YO wanted to go to the local baseball tryouts. He’s been wanting to do this for over a month, and has been on his best behavior since I last posted about him. He’s counting the days like a prisoner up for parole. At any rate, he and I went to the ballpark Saturday afternoon so that he could see where his skillset was, compared to other kids. He’s never played baseball before, and even though we had worked on throwing, catching, and hitting, I wasn’t certain where he’d line up, with other kids having played for 2 or 3 years already. Naturally, he ran into some kids he knew and immediately left ol’ Dad to wait in line with a tiny baseball bat and a very hung-over expression (remember, the gig was the night before). I watched as the coaches threw high-arcing lobs for kids to catch in the outfield; hit grounders so that the kids could practice throwing to first base; let them pitch a bit, and then allowed them to bat and run the bases. And I know these are little kids, but honestly – they could’ve all tried a little harder. One kid threw the ball clean over the fence and into the actual baseball game taking place one field over. He’ll not be pitching anytime soon, methinks. After an hour of watching the competition, it was 8YO’s turn.

Outfield: Coach threw five lobs, and 8YO caught four and flung them to 2nd base. Well, one went to the dugout, but the boy was nervous. And so was the guy in the dugout.

Infield: Coach hit 5 ground balls, and 8YO used good technique (taught by yours truly) to scoop the balls and throw them to 1st base. This he did without an issue.

Pitching: 8YO threw 5 pitches to home plate. Now, the first pitch went so high, I think it scraped the bottom of a cloud, but the other four were pretty level and over the plate. He looked like Roger Clemens, only without the steroids syringe sticking out of his buttocks.

Batting: OK, here’s where my boy did it up for real. 5 pitches from the coach. The first one, he swung and missed.  I was holding my breath. The second pitch, PING! He sent it to left field, and started running like his shoes were on fire. The coaches called him back, telling him that they only wanted him to run on the last hit. The third pitch, PING! Right back to the coach. And he ran like goats were eating his pants while they were still on him. The coaches called him back, and told him to run on the last hit. The fourth pitch, PING! Hard to shortstop. And he ran like midgets were throwing lightning bolts at his neck while sliding down an oiled ramp. The coaches called him back, and told him to run on the last hit. The last pitch, PING! Foul to left, but the coaches yelled “RUN!” And he ran like NASA attached afterboosters to his Heelies, going so fast that he didn’t hit ANY of the bases except for home plate, where the coaches waited to high five him. It was magnificent. The other kids? They made contact with the ball once or twice, and jogged around the bases like they had just hit home runs. My boy shut it DOWN. I even heard the coaches murmuring to each other, as though they were saying “My God, the talent this young man has! I’ve never seen such raw speed!” Or something like that.

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8YO, getting last-minute instructions from the soon-to-be awestruck coach.

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8YO, right after hitting pitch #3. I need to work on his stance, but he’s got Wii-influenced hand/eye coordination.

I got the phone call today…he made it! He’ll be on a team called the Beavers or the Barons or something, and we’ll meet up tomorrow night to see what’s what. I’m so proud of him. I just hope he keeps on counting his good days.

Peace.

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