He Told Me Not To

A coach once told me that if a doctor ever tells you that you have only 3 hours left to live you should go to a mosquito (little league) baseball game. It’ll be the longest three hours of your life.

We were losing the whole game. We were always close, but always losing. After the 5th inning we were down 16-15. The 6th inning would be our last chance. The sun was on the horizon and once it dipped below it would get dark fast. I knew there was a chance we wouldn’t be able to finish. You can imagine my dismay when I saw their pitcher warming up. He was throwing with heat. Gordon Ramsey in Hell’s Kitchen kind of heat. Fastballs that I feared my mosquitoes wouldn’t be able to hit and we would be 3 up, 3 down and game over.

You can imagine my surprise when he loaded the bases with walks.

You can imagine my surprise again when we had suddenly scored 5 runs and found ourselves up by 4. I was watching the darkness creep up on us and knew we had to get the 6th inning over if were to win. You see, if a game is called on account of darkness the score reverts back to last inning that was finished. We were losing in that inning. We had 1 out against us and I quietly told my next batter to strike out so we could get this inning over. Unfortunately, she was hit. A bean ball that scored us a 6th run and put us up by 5. I told my next batter the same thing. He struck out, though not on purpose. 

2 outs and the sun was below the horizon now. We were playing on borrowed time. Twilight time. We had to end the inning pronto. I quietly approached my next batter and explained it to him.

Me: This is going to make no sense right now, but in order for us to win this game I need you to strike out.
Batter: So you want me to swing at everything?
Me: Yes

And he did too. One pitch sailed over his head. He swung, not even attempting to hit the ball. Our coach down at 1st base hollered to him to not swing at pitches over his head. I laughed because coach wasn’t in on our plan. He swung and missed the second pitch, too. He swung at the 3 pitch and connected solid with it. The ball sails like a runaway kite in hurricane out into right field. The batter stands on home plate simply watching it as if he were watching a ball game instead of participating in it.

The first base coach is yelling, “RUN! YOU HIT THE BALL! RUN!”

The batter is standing on homeplate pointing toward me at third and hollering back, “HE TOLD ME NOT TO!”

The right fielder throws the ball to first and the batter is called out. 3 outs. Change sides.

Bottom of the 6th now, we’re up by 5. I’ve got a pitcher throwing who usually throws zero run innings. It’s nearing 8:30 and it would be hard for me to argue to keep playing should the other team decide it’s too dark. I’m no lawyer. I probably couldn’t argue my way out of a wet paper bag. The other team does score one run. But we also make three outs to end the game with a win.

We won because of an almost strike out, because a hitter slugged the ball but stood still,  and because a team made it happen when it counted most.

Now swing on over to FacebookTwitter and Instagram and follow me round the bases…

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Lucy At Home

Put Me In, Coach!

I’ve been playing baseball since I could stand and swing a bat. Back then I wouldn’t throw. I wouldn’t give mom a turn at hitting. As I got older I learned to enjoy fielding. Making the plays. Diving catches, pitching from the mound, and throws out at first base.

I was an infielder back then.

Later, in University, my brother and I joined a men’s modified pitch (fast pitch, but underhand) softball team. I became an outfielder. Chasing down fly balls, throws out at home plate, and robbing homeruns.

That was 20 years ago. I haven’t played since.

This year, I’m finding myself in a slightly different role. Coach. I got a taste of it last summer and it tasted good. One game last year Crash’s coaches couldn’t make the game so another Dad and I stepped up and said we’d do it. We lost, but we and the team had fun losing. So when they were looking for coaches for this season, we stepped up again.

Now I find myself torn.

With this league being what’s called a “house league” there are no tryouts, no one gets cut, everyone makes a team. Since it’s an all-play there is a wide variety of skill levels. There are 1st season kids who haven’t played before. There are 2nd seasoners who are okay, but still have some needed improvement. There are also kids who have been playing much longer who understand the game and can make the plays.

What I’m torn between is giving kid the experience they want playing the position they want and playing kids in the position I know they can play and giving us the best possiblities for a win.

Winning is fun. Playing outfield sucks.

If I play to win, the game could end sooner. If I play for the kids’ experience, the game could drag on and on worse than watching Star Wars episodes I, II, and III.

If I play to win then the kids who are at an advanced level get to play a bit more than everyone else. That’s one thing I’ve been trying my hardest not to do. I give everyone the same amount of playing time no matter good they are.

We all want to win, but we all also want to pitch and play first base. Can’t have all 9 of them on first base. So I battle to get the kids to play where they want and still keep the game moving quickly and end up with a win.

As of right now we’ve won one, tied one, and lost two.

What would you do? Play the kids so you win or play the kids so they get to play where they want even if they struggle to play that position?

Now swing on over and follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram! Homerun!

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This Summer’s Schedule

I love summer.

I love winter, too. But summer is way hotter.

Unfortunately, it’s not conducive to blogging. The kids are home all day. They either need entertaining or forced encouraged to clean something. They magically get along when they’re told to clean. It’s like a miracle.

Then there’s traveling. We don’t go far. Basically, around the block. Though we did make it to the beach yesterday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, we got home a bit late and after a day of sun, sand, surf, and supper, blogging didn’t make the to do list.

Then there’s the later than usual bedtime every night because “It’s still light out!” and “My friends get to stay up until dark!” By the time they’re finally asleep all I have left is to watch as many Game of Thrones episodes we can fit in.

Which is usually one.

There’s also baseball. It’s going to take up more time than a Lord of the Rings extended version trilogy marathon. Actually, that’s about the same length as just one game. This year, however, I have stepped into the role of Coach for Crash’s team. Yes, I’m a Coach Daddy. Except for baseball. I’ve coached soccer and wrestling and golf. This is my first stint at baseball. So far, so good. We haven’t lost! We won one and tied one. We have three games next week. Sunday. Monday. Tuesday. So we’ll be spending a good portion of our summer on the field of dreams.

The boys have been begging to go camping. I love camping and used to camp frequently. I’ve never taken along two rambunctious kids. I would love to teach them what I know about camping and the wilderness and the night sky without light pollution and about cheese filled crust pizza (but not while camping). There are a few day trips we’d like to take and trip to visit DW’s brother and sister-in-law. The boys love playing with their cousins.

I’ll be TweetingInstagramming and Facebook our adventures so feel free to follow along. What will you be doing this summer?

Sorry, South-of-the-Equatorians, what will you be doing this winter?

Let’s Play Ball!

I love baseball season. Opening day was a big day for me, even though my Orioles didn’t play at home that day.

Today, baseball started for Crash. There are two teams he could have potentially made. The first is the Rep team. They’re a provincial team, meaning they will play other Rep from across Nova Scotia. He didn’t make that team. That’s okay, though. You win some and you lose some and sometimes you don’t get what you want. It was a learning experience.

This evening was the first practice for the house teams. These are the teams everyone who wants to be on a team gets to be on one. Last year there were 4 teams. This year there might be 3, maybe only 2. Someone, somewhere created a rule that kids on Rep teams can’t play on house teams, too. Normally, those kids would be divvied up between the house teams to keep one team from being a power house.

This year, as of right now, that won’t happen and that’s a whole team’s worth of players.

Anyway, Crash did well this evening. He hit, he ran, he caught. Of course, being in Blue Jay territory, kids were referring to Goins and Pillar and Bautista. Crash and I refer to Machado, Trumbo, Jones, and Davis.

Also, I enjoy coaching. I’ve coached soccer, wrestling, golf, and I may be about to add baseball to that resume. I had a blast being the dad last season and watching. Now I may get to be dad and coach and must say, I’m a bit excited.

But this isn’t about me. It’s about Crash learning one of the games I love (soccer is my other favorite). He learned a lot last year. I’m hopeful he’ll learn even more this year.

I hung a blanket from the ceiling in the basement. Then I took the tee down down there. There is just enough room for me take some swings. If there’s room for me, there’s room for the boys, too. We’ve been hitting a few balls into the blanket.

Yes. We’re playing baseball in the house. So far, no one has been hurt and nothing has been broken.

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O is for… 

 is for Orioles! This has zip, zero, zilch to do with parenting except that I did allow Bang to stay up and watch a game last Friday. It was an 8 pm start time and his big brother was having a sleepover at Nanny’s. Bang didn’t want to go home and go to bed so I offered to let him stay up to watch some of the Orioles game. They were playing the Blue Jays, his favorite team. We are in Blue Jay territory, so I allow it. We have a friendly rivalry. DW went to visit a friend so Bang and I skipped off to the store to pick up a bag of Ruffles then we parked ourselves on the couch and munched our way through 7 innings of baseball. He learned what all the numbers meant – the score, the count, the outs, and the innings. Mom was surprised when she got home at 9:30 to find him still wide awake. By 10, his Blue Jays were losing 5-3 and he lost interest in the game so up to bed he went. I was impressed that he was so interested in the game for that long.

is for obsession. My two obsessions are running and baseball (and perhaps this blog) (Okay. Definitely this blog). Though, I’ve been watching more baseball than I have been running. But I’m slowly getting back into it. I’ve got a new pair of shoes to help me do just that. I have a drawer full of running shirts. Long sleeved. Short sleeved. Tank tops, even. I only have a few pairs of shorts and some pants for running. I use Nike+ on my phone to track my runs. My Orioles memorabilia is limited to a couple hats, a lanyard, and few shirts. The Eddie Murray jersey being my favorite. I can’t wait to make it back to Camden Yards again.

Crash’s obsession, like so many other 9 year olds, is with Minecraft. Some may argue that it’s a waste of time. Others argue that it’s a tool for creativity through it’s endless way to build. Or a tool for science with its redstone circuits. It’s a double edged sword. It can be obsessive. If we didn’t set a time limit he would do nothing else. I can see it’s obsessive nature when his time is up. I hear either, “1 minute” which he tries to drag out to 20 more minutes. Or I hear, “UGH!”. It’s to the point now that if he doesn’t turn it off within a couple minutes of his time ending he loses it for a week. This is one of those weeks. We’ve allowed him to earn it back each day by cleaning. I also see how much he loves to play it and after a long day of school, it’s a great way to wind down. Plus I’ve seen how much he loves building and exploring.

Bang’s obsession is a bit more subtle. He enjoys playing Minecraft with his brother, but I wouldn’t call it an obsession. He loves playing Mario Kart on the Wii, but again, it’s not something he’s constantly thinking about playing. He loves junk food, chocolate especially. But who doesn’t? He’s just taking after his parents. I think the closest thing to obsession he has is with Candy Crush. Yes, that cell phone game. What’s more though, is that he’s good at it! Not only does he beat levels that we’ve been stuck on for days, he also gets us top rankings in high scores among our friends. Whether he plays on my phone or his mother’s, he loves it.

DW’s obsession might be me. She loves me to no end and everything she does she does for me. Stop laughing, it’s not a joke. Okay. Yes, it is. I would venture a guess and say that Facebook might be DW’s obsession. She loves coming home from work and just relaxing on the big, comfy couch and catching up with friends via Facebook. It’s also her way of sharing everything from what we’re up doing to what’s going on in town our local friends are interested in. Her other obsession is gardening. Her rose bushes make the neighbors jealous. Her clematis is climbing up the downspout and the porch is always in full color with the flower she picks for the planters.

Our obsession are the little things that make us happy. They’re the things that distract us from the endless responsibilites of life. It’s our time out. I just have to remember to put down the blog, turn off the Orioles game, and go make supper before the kids start eating each other.

What’s your obsession? If it’s Twitter you’ll find me at Stomperdad.

Parenting vs Baseball

It’s America’s pastime.

Even though I live in Canada, I’m not really a hockey fan. I don’t have a favorite team. Kids in schools ask me, “Who do you go for?” (translation: Who’s your favorite hockey team?) I always give the same response just to see the shock on their face. “I don’t watch hockey.” I usually have to pick their jaw up off the floor. After a few minutes they regain the use of their voice.

My favorite sport to play is soccer. Those hockey kids in school know this from all my days subbing in their gym class. Otherwise, baseball is where my loyalty lies. Particularly with a certain black and orange bird.

We’re now 11 days from pitchers and catchers reporting to the warm climate of Sarasota Springs, Florida. We’re also 25 days from their first spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Argh…

This means we’re also not far from our friendly, family rivalry as DW and Bang are Blue Jays fans.

All this talk of baseball makes me want to compare the game of baseball with raising a family…

1. Training

It’s all about creating and moulding the best team possible. Mind you, I won’t get fired for having too many losing seasons, but I’m still responsible to do the best with what I’m given. Just as the players are responsible for improving their game, we’re responsible for being better than we were yesterday. Perhaps it’s teaching the kids a new skill they need for school or sport or life. Perhaps it’s improving ourselves to be better at whatever it is we’re trying to improve upon. We’re always striving for the next homerun…

2. Patience

There are roughly 150 pitches thrown by each team. Some crazy level of patience is needed to get through the 3+ hours it takes to deliver all 300 of them. Multiply that by 162 games per season and you’ve got 48,600 pitches to watch. When kids are throwing temper tantrums, you’re spouse isn’t paying attention, and you’re afraid your house is so messy it’ll appear on the next episode of Hoarders, you need patience. Though, unlike baseball, parenting isn’t a summer game. It’s all day, every day with no hope of winning a world series and the pay sucks.

3. Coaches

A baseball team needs lots of specialities. There are managers who oversee the whole shebang. There are also pitching coaches, hitting coaches, bench coaches, bullpen coaches, first base coaches and third base coaches. A household works much the same way. I’m the cooking coach. Not because DW can’t, but because I enjoy it more. DW is the paying bills coach. Nobody likes that position. I’m the cleaning coach because I’m home more often. DW is the snuggle coach because she’s so snugly.  

4. Bases

Speaking of bases… 1st base is kissing. 2nd base has something to do with boobs. I’m fairly confident that you can figure out 3rd base and a homerun. Without the homerun, without “scoring”, we wouldn’t have the families we have. No kids, anyway. May you all hit homeruns tonight without gaining extra players on your team…

 

Monday Morning Round Table

Gather round, my friends. Let me get you something to drink.

Coffee?
Tea?
Milk?
Orange Juice?
Reisling? (It’s 5:00 somewhere)

I’d offer a Coke, but we don’t have any in the house. You’ll have to bring your own. Sorry.

This is our last full week of summer. The following week Crash starts 4th grade and Bang starts primary (aka kindergarten). The don’t start until Wednesday of next week though. I’ve explained my giddiness for the first day of school as both a teacher and a parent. I thrive on the routine as much as the kids do. DW has already started back to school. This is her third week back! Next week I’ll will be packing up to four lunches (on the days I get subbing days) , making sure everyone has what they need, and getting us all out the door on time. That last one is tricky. Last year I drove Crash to school. He enjoyed getting to school 15 minutes early (they have a “morning recess” before school starts). When he rode the bus he didn’t get there until recess was almost over. This year he will have his little brother with him for the first time. Bang is wickedly excited to ride the bus. Because if one rides the bus then Another Rides the Bus.

Crash’s baseball season is over, but it ended on a high note. He finally got to pitch. He struck out a batter to end the inning. We still pitch and catch and bat in the backyard though. Baseball’s not over until the World Series is played in October. My Orioles are currently in the 3rd place. The American League East is a tough decision and I’m confident they can overcome the Jays and Sox.

I’ve now posted 9 videos to my YouTube channel, SuperDad’s GoPro. I have a grand total of 3 subscribers! I have one in the editing process and I have some more ideas for more videos. I have to thank Jay Dee of I Read Encyclopedia for Fun for giving my YouTube page a shout out on both his blog and his own YouTube page.

That was our weekend. Thanks for joining me! Hope you enjoy the drink and chat. I hate to rush you out the door but a certain 5 year old wants me to play Big Brain Academy on the Wii with him.

Toodaloo!

Feel free to let me know how your weekend went down in the comments.

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There’s no i in team but there is me in awesome! There is also a we. Join me and we can be awesome!

 

Ballers

We want to give the boys something to do and some experience playing team sports. This evening we made them ballers.

Not basketballers, baseballers. Like their father before them, they too will play baseball. I remember living baseball all summer long. If I wasn’t at practice or a game I was playing pitch and catch or wiffleball homerun derby in the backyard. That was middle school. Going even farther back, I remember little league.

We just signed both boys up for baseball. Crash will play real games this summer instead of just practices like he had last summer. Bang will need a baseball mitt. He is the odd  duck in the family because he’s the only one who throws left-handed.

They are already at odds with each other because Crash pretends to be a Baltimore Oriole while Bang pretends to be a Toronto Blue Jay. DW said to him, “We’ll have to get you some Blue Jays gear.” Then gave me a shifty eyed look to see my reaction. I just shook my head and pretended I didn’t hear it.

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Having never been on an official baseball team before, Crash was full of questions.

Will we play on a real field? Yes buddy you will.

With lights and a stadium? No you’re not in the big leagues yet.

Who will be my coach? I don’t know.

Which field will we play on? The same one you did last year and field of which ever team we travel to.

We will travel to other fields? Like on a bus? No. Not on a bus. In our truck when we take you.

Is Bang signed up too? Yes, your contracts are signed. Unlike the big leagues, you don’t get paid, but have to pay.

Now to teach him some of the rules he doesn’t know. Forced outs. Fly balls.  The positions. He’s already ahead of me when I was nearly his age. He knows which direction to run the bases. My dad stole my bases until I agreed to run the right direction. I suppose I’ll allow him to stay up to watch some O’s games with me and we can discuss the rules as they happen.

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True, but we REALLY love soccer, too.

My Summer Bucket List – In Review

Back in June, before school dismissed for summer vacation, I wrote out my bucket list of what I wanted to do. This list included:

  • Hiking and seeing waterfalls
  • Geocaching
  • A Road trip
  • Kayaking
  • Relaxing at the cottage by the lake
  • Skip rocks
  • Grow a vegetable garden
  • Watching/playing baseball with Crash

DW returned to work today so there’s clear evidence that summer vacation is just about over for the kids, too. Did I do anything from list?

You betcha. Even better, I was able to complete the list. We made it to a waterfall in Pennsylvania. I didn’t make it to the 100′ North River Falls, but I knew that was a long shot, at best. The one in PA was great because the kids could play in it and there wasn’t a two and half hour hike to get to it.

I found six geocaches. One was on my birthday. It required a little bushwacking through the trees. Then it started raining on our way out. The second and third was on a rails to trails trail. The bugs were so bad we cut the trip short. There are eight more on that trail that we’ll get when the weather is too cold for bugs. Bang and I found two more while DW was visiting a family member in the hospital. Then Bang and I found one while Crash was in the hospital having oral surgery. Great finds!

Our road trip was spectacular. Just find my Traveling posts to read all about our two week vacation to the States.

We have been out kayaking twice now. Once was down a fairly large river. Too big for our liking. We were hoping for a wooded, lazy river, but no such luck. So the kayaks are out at the cottage we’ll just paddle on the lake. Crash had his kayak out and was having a blast (as were his cousins as they all took turns on it).

Speaking of the cottage – we’ve made a few trips there now. It’s so relaxing out there. Especially yesterday when there was only a small breeze and the water was as calm as bathtub water. That made kayaking a lot of fun. IMG_2843

I’m sure I’ve skipped hundreds of rocks by now. With water this flat, how could I not? I even helped teach nieces and nephews to skip them.

The onions are growing well in the garden. We’ve already harvested the lettuce – 2 one gallon bags worth. The green and jalapeno peppers are coming along. Unfortunately, the broccoli went to seed to quick. The thyme smells delicious!

Crash is great hitter. He’s okay at throwing and his catching is much improved. Unfortunately, he’s only made it to two practices. He had one before we left for vacation, though a couple were rained out before that. Then we were gone for two week, but even those were rained out, too. He made it to a practice (they don’t play games in T-ball here) the week after we returned. But then had surgery the week after so he missed that one, too. Hopefully, the rain will hold off so he can have practice tonight! It’s looking like it’s going to rain!

My bucket list is complete, everything I do from here out is just icing on the cake – yummy, delicious buttercream frosting.

The one thing that hasn’t happened yet is painting. Our hallways are dire need of some new paint. We have it. We just need to get it on the walls. Maybe I’ll just open the paint bucket, give Crash and Bang a paintbrush and let them do it. 🙂

What’s something exciting or relaxing did you do this summer?