Monday, August 24, 2009
Girls rule, Boys drool
Our family loves baseball.
(I am well aware of the incongruous portrayal described both here and even here back in the Spring, but now can honestly attribute these contradictions to the over consumption of concession stand nachos, smothered in that orangish cheese that began as a freakish powder similar to Tang, as well as ascribe some of the grumpy recollection to a perpetually numb backside from hours of sitting in bleachers.
Don’t for one minute underestimate the physical – and mental- side effects that one can suffer at a little league ball field.)
Anyway, this past Friday night our family of five travelled to Atlanta to Turner Field to see the Braves play.
The children were especially excited because our tickets were in a section that allowed them to hover around the dugout to seek the coveted autographs of players like Chipper Jones and Brian McCann during batting practice before the game.
Contact with the baseball stars was limited, although a few baseballs were tossed their way when I identified with a too-high squeal that caused my husband to duck his head and avert his eyes in a way I am all too familiar with, former Braves player and now first base coach, Glen Hubbard, who signed my church bulletin in a bank parking lot when I was eleven years old.
I can’t decide if Mr. Hubbard threw my children baseballs because of the joy I brought him with all of my shrieking or if it was because he was frightened and it was the easiest manner in which to encourage me to go away. The look on his face would suggest slight alarm, but either way, it worked out very well for my peeps.
(Chase managed to get Chipper’s autograph through someone who knew someone who handed the ball to the Big Someone who then handed it back to the someone who took it from the other someone who then handed it back to Chase. According to ebay estimations, Chase’s total net worth is now $120.)
After batting practice, we headed to our seats to wait for the beginning of the game. A few moments before it started, players threw baseballs high into the air to various sections of the stadium. I wasn’t paying close attention to the throwing of balls as I was still relishing my encounter with Glen Hubbard, wondering if he remembered the little girl who asked for his autograph while at an ATM machine in the early 80’s.
Suddenly, there was a slight commotion around me, and looking up, I realized that a ball was sailing high in the sky and directly towards me. While others around me were standing, I was still sitting in my seat, when I stretched both of my arms up and towards the incoming ball and caught it in my bare hands.
A pair of large, sweaty fingers immediately clasped over those of mine. They belonged to a giant man sitting behind me who refused to let go. For a moment, we were in a somewhat awkward position as though we were going to exchange vows, or at the very least, in a team huddle about to raise our hands in unison saying, “Go BRAVES!”
I was not about to let go, and neither was he.
A battle of the wills ensued. What the giant man could not have known, and what moms everywhere know quite well, is that we have been gripping the tiny hands of children through the ages of time. It is a death claw grip that has prevented little ones from running into the street, and one that keeps them from being lost in a crowd. It is a well-trained clutch that cannot be pried open by a tantrum, or a monkey fit, and certainly not by a sweaty paw trying to snatch a baseball.
The man finally released his hands from around mine with an exasperated huff and plopped down into his seat. The boy sitting beside him said, “Awww dad, you didn’t catch the ball.”
“No, son,” the man regrettably replied. “That lady has better hands than me.”
“Dude, you have no idea,” Chase said looking at the large man with a glance that summarized it best. “ You really have no idea.”