I just didn't have it in me to post last night. I spent most of the day on the couch in the living room, while Four lay on his couch in the playroom. He would occasionally call for more water or crackers, and I'd remain upright long enough to oblige. I hoisted myself up in the afternoon to retrieve children from various bus stops and activities, and to get Five ready for his First Baseball Game Ever.
As the time to get dressed and ready drew near, Five grew more agitated. There was a lot of complaining that I didn't have what he wanted to eat for dinner, and how the sandwich I'd made him for lunch didn't have enough salami. And, if I didn't believe that there was no spelling homework, I could check his homework folder myself! The Captain had come home early to help me, and he and Two were sitting at the kitchen table listening to Five's harangue.
Two lost his patience first."Oh my God, Five, stop yelling at Mom! You're like a whiny, little baby! What is your problem?"
In a rare moment of insight, Five answered, "I'm just nervous about my game. I don't know what I'm doing. And everybody else does. I don't even know how to get a guy out. Dad, you have to write everything down that I need to know." He handed him a small pad. The Captain told Five he wouldn't really be able to take out his notes while playing, so they would just review in the car. Then I took him to get in his uniform.
As I left the kitchen, I heard the Captain say, "It's gonna be a long season, Two."
"I feel your pain, Dad," he replied.
If I didn't care about protecting the anonymity of my children, I would post the pictures of Five in his uniform. There's almost nothing cuter than little boys in baseball gear. And Five was excited, too, because it was the first time he was in the complete outfit. He left with the Captain, chattering all the way.
I actually showered and made it to the field for the end of the game. When I arrived, Five was crying.
"I struck out! I embarrassed the team! We're going to lose because of me!"
The Captain provided details. Five had actually hit the first two times up at bat, but he struck out on his third attempt. I told Five he could talk to Three, who has played baseball all his life, and sometimes even strikes out looking! I reminded him that this was everyone's first game, and he would get better. He didn't really believe me, but he went back out in the field.
Mercifully, at this level, the teams play four innings or ninety minutes, whichever comes first. Five did not have to bat again. Our team technically won, but everyone bats, and no one keeps score. The coach congratulated everyone for a fantastic first game, and added, "Especially you, Five. Why don't you lead us in the closing cheer?" Five stood up, all the boys threw in their hands, and he counted, "One, two, three...Double Red!"
As we packed up to leave, the coach came over one more time to reassure Five.
"Listen, Five, you did great. Don't get upset if you don't always get a hit. Even Derek Jeter strikes out!"
I think the extra attention made him feel better. And a little bit of my faith in team sports was restored.