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Southern Eyes

It's February and my face is sunburned. That can only mean one thing -- baseball season has started. When my eldest son graduated school, I thought I would be attending half as many games as usual.

But James, who has loved baseball since he was born, found a way to be involved -- He became a coach. So, Saturday I found myself in the usual predicament of having two sons in two different ballgames at two different locations.

Every year, I have cursed myself for giving birth to them four years apart. Only one year during summer ball did they play on the same team. I got way too sentimental when they both trotted to the field -- James behind the plate to catch, and Kevin out to centerfield.

That sentimental feeling -- complete with teary eyes -- returned Saturday as I watched James in the coach's spot outside the dugout, telling his players whatever it is coaches say those last minutes before a game.

I didn't get to enjoy the feeling long. It seems there wasn't a single parent present who knew how to keep the scorebook. I found that hard to believe, since the players are in middle school. But, I volunteered.

Before you get impressed, you should know that I didn't know how to keep the scorebook, either. I avoided it every year like the plague, because once you get the job, you are stuck with it. Saturday, I must've thought I've had enough experience with the game to figure out the scorebook. I mean, how hard could it be?

I dutifully read the instructions inside the front cover. Yeah, that helped a lot. I understood the position numbers, earned runs, errors, stuff like that. It was the system of little columns and boxes that threw me. No one I have interviewed has ever witnessed me writing on the actual lines on the paper. Was I expected to start now?

The abbreviations were worse. For "walk," I used wk. I had to get Kevin to explain later how BB fit into that. (It's Base on Balls for the scorebook illiterate).

Somehow, I recorded almost the entire game. Although James is going to be pretty confused when he looks over his scorebook (He'll never figure out that my PO means "picked off by the catcher" instead of "put outs"), I feel a lot smarter after the experience.

There was only one problem. The instructions didn't tell what to do about those mothers I haven't seen since last season. Conversation-wise, that was a lot of catching up to do. It got distracting at times. I'm not even sure how a couple of runners made it around third base.

No worries, though. The team has a great coach, so they should have a great season -- in spite of the scorekeeper.

Web posted on Thursday, February 25, 2010

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