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Southern Eyes

I spent last Saturday out of my comfort zone. But, I was completely happy ... and nervous ... and worried ... and proud.

After being a baseball mom for 16 years, interspersed with a few years of basketball and football, I once again was sitting in my well-used foldable chair beside a ball field. But the crowd around me was quite different than all my other experiences. Instead of mothers my age comparing pedicures and passing out plates of homemade brownies; these much younger women were flaunting tattoos and competing in beer pong. I'm not experienced in beer pong, so I didn't know if the staggering drunk people were winning or losing.

If I was our syndicated columnist, Lucy Adams (see the Community Page), I could have created an entertaining column of a conversation. Instead of striking up a conversation, I smiled and nodded at them politely, then moved my chair closer to the fence. Honestly, I needed a place to prop up my feet, anyway.

Plus, that made it easier to see between all the men on the sidelines to the action on the field. My oldest son, James, recently joined the Augusta Rugby Club MadDogs. About 10 minutes into the game, I realized the activities in the bleachers were downright refined and formal compared to the play on the field. The more those big guys tackled each other in front of me, the more the beer pong seemed like a garden tea party.

Because he's new to the sport, James didn't expect to see any playing time. But apparently, sober substitutes are needed. His first few minutes in, he seemed slightly timid, and other teammates blew past his hesitation and made tackles in front of him. But after about five minutes, my sweet first-born was overcome with whatever uncivilized spirit possesses ruggers. He was charging, tackling and taking down the ball carrier, landing in pile-ups and planting his feet and pushing in scrums. Okay, he's still slightly out of shape and had to hang back every once in a while after making a tackle, but he finished out the 80-minute game and then played the entire B-team game. And his mother was overcome with relief that his first experience ended with only a few bruises.

Once I got used to the people, I saw that they friendly. At the end of the game, a young lady with tattoos covering the tops of her feet and wrapping around her ankles, then crawling up the back of her thighs and continuing inside the hem of her very-short shorts, said "excuse me" as she stepped over me to get in front of the crowd. There, she loudly invited everyone to her Roller Derby game next weekend. I marked my calendar. I think I'll call Lucy and see if she'd like to go.

Web posted on Thursday, September 09, 2010

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