Posted April 8, 2011 by jimhigley
I’m celebrating my fifteenth season as a baseball dad. And in all those years, I’ve tried to follow my own father’s belief that it’s important to let the real coaches do their job, avoid coaching from the stands, and never publicly challenge or question a coach. There’s a right way and wrong way to communicate.
And I hold firm in my belief that those are important guidelines to live – and parent – by.
However, as my youngest son moves to the fields of high school baseball, I’ve reached a breaking point on one nagging topic: keeping his jersey clean.
I can tolerate many things. I don’t mind sitting through snowstorms watching the boys squeeze in spring break games. I don’t bat an eye while huddling with other parents trying to keep warm and endure the unpredictable weather that comes with April games. I don’t even flinch when I drive over an hour to a game, only to learn that it was canceled for unknown reasons.
But keeping my son’s jersey clean drives me, well, batty.
This week has been tough. Four games in as many days. What that means is somehow between the time we get home – let’s say eight p.m. – and bedtime, I need to do a load of darks and (thanks to someone’s decision to wear pearly white pants) a load of whites. Yes, I contemplate throwing them all in the same load, but the fear of my son showing up on the field with pink pants is too much for me to risk.
This week, being ready for game one of four was easy. But by day two, I had already struck out in the laundromat department.
On that fateful morning of game two, I woke my son up at six a.m. only to here those three, loving words. “Where’s my uniform?”
“Don’t worry,” I reassured him. “Everything’s fine. Jump in the shower.”
I lied. I had totally forgotten about his uniform and now had 41 minutes to not only help him with his morning ritual, feed the dogs, but now get his uniform – which was still in his baseball bag – crispy clean.
A quick assessment of the situation while my son was singing in the shower had me opting to take his jersey and socks – both a dark maroon – to the back porch where they received a brutal beating as I attempted to extract as much dirt, dust and crud. Fortunately, there were no visible signs of grass stains or mud. My outfielder would never know.
The white pants, however, were, another issue. My son was done with his shower and eating his Wheaties and I now had 29 minutes to have my own rally. Realizing I couldn’t push these pantalones through the pipeline fast enough, I grabbed a bar of soap and a bristly brush, and locked myself in the laundry room to scrub the living daylights out of two knees of grass stains and one rear-end pocket of mud. I felt like I was in a scene from “Little House on the Prairie.”
But with exactly 18 minutes remaining before we needed to head to school, I was tossing his pants in the dryer (and saying a long overdue prayer of thanks for the quick-dry nylon fabric). “Surely,” I thought to myself. “I must be the worst parent in the ballpark.”
As we reached the bottom inning of our morning rituals, my son started to pack his baseball bag. “Dad,” he yelled out. “Where are my pants?”
“Oh, yeah,” I replied innocently. “I must have left them in the dryer. Run down and get them.”
He had no idea that he had just witnessed another parental home run.
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