Tuesday, May 25, 2010

time flies when...

...your kids play softball. Wow, what a busy spring we've had, but softball season is now over and we successfully juggled our 3-day a week/2-team schedule for the past 10 weeks.

Last saturday morning the twins played in their final game, and it was a great wrap-up for them as I think they each played their best game of the season. Kate hit 3 pitches and played pitcher.

Allison hit one pitch and played third base, which normally isn't so extraordinarily exciting since the plays are usually at first. But as luck would have it a large number of hits came straight to her so she was very busy fielding and with the help of a teammate she made one out at third. Not much grass-picking going on that day.

Erin's season unfortunately ended a week earlier. Starting in this age-group the teams play a double-elimination tournament during the final two weeks of the season, and a champion team in each division is decided. Erin's team lost their first tournament game against a team that was just plain better than them, but the Comets managed to keep the game close and lost 4-6. I was proud of all of them.

For their second tournament game they played a team that was decidedly NOT better than they were, but we had a truly terrible umpire. Most of the league's umpires in this division are teenagers who are baseball/softball players themselves and trained/hired by the league. I've seen some very questionable performance by these kids all season long but since the results of regular season games never really counted for anything, I didn't give it much thought. I did think they'd step up the quality of the umps for the tournament, but I was wrong.

The 14 year-old who served as umpire for Erin's second tournament game was fairly clueless, asking the coaches for help making calls and calling something one way then changing his mind afterwards and reversing himself. It was a confusing mess. Erin has two teammates who pitch really well and the best of those was pitching this final game. I swear she was on fire that day, throwing strike after strike, yet nearly everything she threw was called a ball by this kid.

If the pitchers throw 3 balls then the coach of the opposing team comes out to pitch and naturally they throw slower and friendlier than our pitcher does, so that enabled the other team to rack up hit after hit when in reality a large number of their batters struck out. It was blatantly unfair and the other parents and I were frustrated as we watched our team's greatest advantage neutralized and lose 1-4. Ultimately, I don't care that Erin's team didn't go farther and I know they weren't the best team, but I do care about fairness and I've complained.

The losses never really bothered Erin though. She's a good loser (at least when it comes to softball). In the afternoon before the closing ceremonies her team got together for a team pizza party and then we went to the main field where the champion teams in each division were awarded and all players got their participation trophies. Camera problems again! I took some pictures of Erin's whole team together, but they've disappeared. Aargh.

The players on her team range from 7 to just shy of 10, and as one of the younger players I can't help but notice how short Erin looks compared to some of the oldest teammates.

Erin's softball playing could have extended into the early summer because a competitive travelling team portion of this league was gearing up for the year. When Erin learned about the try-outs for that team a couple of weeks ago, she begged me to let her go. Her coach is also a coach of one of the travelling teams and she spoke to me about Erin's enthusiasm and having her try-out. I discussed it with John after learning that would mean 2 multiple-hour practices per week plus tournaments out of our county all day every saturday and sunday for the next month. We decided we just couldn't manage all of that, given homework and girls scouts and the fact that Erin won't be out of school until later June. Maybe next year, we said, and I felt guilty because I think that's the first time Erin asked to be able to do something (productive and worthwhile) and we turned her down. I like for the kids to be able to pursue whatever they want to pursue and find a way to make it work, but I suppose the older they get and the more involved these options are, the more I'm going to have to accept some limits. John is much better at realizing how crazy is too crazy. I'm not so good at that.

The twins posed with their team and were excited to receive their first trophies, and after this ceremony we had another party to attend for team Dolphins.

And all three claim that they'll be back next year.

No comments: