Carpe Diem Y’all by Michele Bernard

Writer, Texan, Semi-interested Sports Fan

Nuts About Baseball

A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings.  ~Earl Wilson

Subject:  Angry People.   

Thought I was going to say Baseball didn’t you?   

By now you’ve figured out that I love baseball.  In fact, I’m nuts about it.  Win or lose, baseball can usually put a smile on my face.  But at a recent baseball tournament, I felt nervous and anxious, as if I were surrounded by Angry People.  Oh wait.  I was surrounded by angry people:    parents, coaches, players, umpires.  It was ugly.  You know something has gone terribly awry when you have to maneuver your vehicle around police cars to exit the sports complex parking lot.  At the end of the day, an umpire lost his job, and a bunch of fourteen year olds and their parents have one more unfortunate incident to add to the Whacked-Out-Things-That-Happened-While-Playing-Baseball Memory Bag. 

Which leads me to the question I ponder every year while sitting in the cheap seats:  what is it about baseball (or any kid sport for that matter) that cause the people (adults) involved to lose their freaking minds?  As a parent with three athletically inclined sons, I could write a book about this phenom, having personally witnessed angry outbursts ranging from the comedic to the down-right-scary.  As a former mental health professional who worked with youth for several years, I can also attest to the fact that the number two reason parents and kids sought my counsel was sports related.  (Number One:  “My family is moving again.) Interestingly enough, in my new career as a freelance writer, the only angry comment I’ve received thus far was from someone spewing about MLB baseball in reference to a blog entry I wrote about six-year-old’s playing baseball.  

After twenty years of pondering, I still have no clue, but I have developed a few theories: 

  • The Chaos Theory:  We must create order out of chaos.  Well ordered baseball is beautiful.  It has symmetry, not unlike a well choreographed dance, with individuals contributing unique offerings to create a balanced well functioning whole.  Baseball at every skill level is always just one over-throw or one close call away from chaos.  And when you’re dealing with children playing the game, the odds of a missed play are exponentially greater.  And when you’re dealing with coaches and umpires who are not much older than the players(or worse yet, are related to the players), the tipping point becomes that much closer.  Much like a butterfly flapping its wings in Hong Kong, one dropped ball can plunge a game into chaos, creating a perfect storm on the field, in the dug-out, behind the plate and in the stands.
  •  The I Coulda Been a Contenda Theory:  Think Tim McGraw in the football movie Friday Night Lights.  He plays a former high school football star named Charles.  His son, while a good player isn’t a great player and this is something Daddy Chucky struggles with.  Daddy Chucky’s dream of watching his son follow in his footsteps quickly turns into a nightmare for all involved.  In one scene, he even duct tapes a football to his kid’s hands to ‘teach’ him what it feels like to not fumble a football. 
  • The Mama Bear Theory:   A Mama Bear’s main job is to ensure the survival of her cub.  Any perceived threat to said cub will surely result in a swipe of a French-tipped bear claw and a flash of razor sharp teeth.  Most teams carry a minimum of twelve players on the roster.  That’s twelve Mama Bears per team, twenty-four per game.  Given divorce statistics in this neck of the woods, factor in another twelve to account for Daddy’s new wife, bringing that number to thirty-six.  Throw in another twelve to account for six grandmothers per team bringing the average number of Mama Bears roaming the stands to forty-eight** (**this number higher during District Play, League Championships, and All-Star Series).  My own mother tells the story of one of my brother’s games interrupted due to two Mama’s falling out of the stands and rolling around on the ground in a heated wrestling match.  And their kids were on the same team.  All the other Mamas were later subpoenaed to testify at the trial.
  •   The Not On My Watch Theory:  This Rules Maven may or may not have an affiliation with the team.  This person knows baseball.  This person knows baseball so well, they can barely enjoy watching baseball for pointing out all the mistakes and broken rules on the field, in the dugout, and behind the plate.
  •   The Thrill of Victory and The Agony of Defeat Theory:  Many people allow what’s happening outside to dictate what’s happening inside, hence, the thrill of victory equals a state of well-being and inner-peace, while the agony of defeat equals losing their freaking minds.

Mix all the above with a healthy dose of sweltering summer heat to produce:  Angry People. 

This is one more reason I’m glad baseball tournaments only last a few days. 

Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

Copyright © 2007 Michele Bernard      

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June 12, 2007 - Posted by | baseball, Best Lines, Blogroll, Family, Michele's Musings, Motherhood, Notes from the Cheap Seats, Parenting, Sports Stuff, Summer

3 Comments »

  1. Excellent post!
    We missed you yesterday.

    Comment by Candace | June 13, 2007 | Reply

  2. Thanks Candace, I missed you too. Can’t wait till next time!

    Comment by Michele Bernard | June 13, 2007 | Reply

  3. I am so glad I have girls! And neither one is very athletically inclined, although I think I would make a fabulously animated “angry stepmom” if given the opportunity.

    I love that you factored in the divorce rate to increase not only the number of parents, but the number of grandparents! We start to add up!

    Keep writing! See you at the next SCCG meeting!

    Comment by blissandvinegar | June 13, 2007 | Reply


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