Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Game Night: Don the Bullet Proof Vest

Both Stryker and Merrick participate in that time-tested American ritual called Little League baseball.  Stryker's a full-fledged leager; Merrick still hits the ball off the T.

Tonight is another game night.   The Matron wishes she were currently drinking alcohol.  Why?

Her Little League is located on the East Side of St. Paul, a neighborhood characterized by a significant population of  humanity's most elemental and uneducated, with isolated patches of sanity (like the one in which they live) nestled within.

Lest you think she's exaggerating.  . . . did you hear the one about the Little League parent who threatened to shoot down his son's coach like a dog?  That field would be the one where the Matron is headed tonight.  (the parent was found guilty, by the way, and served jail time--the coach's family moved)

Let that article and incident shed a little light on the social milieu in which the Matron will find herself tonight.  Even so, the Matron has learned to enjoy these games.  She's fond of the players and is not herself immune to the thrill of the game, the joy in seeing your guy hit that triple or field that hit.  

But.  Still.  She cannot tolerate the screaming.    The parental shrill - the nonstop whoop and rabid lather that accompany teams by the bleacher-full.  Truly, gunfire might be better.

Last week was a case in point.  The other team wore blue and--surprise!--about 20 blue-clad parents assembled in bulk upon the bleachers . . . .where upon they proceeded to SCREAM (encouragement, dissent, despair, joy, the need to urinate or burp--whatever) for the entire two hours.

The Matron drew dignity about her and left even her own little hoary  'go stryker's' at home.  She simply could not add to the din.  It was horrible!  

Then tragedy transpired.  The blue team's new pitcher slipped up in the sixth inning of what had been a tie game and Stryker's team pulled ahead.  Okay, started trampling the blue team in the painful, ten-run an inning way that nobody likes to see--not even the winner.

Here's where the blue team boosters got ugly.  Instead of cheers, there were jeers.  Why, who knew Umpires were actually bat-sucking ass-lickers!  Thanks for letting us in on that, parents!   One woman got particularly agitated.  She claimed that the game should be over because one team was ahead by ten runs - -the 'ten run rule.'   This is a rule for the Minor league which puts a mercy ending to a game when a team is ahead by ten runs.  Stryker's league is a step above and this rule doesn't apply.

Now the Matron just happened to be chatting with, B,  the parent volunteer in charge of umpires while this woman went beserk.   She started yelling at the umpire to end the game.  Yelling?  Actually, she went onto the field and grabbed his face mask -- just in case she didn't have his attention!

The umpires are about 17 years old.  This one was so intimidated he walked off the field. 

B:  "Hey!  You own this game, not her.  You're right.  You're in charge.  Get back on."

In the meantime, the children were confused.

The umpire got back behind the plate and tried again.

Undaunted, the woman was on her cell phone --ostensibly trying to identify some Little League Expert in the Sky to address this unacceptable situation.  Her next move was the concession stand, in search of a rule book allowing her end this game -- that her son's team was losing very badly.

Then she started yelling at B.  

When that didn't work?  This crazed parent went to the score board--the kind where you slap up a large magnet holding a number -- and took down the entire board!  The runs, the outs, the innings -- she removed every bit of evidence and tracking material.

And guess what!  She effectively ended the game.

And the children were confused.  

That's where the Matron is headed tonight.  

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Matron-you didn't add in about me having to ask a parent to stop yelling that the game was fixed, botched and stop swearing/yelling at the ump and then she proceeded to ask me with baby in arms if I wanted to take it outside. Fellow Matron readers give us some perspective or advice or funny comment.

Steph

Daisy said...

Unreal. Simply unbelievable.

kmkat said...

Oh.My.God. It is hard to imagine that happening in MN. Not that I don't believe you, it is just hard to picture. Perhaps you need to sign up Stryker and Merrick for Little League in Prospect Park (inhabited by low-key pipe-smoking and/or feminist University professors) or southwest Minneapolis (inhabited by upscale and mellow former yuppies way too cool to holler). (Yeah, that's what you need -- another reason to trundle a kid halfway across the metro area.)

Michele Renee said...

Whhaatttt??!? I thought that was just in the movies. That's crazy. Baseball season is over here in GA. It was so enjoyable I'm sad it's over. BTW, do the teams and coaches (who're just volunteering dads, right?) slap hands with each team member and say "Good Game" at the end?? Are the boys good to each other and only some parents go berserk?

Ree said...

Oh mah holy hell. That woman needs to be banned. From the universe!

thefirecat said...

What is it with people and their kids' sports teams?

When was the last time you saw a parent get this upset about their child not doing his homework? Or a nuclear warhead? Or a homeless person? Or....you know. Something that actually isn't about them.

What the holy hell.

MJ said...

What culture shock this must make to your day! The Montessori-academia-theatrical world would be turned upside down by the outrageous behaviour of parents! Thank goodness I have 2 girls and won't have to witness much of that behaviour!

Fabulous Over 40 said...

It is a sad commentary on the state of our parents when it comes to sports. I've witnessed behavior like this more than once (in MN)at my son's sporting events thru the years. One time we even had to call the police to put the end to some parents' rage. It still just leaves me in shock all these years later.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

That is truly terrifying. I am so thankful for my civilized park & rec here in Happyland after reading this.

The Other Laura said...

Oh my god. Thank the blazes my kid is taking a gymnastics class now and has no inclination towards baseball because I tell you I would have to be restrained to put up with that kind of crap.

How in the world do you stand it?

KRomano said...

After the shrew's tantrum, I think I would stand and applaud and shout "BRAVA!".....because I would mistakenly think I was attending DINNER THEATER not a CHILDREN'S SPORTING EVENT. Then, I would immediately contact the biggest newspaper (while still in the stands) to report the wonderful method actor's performance. I would talk really loud into my cell phone asking for the ARTS EDITOR - PRONTO - and then identify the budding thespian and request that they interview her. Then, hand the phone to her. Or, if you just want to be evil - video tape the whole thing and put it in YouTube!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Holy Moley--I've been to a lot of youth sports games and I've never seen anything like that.

There was this one time though that a woman wanted to fight me in the parking lot (our sons had a set-to in the pool, my son ended up needing 5 stitches, I never said a word to her), so I know crazy things can happen.

Amy said...

Little league is rough and for that reason. Good luck-maybe a baseball bat along for protection?

Susan said...

Oh My!! I haven't seen it that bad in 17 years of attending games - but the soccer league did ban parents from shouting out during games. So maybe I just didn't witness the abuse going on.

Former Minnesotan said...

Love the idea of videoing! But maybe the ranter would grab your camera and smash it on the ground. It would be similar to the scene in The Godfather when a journalist (or maybe it was a policeman - I can't remember) is snapping photos out in the parking lot during the daughter's wedding, and one of the Corleone thugs takes care of the camera! Maybe you could have TWO videographers - one to take the photo of the ranter and another to take the photo of the ranter smashing the camera...

Anonymous said...

This made me laugh- in a sad way. I love living on the East Side and your description of the pockets of sanity in the madness is absolutely spot-on. When we go to watch our kids play, we watch from a distance. The inmates run the asylum that is little league.

~annie said...

Holy mackerel! Just reading this makes me feel shaky...