The Practice

Your child has successfully sold his or her quota of candy, turned the money in, and is now officially on a baseball team. The first practice is called and it is scheduled for a Saturday. Time to meet the Coach. It always seems that baseball coaches are dads, very rarely moms, in my experience.

Dads who have the kind of job that allows them to call it a day at 4 p.m. and are therefore able to call for practice to begin at 4 p.m. Hmmm, so they're sneaking out a little early here to be at the field at 4 p.m. We have to account for shutdown time at the office and travel time to the field. So, two times per week, on Mondays and Thursdays, our coach was leaving his office probably about 3:30 p.m. to arrive on time at the practices he called to begin at 4 p.m. Think all baseball coaches are working for a bank? Isn't that what is commonly referred to as banking hours? What does that say about our financial institutions? Think about it. The possibilities for explanations are infinite. In other words, Coaches have the perfect schedule. So the coach is really skipping out of work a little bit early, but it's for the TEAM. My question would be, is this an explanation as to what happened to the stock market, and, does Allen Greenspan coach baseball?

For those of us who work, or who have other children, it can prove to be a real challenge to have your child at practice by 4 p.m. We work through our lunches so we can leave an hour early, but even then, getting our child to practice by 4 p.m. would prove almost impossible. Since if we leave our job at 4 p.m. our child is already late. So, the plan is to come in an hour early, work through your lunch and leave at 3 p.m. You can have your child to practice on time and then have some left over time to cook dinner. (As long as the practice field is not located 25 minutes from your house, because of the ongoing battle between which team gets what field when, where, and how.) You drop your child off at 4 p.m. and are told by the coach that practice will be over at 5:30 p.m. So, you hop back in your car to drive home to cook. Repeat the following as you sing it to the tune that played in the background in The Wizard of Oz as Dorothy and you know, her dog, (how did they spell his name?) were fleeing from her mean neighbor. De De De De De DEEE DEEE! Okay, don't you feel like that? Racing home, as fast as you can, trying to beat the clock? It's a race and by golly, you're gonna win that race.

You've got Betty Crocker's, Better Homes and Garden's, and Bon Appetite's fast and easy recipes, along with several copies of those Quick and Easy Cookbooks that line the shelves at the check out counter in the grocery store. So you are prepared. Cooking will be the easiest of your tasks for the day. And finally, you've got that recipe you took off that wonderful You ARE VICTORIOUS, as you have thrown a nutritious meal together and are promptly back at the practice field by 5:35 (Five minutes late, but that's still pretty good). But practice runs over and it does not end until 6:15 p.m. because the coach is still trying to explain that after you hit the ball you run toward first base.

Dinner is ruined and you are caught napping, head lying on the steering wheel in your car as you wait for your child to finish practice. You've locked yourself in the car and the windows are all rolled up because you are still reeling from the story that was on the 11 p.m. news you were watching the night before, while you folded laundry, about some poor mother whose car was hijacked in the parking lot of the video store. Spring and cooler temperatures or not, all that exhaled Carbon Dioxide in the confines of your automobile has got you sweating. You're looking good now. And of course, this is the day that the Team Mom walks up to the car, knocks on the window, to introduce herself and hand you the sign up sheet for concession stand duty. You immediately launch into an explanation of your less-than-picture-perfect first appearance, "No, I haven't been drooling, I was just sweating, errr or errr, sleeping... I've had a bad day... I didn't get to eat lunch and I'm hungry and low on energy, and no, I haven't been drinking, my eyes are just red because I'm a little stressed and did I mention I'm tired... and okay, when can I work at the concession stand? I've really been looking forward to that! Do I have bad breath, please let me apologize right now, I'm not sure if I brushed my teeth this morning because I started work today an hour early and my day started off really hectic and oh, it is so nice to meet you, I'm Patricia Aster, the mother of Babe Ruth...."

If first impressions mean a lot, you're already one step behind. Meanwhile, here comes the Babe, filthy dirty, leaving a trail of mud behind with every step and a big smile on his face. It is all worth it!