Thursday, May 26, 2011

Adventures in Youth Sports: Spring Edition (Includes a Pig on a Leash)

It's been a weird week in youth sports for the Picket Fence Post family. We're talkin' a tiny pig on a leash, a whistle, heated arguments, bone-chilling dampness and bodies flying.

On the Little League front, The Youngest Boy's team, coached by The Spouse, finally won their first game. In fact, they won two in a row and actually turned some smart plays that led to runners being tagged out.

The Youngest Boy pitched during one of those games and I watched him through my fingers as I, from time to time, had my hands over my eyes. It's really nerve-wracking to watch him gun in some decent pitches, strike a kid or two out, then walk half of the other team. The hurt look on the little pitchers' faces when they're pulled . . . just breaks your heart.

One of those two games was played on a damp, cold day. (I literally turned on the fireplace and curled up in front of it with a book after I got home trying to regain feeling back in my fingertips.) The game went on for well over two hours. The league rules say you're not supposed to start a new inning more than 1 hour 50 minutes from the game start unless there's a tie. However there wasn't a tie. The Youngest Boy's team was up by a decent amount of runs. But when The Spouse wanted to end the game, the coach of the other team wanted his kiddos to keep playing. (My guess is that he thought his team could catch up.) When The Spouse returned to the bench, another mother and I started bitterly complaining to no avail that the game had gone on too long and should've ended. At least The Youngest Boy's team prevailed.

On a different playing field later in the week, The Girl's soccer team was quite well matched as they took on another area team in a tough contest. But they weren't well matched if you consider that the ref was a hometown ref, and the game wasn't in our hometown. Normally, when the officiating is somewhat imbalanced, we tell the Picket Fence Post kids afterwards that oftentimes things aren't fair and you just have to roll with it 'cause there's nothing you can do about it. But in this particular case, the guy reffing the game was so blatantly unfair, that the parents on the sidelines, including yours truly, started griping. Loudly. (I hardly ever yell to a ref, except at a Red Sox or UMass basketball game.)

Bodies were flying. Girls were falling. And penalty shots were taken . . . at our goal, repeatedly. At one point, the normally even-keeled Spouse, who never gets into beefs with others at youth sporting events (see above how he let the other Little League coach drag the game out), yelled directly at the ref after one particularly egregious missed call. The guy turned to The Spouse, held out his whistle and asked him if he wanted to take over.

After the game -- where we noticed that a spectator watching another game on an adjacent field had brought along a tiny pink pig on a red leash -- that ref was waiting near the exit for "the guy who had a question" about his officiating. Cue the loud, impassioned argument between the ref and The Spouse while The Girl rolled her eyes and urged me to keep walking to the car.

Just your average week in youth sports.

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