Friday sure seems to come around quick, doesn’t it? What, you don’t agree with me? Keep a Wednesday/Thursday off schedule for 18 years like I have and see how fast and furious Fridays always seems to descend upon you. Anyway, it’s time for me to select another reader prompt from the possum bank to exploit for this week’s edition of Prompt the Squirrel Fridays. With a 19th participant sending in their post idea last week, I’ve now finally moved past last year’s pool of 18 prompts… so the question now is can I crack the 20 mark? You know the drill… if you don’t see your name here, you need to use the contact form in this post to get involved. Apathy may be fine and dandy when it comes to politics, but idly sitting by when you could be prodding my demented mind will not be tolerated…
I had every intention of rolling with one of my older prompts today, but a last minute fit of inspiration forced me to table that submission until next time… so I had to search for a more straightforward prompt as a last minute fill-in, and one of the few of that variety I had left belonged to Trisha, whose Shedding Light blog is a must-follow for anyone who loves the squirreliness of The Nest. What did she throw into my fuzzy lap?
Tell us about something stupid you did as a kid. If you were anything like me as an oldest child, you probably have some great stories of ways you tortured your younger siblings!
Well, I certainly did my share of stupid things as a kid… I mean, that’s what kids are good at is doing stupid ass shit that makes misanthropic adults like me hate their guts. I certainly had my share of fights with my younger sisters, but trying to think of any one thing I’d describe as stupid that I could wax on about for an entire post is oddly enough impossible. However, this prompt does give me the opportunity to talk about the time my carelessness nearly started a riot at my sisters’ softball game…
Let’s flash back to May of 1993. I was just two months shy of turning 18, which still qualifies me for the “kid” criterion of Trisha’s prompt. My two middle sisters each wound up on the same Little League softball team that year, and in an effort to end the hermit way of life I’d sentenced myself to during the entirety of my high school years, I tagged along with the family to my sisters’ first game. My Dad, who coached the Little League team I played on for several years, jumped at the opportunity to be the team’s first base coach. When it was discovered the head coach’s wife reluctantly volunteered to keep score… my Dad let them know how much I enjoyed keeping a scorecard at the ballgames I attended, and so I suddenly found myself as the team’s official scorekeeper! Awesome, right?
So I was given the scorebook and erasable pen and had a ball recording the events of my sisters’ games, keeping score the same way as I would were I at a Cardinals game. They say you’re not supposed to give Little Leaguers errors when they misplay routine ground balls or make throws that end up in racking grandpa in the nuts on the sidelines, but to me that’s on a par with awarding everyone trophies to spare the fragile feelings of kids who are always doomed to get picked last. Get used to being called out on your fails, children… life’s a fucking bitch.
Most of the girls’ games were played on late Thursday afternoons on one of the smaller diamonds in the park… but their third game of the season was a bit more special, as they got to play on the park’s adult softball diamond on a Saturday night under the lights! The date was June 5, 1993. My sisters’ team was playing against a team with a handful of stuck up brats among their ranks… one in particular of which my sisters didn’t like. Please note, they weren’t that one team that exists in every Little League grouping that is stacked full of ringers, dominates the rest of the league, and is invariably run by a hypercompetitive asshole who will not accept anything less than victory by at least 87 runs. That team my sisters’ squad embarrassed near the end of the season, and it was fun to watch their fatass, dickhead coach lose his shit in front of a bunch of 12-13 year old girls because for once they were getting their asses handed to them.
So we have the bratty, but not alpha team playing against my sisters in a Saturday night special. Since we were the “home team” for that game, that meant I was the official scorekeeper and the one that had to turn in the scoresheet to the umpires after play. So, everything’s going by just hunky dory and it’s your typical crazy, high scoring girls softball game. Our girls had a 20-19 lead after Team Brat finished the top half of the 7th and final inning, which meant we won! Woohoo! The girls are happy. Our crowd full of supportive parents is happy. Everyone is happy!
Except for everyone on Team Brat’s side of the diamond, that is. Well, of course they’re not happy since they just lost…. only they didn’t seem to think they had lost. Almost immediately after their half of the inning ended and it became apparent that the game was being declared a 20-19 loss for them, about fifty scorebooks are being raised up in the air while Team Brat’s parents are flailing every curse word in the book towards the umpires. It didn’t take long for me to figure out what they were howling about… and boy oh boy would it not be a good thing if they were right. You see, they had the score as still tied 19-19… and unlike sports that think draws are acceptable outcomes of competitive events, we don’t play softball that way. They were adamant that the game was not yet over…
So the umpire, who was thankfully big enough that he could have taken on ten parents at once should he have to, called me and one of the scorekeepers for Team Brat out to the field to compare records and see if we could figure out what which score was actually correct. It didn’t take long for me to notice which inning the scoring discrepancy occurred in, and as I ran through the scoring notation for that inning in my book I nearly wet my pants right there under the lights in front of two groups of parents who were very unhappy about what was transpiring here.
I don’t remember which inning it was, but there was a play where the younger of my two sisters scored a run… only to be belatedly (and incorrectly) called out by the same umpire who was now trying to find a resolution to this scoring confusion. I erased the line connecting third to home that I had initially made… but when it came time to tally up the runs for that inning, I wound up counting it anyway because FUCKING ERASABLE PEN INK DOES NOT ACTUALLY ERASE!!!!
Being the official scorekeeper, I probably could have denied there was any mistake made on my part and there would have been nothing Team Brat’s bratty parents could have done about it. But no, I am honest pretty much to a fault, and no sooner had I gotten the mumbling oopsie words out of my trembling mouth, the umpire declared the score tied and the bottom half of the 7th would have to be played. As I shuffled my way back to our side of the bleachers to find a hole to crawl into and die, I was utterly horrified to see a number of our parents now giving the umpire the business over this heinous decision… and one by one he started ejecting them from the park.
Oh, Lord, I have had better days….
As embarrassed and ashamed as I felt over the honest mistake I made that had started this exhibit of bad parental behavior, I’m still more than a bit peeved over Team Brat’s third base coach… who would ask me what the score was every time he came out to his position, and he was either oblivious to the discrepancy between what I told him and what his own team’s scorekeeper had, or he was evilly setting me up to be led into the guillotine of shame. What I had as the score was far from a secret… why did it take until it actually made the difference in the game for my error to be pointed out?
As for the aftermath…. well, my sister promptly got on base when the 7th inning was resumed and came around to score to make the final an undeniable 20-19 victory for us. The coach was very supportive of me and at the next game, the demonic erasable pen was replaced by one of those clicking lead pencils that erase only slightly better. The parents who got thrown out of the park fighting on my behalf did not beat my ass. And I even got a free cone out of the deal at the post game ice cream stop.
Team Brat did get their revenge by beating my sisters’ team in the first round of the playoffs that August… which was the final game I ever undertook the precarious and underappreciated job of being a Little League scorekeeper for. But no matter how much I wanted to just leave town after nearly inciting a riot that night, at least I can look back and laugh on my embarrassing moment of dumbassery 23 years later, and have this unforgettable war story to share with you all. Thank you Trisha for inspiring me to finally divulge this epic fail from my past, and be sure to come back next Friday for more shenanigans that I couldn’t write about here without your help!