Who’s On First?

Recently Nina Badzin posed a question on her blog – should parents go to all of their kids’ sporting events? It was timely for me because I’d just survived a laughably hectic evening at my oldest son’s baseball game and left feeling saddened that I didn’t have time to watch more of the game.

Let me paint a picture for you. It was a weekday evening. High 70s, sunny, very few mosquitoes. The kids and I arrived not only on time, but a few minutes early, and snagged a parking spot closer than two miles away. I should have known this would spell disaster for the rest of the evening.

The game started calmly enough. We watched for Miles but all the boys are of similar height and wearing the exact same thing, so when they’re in the outfield, I have a hard time telling which kid is mine.

“Hi, Marcus!” a mom sitting next to me yelled to her son as we sat on the bleachers behind home plate. She turned to me with a smile. “Which one is yours?”

I squinted behind my bifocals into the sun. The players all looked identical, back-lit and turned into boy-shaped shadows. “Um, I’m not sure. I think mine is out behind second base but maybe he’s over behind first.”

While I tried to locate Miles and started to wonder if I was, in fact, at the right game at all, I kept my eyes on Isla, Grant and Jonah, who were playing with other baseball players’ siblings. Isla played with Jonah, and I felt comfortable with the fifteen feet between where I sat and they laughed. I turned my eyes back to the game and realized I had not only missed Miles’ turn in the outfield, but also his first time batting.

When I then glanced back to check on the other kids, Jonah was gone.

“Isla!” I said. “Where is Jonah?”

“Sorry, Mommy,” Isla said, worried. “I got distracting playing with Cheyenne. I was showing her how I do the splits.”

I dashed off from my seat and found Jonah under a set of bleachers near the parking lot. Scolded him. Brought him back to my seat and tried to bribe him with a juice box, which bought me about 45 seconds of him sitting down.

After Jonah threw his empty juice box at my feet, I had enough time to realize Miles was back in the outfield. At third… no, at first base. He waved at me. My boy!

Looked back at the kids. I could see Isla and Jonah, but where was Grant? Ran back over to the tall bleachers and found he had climbed up the other side with some random hooligans who were clearly a bad influence. Scolded Grant. Told him if he dashed off again I’d make him sit next to me for the rest of the game.

“Okay, okay,” he promised.

I hurried back to my seat and apologized to the mom sitting behind me for getting up so much. Noticed that Miles was still at first base, and silently congratulated myself for locating him so quickly.

Grant had now made friends with a little boy and was eating the boy’s candy. Boy didn’t appear to be upset by this, so I let it go. Isla and Grant played Mummy Tag with Cheyenne a safe distance away.

Eyes back on the game, I saw Miles’ team was up to bat. Wondered again what his number was. Then Isla came running up to me to say, “Jonah touched a peanut!” Jonah is allergic to peanuts. There are peanuts aplenty under baseball bleachers, apparently. I questioned Jonah and peered in his mouth and felt satisfied he hadn’t eaten any. “I don’t like peanuts,” he said. “Peanuts make me sick.” Good boy.

Back to the game. Miles still wasn’t at bat. A boy the size of a college freshman stood at home plate. Do they start steroids this early, I wondered.

Looked over my shoulder at the nearby spot where Grant had been hogging the boy’s candy to find Grant and his buddy were gone. I told Isla to watch Jonah and walked around the consignment stand and the bleachers. No Grant. I asked a few other parents if they’d seen my son with another boy, but no, they hadn’t. Asked a mom I know to watch my other children and took off for the other side of the baseball fields where I finally found Grant and his new pal by a batting cage. Yelled at Grant.

Brought a sobbing, dramatic Grant back to the bleachers and explained he’d have to sit with me for the rest of the game. “But WHY??” he wailed. Parents stared. Or glared. Or both.

“No tantrums,” I told him. “Other parents are trying to watch their boys play baseball.” Grant cried harder. His nose started to bleed. He accused me of not loving him. I had to explain that it was because I loved him so much I didn’t want to lose him at a baseball game.

Just when I thought I couldn’t handle one more minute of game-missing, the last inning ended. I’d missed Miles make it to first base. The players shook hands and I had just enough time to think, “Thank goodness we can go home,” when Jonah made a mad dash for the busy parking lot.

Isla, Grant and I chased after Jonah, who giggled like it was the best game on earth to run toward moving vehicles that could crush him in an instant. I scooped him up and walked another thirty feet to our car.

Isla and Grant climbed in and had just began to buckle themselves in when Grant piped up through his tears, “Where is Miles?”

I’d left him on the baseball field.

I instructed Isla and Grant to stay put in the car, and carried Jonah with me to the field where I saw Miles was just starting to worry he couldn’t find us. Relief filled his eyes as they caught me.

As we walked back to the car, my weary feet barely able to move, I heard a car alarm go off. How annoying, I thought.

It was my car. Grant tried to open the door from the inside, but I’d locked the car and it triggered the alarm.

“What are you doing??” I yelled.

“I’m going to the bathroom, then I’m running away,” Grant huffed. “No one cares about me, anyway.”

Spent five minutes assuring Grant again that I did love him, and that’s why I wouldn’t let him wander away from me, because it is my job to protect him. He wasn’t convinced.

So if you are asking yourself whether you should attend all of your child’s sporting events, the answer is – if your other kids are like mine, don’t feel guilty if you can’t make all of the events; you won’t be able to watch any of the game, anyway, even if you’re there.

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Comments

  1. Whoa. Quite a night!!! Sounds like missing a few games wouldn’t be bad for everyone πŸ™‚ don’t feel guilty – you’re juggling lots of kiddos and doing it well πŸ™‚

  2. We have always figured that as long as one parent or grandparent attended, things were good. Chasing after smaller kids while trying to watch older kids play was never my idea of a good time, either.

  3. I was reading this last night and laughing because I know how you feel. My twins (now 5) have been dragged to their older siblings’ sporting events since they were babies and when they were younger I stayed home, a lot. Even now they disappear in the rink if they aren’t on the ice and I have to go hunting them down, or they run off into the woods (near the train tracks!) with their brother at their big sister’s softball games. I want to be present but I miss so much of what’s going on on the field/rink that it’s frustrating.
    At this point, because my kids are all older and all participating in sports, I have to split my time anyway and I end up missing someone’s something. The kids tend to be good about it, but I do hear the occasional whine because I’ve missed too much of their hockey/softball/baseball. It’s the curse and blessing of having four active kids.

  4. Thanks for the shout out. And you KNOW I feel your pain.

  5. Grammie says:

    Hey,
    Moms are their kids best cheerleaders. This is his JOB. It should be praised not made to be trivial. Suck it up. There is time to sort PIN INTEREST. There is time to go to your son’s ballgame.

    • I’m sorry to hear you did not take my blog post in the spirit in which it was written, and that you thought I would prefer to use Pinterest more than I’d like to be at my son’s games. This post was about how hard it is for me to watch my son’s games when I have to bring all four kids alone, not about me not wanting to be there. I think most people understand I wrote it to be humorous, and that I am actually sad I can’t devote my full attention to his games. I have no intention of skipping his games, and certainly not in favor of playing online. I feel it was quite unfair of you to imply I’m more interested in a website than my own child.

Trackbacks

  1. […] second occurrence was more personal. I received a comment on my last blog post which made it clear the commenter thought I found my children’s lives trivial since I dared […]

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