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Hill Country Living

Voting Fatigue And Grueling Winter Are Nothing Compared To Ball Tournaments

Spring is slowly springing and I feel that Water Vallains are finally emerging from the haze of voting fatigue we all suffered during the Great Winter Vote Off of 2017-18. I got so tired of voting! This was an unusual feeling because I typically love voting. People fought hard to be able to vote. Some people died so that we could vote. 

There are still people on this earth who don’t get to vote about anything affecting their lives whatsoever. But, man, here in Water Valley? That was entirely too much voting. The voting fatigue I suffered was bordering on voting narcolepsy. We are taking democracy to a hyperbolic level and need to sit and collectively watch a few episodes of “The Crown” to counter all this.

But I shouldn’t complain, I’m glad we have so many people interested in the direction our town is moving and willing to put themselves forward as civil servants. And although voting and freezing all winter was tough, it has nothing on baseball season.

Parents, y’all know. The practices are fine. The games are cute. The uniforms are precious. But the tournaments….that’s another story.

My oldest kid is playing travel ball this year as well as city ball, so I imagine my next weekend without 48 hours of straight baseball will be some time near Watermelon Carnival. Will it be fall until I have a supper on a Saturday that is not nachos chips in a plastic bin with a little separate plastic Velvetta pocket as I fight with my youngest kid about the addition of jalapeños? Probably. 

Who is this person who came up with little league baseball tournaments? Did they get rich off of them and now live on a yacht somewhere in the South Pacific while the rest of us are stuck on the outskirts of New Albany every weekend, perusing the aisles of a convenience store during the three hour wait until the coaches announce the next bracket? 

I ask this because I can’t imagine that the person who came up with this is still involved as they would have immediately realized that a diet of barbecue flavored sunflower seeds and Air Heads is not good for the body or soul, whereas yachts are.

My youngest son is, shall we say, not an athlete. But he is a trooper and attends all his big brother’s tournaments dutifully. As long as he has money for the concession stand, he stays happy.  But as soon as that last dill pickle goes down, he gets antsy and doesn’t understand his purpose for being there. This is when I take him to the local Walmart on what we call a “Just To Look.” 

You baseball parents know how expensive tournament weekends can be. The gas money there and back, the hundreds of concession stand trips for the whole family, the hours of bumming around town stores waiting for games to start and finally the congratulatory (or consolatory) trip to the local Mexican place after the tournament ends. You can blow through money like you just spent happy hour in New Orleans.

So I had to implement a “Just To Look” rule for my seven-year old. I take him to the local Walmart toy aisle during warm-ups and games but it’s just to look. He can pick up and look at anything but I ain’t buyin’ it. It may seem cruel but he enjoys his Just To Look trips and who am I to not let a little boy dream? 

And sometimes I cave. Last weekend he left Walmart with a giant plastic toy watch that for reasons unknown to either of us occasionally screams “Are you ready to RUUUMMBLE?!”

And I am not. I am not ready to rumble. But I do ultimately love watching the kids play ball. I’m wishing good games to all the players and good times to all the little brothers and little sisters who eat the pickles and play on the bleachers.

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