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Hill Country Living

By Coulter Fussell

It’s May so little league season is in full…swing? If your evenings aren’t spent sitting on the metal bleachers down at Crawford Sports Complex and eating a giant dill pickle for your entire supper while periodically scanning the tree line for your younger kid to make sure he didn’t wander off toward the sewage lagoon while someone else’s four year-old jumps up and down the bleachers flat-footed making your world shake like an earthquake for two solid hours, well, I’m not sure we’ll ever truly relate. 

And on that note, why is it that kids are always wandering off to places like the sewage lagoon? Or the last time someone saw them they were playing in the ditch up behind such-and-such’s house? Why do kids always wander off to places of useless peril? Why don’t they ever wander off toward the laundry room to fold some clothes?

I love watching the kids play ball, even though sometimes the adults can be a little extra.  I want my kid to win, sure, because it makes HIM feel good, not because it’s make ME feel good. If he loses a game but still had fun, then I’m just as happy than if he won. 

What difference does it make to me? His life and safety don’t  hang in the balance so I’m going to relax and have fun. If his self-worth survives 90 minutes of little league then we’re all good. If it doesn’t, then it may be time to re-evaluate the importance of little league in our lives.

And the young players aren’t the only kids out there on the field to consider. There are a lot of teenagers working the games. They’re working hard, learning to ump, more than occasionally taking some pretty good heat from the grown men in the dug out, and then getting up and going to school the next day. 

Kudos to all the teenagers there playing umpire, working concession, stats and scoreboard. When I was a teenager I was a terrible Chuck E. Cheese waitress who missed her first two days of work because I forgot I had a job. Twice. In a row. 

In retrospect, the ballpark would have been a much better option. But probably anything would have been better because when you’re a terrible Chuck E. Cheese waitress there’s really nowhere to go but up. I imagine I forgot I had a job those first two days because I was in some sort of denial. Six hours in a row of identical performances by an animatronic rock band that was fronted by a large unidentifiable purple creature which looked like maybe it was Barney’s Neanderthal cousin is a lot, y’all.

Summer is coming and soon baseball season will be over for a whole other year. Until then, I look forward to hanging with Water Valley’s parents down at the games, watching our kids have on the field, rummaging for pickle money on the bleachers and scanning the treeline for our town’s little siblings.

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