Your Son Made My Day
Although I derived a great pleasure in teaching young boys the rules of baseball, being a Little League coach is a thankless job. Parents who were inept at the sport, or never played the game were the harshest critics.
Spring Valley, NY Little League mandated that every player on a team is to play at least one inning in every game.
I selected my starting lineup with the full knowledge that they would eventually be replaced by a teammate. My son was the catcher. He played an entire game because no one wanted to play the position.
My team scrambled onto the field. No sooner had the umpire called, “Batter Up” than a parent came fuming at me.
“What kind of manager are you? Bobby was an All-Star last year. He batted fourth. Why isn’t he on the field?”
I calmly told him the rules state that each member of the team will replace a player in the field and play for at least an inning so that everyone will play. His son will play later.
“I don’t care,” he wined. “Bobby was an All-Star last year!”
With his wife trying to calm him, he deposited himself into his folding chair.
It wasn’t long before he came tearing at me demanding to know why my son started and was still in the game. I told him if his son wanted to be the catcher I would gladly replace my son. Again, he returned to his chair.
The score was 6 to 5 in favor of our team. It was the last inning. I placed Richie, a child with mild cerebral palsy to play third base.
The All-Star’s father came charging at me.
“What are you doing? Richie in the game? We’re winning! You’re giving the game away!”
If I could, he would have returned to his seat from the end of my sneaker.
The opposing team had players on first and second base. It was one out. With two balls and two strikes on the batter. He swung and missed while the player on second base tried to steal third. My son threw the ball to Richie. He caught the ball and tagged the runner for the third out.
Richie was lifted into the air by the boys of his team. Richie was ecstatic!
With a lump in my throat, I went over to his father who had tears in his eyes. I joined him.
“Your son,” he said, “made my day.”
“Your son made mine,” I replied.