Caleb is on a traveling baseball team, which is SO fantastic, because now we get to attend baseball games 4 to 5 TIMES A WEEK! This is a PRIVILEGE and not a hassle at all. No sarcasm here. Nope. No sir.
We missed the first two games; they were played against faraway towns called Webster and Pittsford. At our most recent game, I asked another baseball mom (I’m so not getting a bumper sticker that says baseball mom. Or soccer mom. I’d rather die. Though if you have one, I think that’s fantastic and super supportive.) what we had missed.
“How’d we do?” I asked her.
“Oh,” she said, “it was bad. When they were at bat, it was like boom, boom, boom- three outs. And then they were in the field forever. My husband now calls them the Bad News Bears.”
“Both games? They were both that bad?”
“Ohhhh yes. And get this- Pittsford’s team? They come out with fancy uniforms, each with their name and number on the back, and they were all wearing matching sunglasses.”
It’s at this point I glance out at our own shabby uniforms and notice that the backs of the t-shirts do not have names OR numbers on the back.
Baseball mom comrade tells me that our rivals were giants, and that she would really have liked to catch a glimpse of their birth certificates. This struck me as funny- competitive moms storming the mound and demanding to see birth certificates.
These kids are 7.
John and Caleb came home last night discouraged. The Chili traveling team has lost 4 games in a row, and Caleb, in tears, fears they will never win. John was upset with the coach on the opposing team.
“He was telling his kids to keep running the bases, purposefully running up the score when our team was already way behind.” Apparently, this is frowned upon- even in the pros. It is not a “classy” thing to do. And when your players are just learning the sport, it is especially bad behavior because you are neglecting to teach fledgling baseball players a valuable lesson: good sportsmanship.
So I’m just going to put this out there- these were all teams from the east side of the city.
Rochester, divided by the Genesee River, is geographically comprised of a blue collar side and a white collar side. The east side is the white collar side. The affluent reside on the east side. (John is one of about ten people from The Firm who do not live on the east side. Not that we are affluent. But lawyers who have husbands and wives who also work and who have little school debt and one to two kids are typically doing okay.) West-siders think East-siders are snooty and uppity and snobby, and East-siders think West-siders are yokels or gangsters. (Not everybody thinks this way, obviously. But everyone knows someone else who thinks it.)
I have now idea how this economic divide occurred: I only know that I grew up on the west side and feel wildly defensive when anyone disparages it.
So, there I was, feeling very resentful of the East-side coach for running up the score and mad at the other East-side coach for having his players walk out on the field with Tom Cruise from Risky Business sunglasses. Because the last thing the world needs is a bunch of 7 and 8-year old aspiring Barry Bonds’s- players who must Be The Best, Look The Best, Be The Biggest, and have a smug attitude about it.
And then, and I am dead serious, I got antsy. I started thinking about Caleb and how he deserves the best. And I actually said the following to John:
"Do you think we should have gotten a house in Pittsford? You know- so Caleb would have a better shot at baseball scholarships?”
The kid is seven. And he’s pretty small, so they might not have played him anyways.
Still, though. Should we move?
Picture of Genesee River from Sheridan Vincent Photography