AUTHOR: NICKLE (aka BRENDA)
SUMMARY: Probably the last two parents you’d want to see at a t-ball game. Just a little slice of life scene, mainly because this came to me a few hours ago while at a game myself. Pure silliness.
POSTED: 19 Apr 2004
WARNINGS: None Listed
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
AUTHOR NOTES: None
“Batterbatterbatterbatter SWING! Oh yeah…that’s it. C’mon, one more…..batterbatterbatterbatter SWING! HoooooBoy. Go home and have some more twinkies, doughboy.”
Cordelia looked around to see if anyone heard Angel’s muttering and elbowed him. “Knock it off.”
Angel ignored her and grinned at the third baseman, hunching his shoulders down to communicate that the boy needed to crouch and be ready. Cordelia sighed.
“Angel, ya gotta just enjoy the game. We signed him up for a night league specifically so you could see the games…”
“Yeah, this is great. My boy. Third base. George Brett. Brooks Robinson. Freakin’ Mike Schmidt. And Conner.” Angel grinned widely. “Did you see him field that easy dropper that that little porker tapped?”
“Angel, you have to shut up.” Cordy was exasperated. Her whisper became fierce. “You don’t know that that little porker….I mean little boy’s parents aren’t sitting right here by us. Shut up.”
Angel squinted as Conner’s coach traded shortstops. “Oh man, not Travis. That kid couldn’t hit the side of a barn….” Two rows down, a woman looked back and glared. “Oh, hey, Ms. Blackman. Travis is…lookin….good.” Ms. Blackman glared a moment more, and turned back around with a huff. Angel nudged Cordy, who had buried her face in her hands. His voice was an incredulous whisper. “I mean, Travis? Shit. The teams never gonna get the pennant with his fielding.”
“For the last time, there is no pennant. They’re all five. There’s 8 games, there’s some little medal that everyone gets at a crappy pizza party at the end of the season. There’s no pennant. There are no playoffs, there’s no world series. Some of these kids don’t even know where to run after they hit the ball. This is T-Ball, and you’re being obnoxious.”
“Yeah, well, I can see why they wouldn’t win a pennant…” he sighed as Travis tossed
a wild ball that careened to the left and hit a lightpole just behind the on deck circle. “Because they suck.”
“They’re five, Angel, just like Conner….he’s five. Five years old. You get this, right? They’re all kindergartners. None of them have ever played before.
“Well, yeah, but at least Conner….” He broke off, standing and clapping loudly when the batter on the other team swung and tapped the ball a few inches off the tee into the small circle drawn around home plate. Cordelia yanked at his arm and his clapping tapered off as he noticed that no one else was clapping and parents from both teams were sending him dark glares.
“We’re supposed to be supportive, Angel….of BOTH TEAMS.”
“That’s stupid. This is a competition. Our son is a Bulldog…we cheer for the Bulldogs. We do not cheer for the other team.” He snorted. “Especially when they’re the Unicorns. Holy shit. Who thought that name up?”
“Oh, jeeze…here we go.”
“I mean…the Bulldogs…yeah, there’s a name….the Tigers….the Warriors….names you can get behind…but the freakin’ Unicorns?”
“Angel, I swear…..”
10 batters later, Conner stepped to the plate. As the game had been going for almost exactly one hour, he would be the last batter of the game. Angel leaned forward anxiously, gripping his hands together. Cordy leaned over and whispered, “He’s five, Angel…this is t-ball. There are no scouts from the Yankees here. Chill.”
Angel ignored her, muttering to himself as Conner carefully tapped the bat against each shoe and then threw his dad a big grin and a thumbs-up. He wound up and let loose with the bat, smacking it gently off the tee. The ball dropped to the ground and rolled to the boy on the pitcher’s mound, who scooped it up and threw it to first. The first baseman dropped it and Conner sped on by, rounding the corner to go to second. Chasing the ball on short, chubby legs, the first basemen threw it vaguely towards second. The second baseman, a tall skinny girl with braids, raced out to get the overthrow. Conner trucked on around second and barreled to third, his little legs churning as fast as they could. Angel was on his feet, yelling, as the second baseman finally got the ball and threw it neatly to the third baseman, who dropped it and started crying as it rolled away. Conner plowed on past him and charged home, grinning as he ran over home plate.
Angel bellowed out “CONNER” as the teenaged ump called out “GAME.” Cordelia sighed as she began to gather up their things. A smiling woman in front turned around to pat Cordy on the arm sympathetically.
“At least he didn’t threaten to eat the umpire this game.” She chuckled at Cordy, the chuckle fading as she met Angel’s stony gaze. “Ummm. See you next week.” And the woman scampered down the bleachers and out to get her son.
“He called Conner out.” Angel whispered to Cordy. “And clearly, Conner was safe.”
“LALALA….I can’t hear you….” Cordy replied in a singsong voice as she began to step down. “Just keep to the deal. No more threatening to eat anyone….no more flashing of the vamp face, no more menacing of anyone’s child.” She turned to face Angel as he climbed down beside her. A soft grin tilted her lips. “C’mon, Mickey Mantle. Get the boy….if you’re good, I’ll take you both for some ice cream.”
Angel nodded and trotted off towards the bench where his son sat, listening to the coach.
Cordelia watched, grinning to herself as Travis’ mom walked up to her.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but your husband…”
“I know…I am so sorry.” Cordelia responded wearily. “He’s just a little excited….”
“Well, yeah….” The woman looked at Cordelia, her mouth drawn into a taut line. “Travis is a sensitive child, unused to aggressive roughhousers like your husband. And may I say that your son seems a little….”
Angel stood and talked with the coach for a moment, grinning at Conner as the coach commented on the boy’s abilities. Suddenly, a shriek rang out over the stillness and Angel looked in time to see Cordelia smacking both hands at Travis’ mom, who was swinging an insulated cooler wildly at Cordelia’s head. Both women shrieked in anger, and all conversation around them had ground to a halt as the teenage umpire raced over to separate the two women.
Fifteen minutes later, the Plymouth roared down the street as Angel gripped the steering wheel, trying to not laugh. Cordelia slumped in her seat sullenly, staring out into the night.
“Baby” Angel’s voice was strained with the effort it took to not laugh. “I thought we were all clear on a little thing called ‘sportsmanship.’ After all….” He grinned. “It’s just a game. Ya just gotta enjoy it.”