Because both my kids are playing Little League baseball this spring, I’ve been spending a lot time in the bleachers lately. A very much lot of time. And what I’ve discovered during these endless games, while my fingers chap from obsessive peanut eating and my butt numbs from the hard aluminum benches, is that there are two types of people in the bleachers: those who clap and cheer when appropriate, like myself, and those who never, ever, ever shut the hell up. Like most of the other parents. For example, here’s a recent exchange:
The Mom I Sat Next to Last Night: “Whooooo, Leo! Get ready, Leo! Take some practice swings, Leo! Look at those pitches, Leo! Pick out a good one, Leo! Wait for your pitch, Leo! Here it comes, Leo! That’s a boy, Leo! GO LEO! LEO! GO LEO! HERE COMES THE BALL, LEO! SWING, LEO!!! WHOOOOO LEO!!”
Me: “Excuse me, but what’s your son’s name again?”
Then we have the Tea Party grandparents. I don’t know their names, but they show up at every single game in their Fox News jackets and never really seem to know anyone on the teams. Probably not a bad way to spend retirement, I suppose. Beats sitting at home and falling for telephone scams.
Anyway, these two sit in the bleachers every night with their bottles of Rush Limbaugh tea and keep up a steady stream of baseball patter. In their thick Texas accents. And for some reason, their patter only consists of the following five sentences yelled in no particular order:
“That’s how you swing a bat!”
“Now you know what a strike looks like!”
“Give it a ride, cowboy!”
“Pitch a striker!”
“Throw ‘em out at third, Rusty!”
Note: There is no one named Rusty
Now, I will fully admit that I only pay attention to the game when my kids happen to be doing something. I know, that’s horrible, where’s my team spirit, I’m such a jerk, stupid Wendi, gotta support the kids, you moron, what the hell’s wrong with you? But you know what? There are only so many times I can watch Joshy B. bobble a ball at first base before I want to push his mother off the top row and yell, “HE SHOULD BE ON A CHESS TEAM, LADY! YOU’RE COSTING US THE PENNANT BY MAKING HIM HAVE A SPORTING EXPERIENCE! AUGH!”
Oh, Joshy B. Use your glove to catch the balls, man. Not your tummy.
Now, I used to keep myself entertained during the games with my iPhone, but I’m not allowed to do that anymore. At least, not since I almost got beaned by a foul ball while I was preoccupied by a video of a badger drinking Sprite. Then my husband said no more phone because there’s no way he wants to deal with me appearing on the local news with the headline: MIRACLE STORY: SUBURBAN WANKER GETS CONCUSSION AT BALL FIELD. SAVED BY THE 15 PEANUTS SHE HAD SHOVED IN HER MOUTH. Which I guess I can sort of understand.
Therefore, I have to keep myself occupied in the bleachers in other ways. Since my husband also won’t allow me to bring a book or a foot bath to the fields, I usually do one of the following for nine or more innings:
- Gossip about the PTO if I see one of my friends in the stands.
- Gossip about the HOA if I see one of my neighbors in the stands.
- Gossip about the FedEx woman if I see the UPS woman in the stands.
- Gossip about myself if nobody will sit by me because of all the gossiping I’m doing.
- March up to the snack stand and tell them I found a hair in my HubbaBubba and demand a full $.10 refund.
- Send texts to my husband in the dug-out that say things like, “Scouting report: Ethan C. has a good swing, but a weak bladder. Seriously, center field smells like a dog park.”
- See how long I can stare at a mom’s Tweety Bird ankle tattoo before its wings begin to flap.
- Yell things like, “Run to the end zone!” to impress the other fans with my charming and ironic sense of humor.
- Tell the toddlers who are scraping the aluminum benches with car keys that I’ll buy them beer if they stop it RIGHTHISSECONDDOYOUHEARME?
- Calculate how rapidly my eyes are wrinkling as I march toward death.
Obviously, all of those things make me very, very popular in the bleachers. So popular that maybe I’ll have to consider going to more games over the next few years. In fact, maybe I should even plan on going to games when I’m retired.
I really hope Rusty’s still playing then.