We live close to a park with two baseball diamonds where 7-year olds play. Since our pup, Tillie the Wonder Dog, loves kids, when I walk her in the evenings, I go by the park. My son and his friends are 13 and they umpire these games, so it’s fun to watch them working, too. Last night’s walk was special. In about 10 minutes at the park, here’s a breakdown of what I saw.
A friend of ours was tending to a little boy on the bench (turned out to be her son) whose feet didn’t touch the ground with a dirty, tear-streaked face holding an ice bag on his forehead, swinging his legs back and forth like he was waiting for an ice cream.
With runners on first and second, the ball gets away from the catcher. The third base coach yells to the runners, “run, run, run”. The kid at second base looks at the coach with this “who? me?” look while standing firmly on second base.
The next pitch gets away, the coach yells run, and this time, everybody’s on the move. The catcher makes a decent throw, but the third baseman can’t handle it and it goes into left field. There’s much yelling to the left fielder to throw the ball into the infield. As I look at the infield, I see no less than 6 kids calling for the ball. The first, second, and third basemen, the shortstop, the pitcher and the right fielder were all trying to act as cut-off man. I hear a coach yell, “Billy get back to right field!” The kids puts his head down, kicks some dirt and goes back to right field for more inactivity.
A ball is hit on two bounces to the third baseman. It misses his glove, but hits him in the right ankle. Jimmy’s down! He’s not crying though, which intrigued me. He gets up and, without putting his right foot on the ground, he begins to hop toward foul territory and the bench. He was clearly going to sit down. He’d been hurt. Isn’t that where hurt players go? No one asks him if he’s ok. No one rushes to his aid. He couldn’t believe it when his coach yelled, “Rub some dirt on it.”
“Rub dirt? On my foot? How’s that gonna help?” his face said. Is it magical dirt?, he wondered.
The third base coach tried to reason with him, telling him that he had to put some weight on it or it would never get better. Never. Ever.
Still incredulous that he was not going to get to go to the bench and get one of those fun ice bags for his foot, he slowly, he placed his right foot on the ground and limps cautiously back to his position.
The next hit ball goes where? You guessed it, to Jimmy the Injured third baseman. He treats it like a snake and chases it and beats it into the ground several times before picking it up and diving to the bag to force the runner at third. A nice play. He limps as he gets up off the ground, looking around to see who is watching.
We managed to find the one little kid that TtWD (Tillie the Wonder Dog) doesn’t like. A kid in need of a tranquilizer dart who raced up to her from behind, hit her on the head, tried to pull her tail (the trifecta of bad human/animal manners), then asked if she could “pet” the dog. “Um, we’ve got to go,” I lied.
No children, animals or umpires were hurt during the observation.