Little League dads tussle over pop fly hit to shallow outfield

Hoover, AL — This past weekend Little League athletes took the field for a cross county rivalry showcasing the talents of Allen’s Furniture Ferrets vs. Sew What Badgers. The Ferrets came into the game with 3 wins on the season, and only 1 loss. The Badgers haven’t faired as well, boasting only a single win, and 2 losses.

“It’s great to see a community come together supporting sportsmanship, encouragement, and sports… under gorgeous weather, too,” Hoover councilman Rich Stocker gleamed.

The first pitch was thrown around 9:03am, with the sun hanging just above the tree line about 50 yards behind the outfield fence, a cool breeze brushing past the excited dugouts on either side of the field.

Both teams are coached well, and it was clear all the players were in good spirits. That is, until the 3rd inning when 2nd baseman for the Badgers approached the plate for his second at bat opportunity. After a strike and a ball, Johnson Miller made contact, sending the ball into the air with the force of an unknown former actor on “Dancing With the Stars.” That is to say, it was a blooper with the possibility of landing just behind the Ferrets shortstop.

The ball was called out after the centerfielder hustled in to make the catch. Across the diamond, some shouting.

A Badger dad: “Nice try on the fly ball, Miller,” loud enough for all to hear.

Another Badger dad: “Well, actually it was more of a pop fly, but you’ll get ’em next time,” also loud enough for the entire gathering to notice.

“You think so, Bill???”

“I do, Doug. Did you see where the ball went?”

“I did. It was a FLY BALL. Clearly.”

“Fly ball. Ha! If you ever played the sport, you’d know that was an easy pop fly.”

“If I ever played the sport? So now you’re the expert in all things Little League?”

“I have 3 trophies in the attic from 1982. How many do you have?”

“Why not 4? Did you hit a pop fly to lose a championship??”

This went on for 2 more innings until players from both teams made their way to the bleachers to separate the feuding men. Bill was sent to his car while Doug was moved to the stands of a different game to think about what he’d done. In 5 minutes, the players would come back to check on them.

Meanwhile, discussion in both dugouts arose on what a pop fly is and what a fly ball is. The Badgers Googled it, messaged it over to their friends on the Ferret side of the field, and the game carried on without incident. After the game, both teams met at Dave & Buster’s for pizza and bowling.

At the time of this report, Bill and Doug have not resolved their differences… and were not seen at Dave & Buster’s.

-Out of the Wilderness News

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…and I don’t even like baseball!

I’ve been watching the World Series between the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals. This is weird for me, because I don’t even like baseball! I played all of my childhood, but sometime around 9th grade the magic was gone. I think it was my coach at a private school in Miami that turned me off to the sport altogether. Not that I was the next Aaron Judge or anything, but it just wasn’t fun that year.

Enough about me though! I did happen to catch the final game of the Yankees vs. Astros, too, and the 9th inning was crazy. A homerun by NY to tie it up and go to the bottom of the 9th. Then Altuve hits a homerun to win it for the Astros. Crazy stuff.

Usually baseball is so boring to watch, right? Just admit that’s true and we can move on. In fact, the game before Altuve’s homerun, I couldn’t make it to the 9th… and I’m on central time so it was only about 1030pm and I was out like a light! With all the pitching changes and commercials and foul ball hits.

So with all that said, I’ll admit the past 2 games, at least for the first innings, have been interested and fun to watch. But will Houston battle back to have a chance? It looks like the Nationals aren’t playing around… they want this championship and they look good.

What’s been boring or exciting to you during this playoff and championship series?

-Out of the Wilderness

I think I’ve embarrassed myself in almost every sport

Yesterday I was thinking about the MOST EMBARRASSING sports fail in my entire 39-year life. It was so bad… the kind of thing you’d see in a movie or in a YouTube video, like this.


Thankfully no one was recording me, so I’ll just have to tell you how it went down…

I was playing soccer, a sport I love to play. But I was playing a position I wasn’t cut out for: goalie. Yikes! So that already made me uncomfortable, plus I only knew one person on the team so I felt like I had a lot to live up to with all the teammates who probably expected me to help them win. Help them win, meaning stop the ball when someone kicks it towards the goal. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, just hold your horses right there!

One time someone kicked the ball from about mid-field. Not a hard kick, but it had some leg behind it. I was all alone since both teams were still mostly on the other end of the field. As the ball rolled towards me, I had zero pressure to do anything athletic. And “not do anything athletic” is exactly what I did! I remember thinking, “Oh man, I’m going to knock this ball so far.” I was so proud of myself for what I was about to do, the team would love me for it. They would carry me off the field on their shoulders. High fives all around. Tell their grandchildren about what their goalie did that day.

Well, they probably WILL still their family what happened… I moved towards the ball and engaged my kick approach. Head down. A few steps, then boom with the left foot…

In my defense, the field was really rough, so the ball was bouncy. So bouncy that when I made a swift kick, I came into contact with nothing. Nothing at all. Air. The stupid bouncing ball had bounced OVER my stupid foot! Embarrassing, right? Well, not as embarrassing as the ball bouncing over my foot AND rolling into the goal. Yep. That’s exactly what happened on the worst day of my sporting career.

I can’t ever show my face at the Donelson YMCA soccer fields again.

via Giphy.com

Other bad days include a critical “go on two” false start in flag football, an “I got up too quick from a slide” in softball where I got up too quick and fell backwards, another softball blooper where I slid head first into first base and was called out because I never actually reached the base, and my entire middle school basketball career was minutes long because my coach only played me a few minutes each game– entirely embarrassing! I still have room for other sports like volleyball, baseball (although I might have a story to share about that later), tennis, and maybe running.

Please don’t judge me. But I will accept any empathy from you, dear reader.

-Out of the Wilderness

I was going to be a baseball player

In middle school, one of my teachers asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember timidly responding, “I want to be a baseball player.” Well, it wasn’t for a few more years that I would lose my love for the sport (and haven’t ever regained it :)) but up until then, I believed I could do it.

2 me and Whitney Williams

me in 5th grade sporting a Semper Paratus shirt.

Childish dreams, that’s what it was. I didn’t have the talent, and even if I had the drive and the willingness to work hard at it, I didn’t have the talent. Have I mentioned that I didn’t have the talent? But kids don’t think about what it actually takes to make it in professional sports. Or anything professional, really. It takes time, dedication, and oh yeah, talent.

The last year I played organized baseball was in 8th grade. Something flipped and I didn’t care to play anymore. When I went off to college (I say “went off” like my parents didn’t live right down the street), I played intramural softball for a winning team, albeit we were all students not playing for any school-sanctioned team of any sport whatsoever, but we were the best intramural team at FSU for 3 or 4 years running. #stillhavemyjersey #livinginthepast

As a grown man, yes I’m a grown man!, I love playing softball and even if most leagues I’ve been in fall into the “beer league” category, I’m still competitive and I’ll push a guy if it comes to that. Hmm, maybe I’m just living out the broken dreams of a middle school kid who just wants to come back to his hometown and ask his dad, “Are you prouda me, Pops?” like some dramatic New Jersey school dropout with a strong accent.

It’ll never happen, though, because my dad doesn’t go by “Pops”. Dang it!

-Out of the Wilderness

I’m just standing here watching airplanes…

When I played Little League, I’d say a conservative estimate of all the airplanes I looked at when they flew over the fields was all of them. I remember coaches telling me to pay attention. I was paying attention. To the airplanes. I can’t say what it was that captured my attention so wholly, but they did.

And they still do.

I’ll be standing on the mound about to toss an underhand lob to an eagerly waiting batter in adult league co-ed softball and I hear one. I look up to see the lights flickering overhead.

Or like today when I was mowing my front yard for the first time this year. Standing still, mower running, glaring into the blue sky as a plane that just took off screams overhead.

I don’t know why I do the things I do. Maybe I was a pilot in a previous life. Or an airplane. But one thing is for sure… I WAS PAYING ATTENTION, COACH! Whew, sorry. I’ve had that bottled up for 20 years, I guess.

-Out of the Wilderness

How to tell if someone is left-handed, and other information on left-handedness

watch on rightIs there a way to determine if someone is left-handed without asking them? Yes! Just check which wrist their watch is on. In general, left-handed people wear watches on their right wrist, and righties will wear it on the left wrist. There are a (left)handful of explanations for this:

  1. It’s easier to do things with the dominant hand (write, throw, etc) without wearing a watch on that wrist
  2. It’s easier to read the time on the wrist not already doing something.
  3. A person would probably use their more dominant hand (more skilled, more comfortable, etc) to do the work of strapping the watch on the opposite wrist.

I know for me it’s easier to latch a watch on my right wrist, using my left hand to work the clasp, than using my right hand to latch it on my left. Oh yeah, I might as well tell you now, I’m left-handed! I know there aren’t a lot of us around. Statistics show that only 10% of the world’s population are left-handed… so you’re welcome, world, for gracing you with our presence! Just send cards and gifts to me directly, you should already know my address.

Just the other day I was playing sand volleyball and was 1 of 3 lefties on a 6-person team. It was awesome! We won every single game, even the games we lost! I love being left-handed. Partly because it draws attention, and because I feel like part of an exclusive club. Other members of the club include Prince William, Angelina Jolie, Kurt Cobain, Keanu Reeves, Terry, Nicole Kidman, Mary-Kate Olsen, Lady Gaga, Ben Stiller, Ava, Dale Earnhardt, Jr, former President Obama, Jim Carrey, Paul, and Deion Sanders, just to name a few.

But it’s not always glamourous. Can you imagine Ben Stiller searching for a lefty-friendly desk in school? Deion Sanders going to three different sports stores to find a baseball glove? Mary-Kate not knowing which thumb to raise when she said, “You got it, dude!”? President Obama finding a smooth-writing pen to sign all his executive orders? It’s so sad to think about.

To be hated cordially, is only a left-handed compliment.
-Herman Melville

There are a couple of dated words that represent lefties, as well. The word “southpaw” is thrown around on baseball fields, referring to left-handed players. The term is still used today, although the origination is up for some debate, as stated here. Another word, and this one might surprise you, is “sinister.” It’s incredible to me that a word now mostly associated with horror movies, evil characters, and harm had anything to do with left or left-handedness.

We can’t help it, we were born this way!

sinister
-Out of the Wilderness

*Terry- my mom, Ava- my niece, Paul- a guy who plays sand volleyball on Tuesdays.

 

 

Meeting the Ex’s Next

I’ve always thought our relationship was like Tom and Summer’s in (500) Days of Summer. When we were together, we weren’t ever quite on the same page. And there was a time after our breakup I really wanted to find (spoiler alert) Autumn first, like it was a competition. Honestly, what I really wanted was for her to find out I was with someone else, as if her jealousy would gratify me. That was a long time ago.

handshake

an example of a handshake

But I still didn’t know how it would feel to find out she had a new boyfriend. And in a dramatic twist, not only would I find out she did have a new boyfriend, I’d have the chance to meet him within the same hour! Holy I-Hope-This-Isn’t-Like-the-Dream-Sequence-In-Dumb & Dumber-When-Lloyd-Meets-Mary-(Samsonite)-Swanson’s-Husband, Batman! It was a curveball I wasn’t expecting. But hey, I’m a heck of a baseball player!

I was standing by the chili station at the company Christmas party and suddenly, there she was. And there he was. After the quick let’s-not-make-this-more-awkward introductions, I turned to the pot of chili. My buddy later asked, “On a scale of 10, how weird was that?” The answer is so refreshing. It was a zero. And it really was.

But if anyone had the expectation that I’d be happy for her, they’d be disappointed. I’m not upset or jealous either. I’m somewhere in the ballpark of indifference. And in reality, that’s a win.

-Out of the Wilderness