The ballgame of life
by John Norberg, humor columnist s

Here's an easy quiz. Now that summer is approaching, in those quiet moments when you are all alone with your innermost thoughts - how do you visualize yourself spending the next three months?

Life only gives us so many summers. How are you going to spend yours?

Do you see yourself:

A. Vacationing on a Caribbean island with evening tropical breezes cooling the soft, white sand beneath your feet; seven course dinners with music and dancing followed by moonlight cruises aboard a glistening white yacht?

B. Luxuriating in a mountain resort with a five star spa that caters to your every whim; sleeping late; strolling through lush gardens; lazy hot tubs; big, soft chairs, great books and nothing but time? Or,

C. Sitting in the blazing heat on hard benches, swatting mosquitoes, eating hotdogs and spilling mustard on your new shorts at your kids' baseball games.

If you answered C, I don't have to tell you what you are. You are a parent.

I don't know the exact moment that it happens. But I know that it does.

Sometime between the birth of a child and the child's fifth birthday, parents, basically, go insane.

I have ample proof of this.

Sane people don't get up before dawn all summer to get to work early so they can slip off an hour before normal quitting time to spend their evenings drenched in mosquito repellant watching kids play baseball.

And since most families have several children of different ages, this means they all play in separate leagues in different fields at opposite ends of town.

Mother: "Let's coordinate. I'm taking Jeff, Jimmy and Suzie to Jimmy's game at 4:30. I'll stay there until the third inning and then I'll take Jeff and Suzie to her game. We'll just make it."

Father: "Right. And about the time you're leaving Jimmy's game I can get there and stay to the end and then I'll take Jimmy and go to Suzie's game."

Mother: "Right. And I'll have left Suzie's game after the second inning to take Jeff to his game on the other side of town. I'll stay there until the end."

Father: "Right, and then I'll take Suzie and Jimmy from Suzie's game to Jeff's game and I'll feed them at the concession stand where it's my turn to volunteer."

Mother: "Right, then I'll stay up all night baking cookies before I leave for work tomorrow morning because it's our turn to bring the snacks to the games tomorrow night."

Father: "Say - when does kids' baseball end?"

Mother: "Right before the start of volleyball, football, basketball, soccer, track . . ."

Of course, your kids won't be young forever. They do grow up and move on with their lives and have families of their own. When that happens, that will be your opportunity to enjoy Caribbean islands, mountain resorts, spas, gardens and great books, right?

Dream on.

You'll be sitting in the blazing heat on hard benches, swatting mosquitoes with the rest of the grandparents at their grandkids' baseball games.

There's only one group of people less sane than parents.


They've had a lot more time to understand they are more joys and memories at a kids' baseball field than any five star summer vacation can buy.

Play ball!

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