The Blind Side and Mercy Rules

Saturday was The Firebirds' 4th game of the season, and as Coach Andrew was out of town, it was just me in the dugout with the boys. We were playing a team we'd received advance warning on, and true to that warning, they were big hitters and they played like an experienced squad. What can I say - we lost 12-0, called in the fourth on the Mercy Rule, but the boys played well. I know this coaching thing is a good match for me when I still have a great time on the wrong end of a Mercy Rule game, and it seemed like despite the score, my guys had a good time too. They're totally starting to gel as a team, at least as far as pre-game horseplay is concerned. It's pretty easy to see improvement week to week in their skills, especially the kids who started a little behind the others. When the guys that haven't got the bat on the ball once in a game do it for the first time, it's honestly thrilling. We missed some basic baseball concepts that will be addressed at Wednesday's practice, but really - as long as the team looks like they're having fun, I think I'm doing my job well.

Last night, Bec and I finally saw the Blind Side. She loved it; I was entertained. For the first 30 minutes of the movie I could barely look at that sad kid's sadder face, even though I knew it was going to turn out well. My simple review would be this: there wasn't enough football to be a movie about football; there wasn't enough tension to be a movie about race and class. I think maybe it was a movie about motherhood, but there wasn't enough of the other kids in the family. I'm just going to have to read Lewis's book. Maybe that will help me understand how Joe Theismann's broken leg fit into the movie's bookends. At the very least, I now have more respect for Sandra Bullock and her somewhat appliance-like face.


Put Me In, Coach!

A friend from Hunter, Andrew, and I quickly found out that we both like sports, more importantly - baseball. This lead to the following exchange at happy hour after we finished our last midterm:

A: Dude, I've been meaning to ask you - would you be interested in coaching a little league* team with me?
J: Absolutely.
A: Sweet!

A few days later I found myself as a coach, at my first youth baseball practice ever. My list of realistic regrets is pretty short, but not playing youth baseball myself, is in the top 3. Never mind the personal history there - I swear I could've been a solid 1st baseman (lefty that I am) - 4 practices and one official game into this season and I must say it's stupendously fun. Saturday, the Prospect Park Baseball Association opened the season with a parade in Park Slope that went down Seventh Ave and up 9th st to the Park, with a local marching band leading the way. The streets were filled with teams, coaches and family. Then later in the day we had our game. I suppose I should report that we did not emerge victors, but isn't the score fun-against-fun when it's 9 - 2? Wait...how does that saying go...I better look it up. Really, I was very proud watching our guys out there stealing bases (yes!), striking out the other team's little dudes (yes!), and even blasting a couple deep shots. We had the bases loaded a few times but couldn't bring 'em home. Luckily, there's a whole season ahead of us to figure that one out. While walking the dogs I'm finding myself thinking of drills to run in practice, and now that we have this game under our belt, I'm thinking of what we did well and what needs work. There were a lot of smiles in the dugout and I think we've got a pretty scrappy Bad-News Bears vibe kicking around, which is good because I'm a big Walter Matthau fan.

*technically, not Little League. It's a local Brooklyn organization.