This weekend, Gregory had four baseball games. Most, if not all, of the games were make-up games, because there was so much rain in the Spring. The weather this weekend was in the high nineties, and in the sun it felt like way over 100! It was a rough weekend for all of us, but the worst of it came in the final game on Sunday afternoon.
In the top of the last inning, the opposing team was winning by at least 10 runs. Gregory batted and popped the ball up along the first base line. He wasn't sure if he should run or not, so he hesitated and then ran. The ball bounced near him, but he made it to first without being thrown out. A few seconds later, commotion erupted on the opposing bench, and then before we knew it, the coaches had convinced the umpire (who was a teenager) that Gregory had been hit by the ball and was technically out. Turns out that Gregory had gotten hit, but there was some question as to whether he was in or out of bounds at the time. The ump called Gregory out, and he had to make that long, shameful walk from first back to his bench (after he'd been standing safely on first for at least a minute). When he got to the bench, I happened to be standing there. Gregory came to me and started crying. He's generally a tough kid on the field, but this was the end of a long stretch of HOT games (all of which I think they lost), and he was feeling defeated by the entire experience, and was sure that he shouldn't have been called out. One of his coaches came over and explained to him that he had indeed been hit, and that the out was fair. The coach encouraged him to shake it off and let it go. Gregory seemed to do just that. He grabbed his glove and headed out to the mound to pitch (the inning ended while the coach and I were talking with him).
I, on the other hand, was not able to let it go. Being true to my Zahniser nature (of being competitive and speaking our minds), I walked to the opposing "dugout" and said to the three coaches standing there, "Couldn't you guys just ease up a little? You're already beating us by 10 runs!" The main coach responded to me by saying, "We're just trying to coach our kids." I gave him a dismissive hand, and then turned and walked away.
I'm not sorry that I said something to them, in fact the only thing I'm sorry about is that I didn't say more. If you will indulge me, I'm going to tell you right now what I wish I would've said. When the coach said, "We're just trying to coach out kids." I wish I would've responded with,
"You're not coaching, you're trying to micromanage the entire game. We have an ump, let him do his job. It's not enough for you that you're beating us soundly, you also have to make sure that some of us are crying? What kind of men are you? I would much rather have my kid play on a team that loses more and is coached by three men of integrity, who are competitive, but are also fair, encouraging and compassionate, than to have him play on a team (although a winning one) that is coached by you three yahoos, who feel the need to not only coach, but also umpire the game, and teach your kids that winning at any cost is what matters! You should be ashamed of yourselves!" Then I would've turned to the opposing parents (all of whom were actually watching me), and said, "Is this what you want for your kids?" My walk away would've been triumphant, and I would've basked in the glory of my cool-under-pressure handling of the situation.
Ok, I guess we all know that the truth is that it's probably better that I didn't say anything more than I did. For one thing, Gregory was unaware that I had spoken at all, and if I'd continued it may have gotten ugly (who knows with those guys?), and that would've been hard to keep from everyone else. Gregory would've been embarrassed. Secondly, I do feel slightly better just having written the above paragraph about what I wish I had said, and it's possible that I would've felt worse if I had indeed made a bigger scene. I'm also not sure that my tirade would've taught our team any better of a lesson than the one being taught by the jerks coaching the other team. So, all in all, now that I think about it. I probably said just the right amount! I think I got my point across without bringing any embarrassment to myself or any member of my family! :)
I have a post script: Remember when I said that Gregory seemed to let it go? Well, Gary told me later that while Gregory was pitching the last inning, he had a scowl on his face that Gary had never seen before. Gary said he seemed unfazed by the walks he gave up or the strike out and line drive he caught. He continued with the scowl. Gary asked him about it later, and Gregory said that he was waiting for the kid who played first base to come to the plate. (He apparently was the one who relayed the message from his coaches to the teenaged umpire that Gregory should be out.) Gregory said that when he came up to bat, Gregory was planning to hit him with the ball!! Fortunately, that boy did not bat again! Gary definitely told him that he could not take revenge in that way, and I would've told him that too. BUT, there was a teensy weensy part of me that said (only to myself, of course), "That's my boy!" Don't mess with a Zahniser/Pierson -- really don't do it! LOL