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Saturday, Apr. 13, 2002
What a Friday. I spent most of the latter half of it with Eldest Daughter Beth in a frenzy of softball related activity.

One of the highlights of any day would be to watch her play in one of her varsity games (not to be confused with the year round and exorbitantly funded traveling squad), these battles are between rival high schools and they're playing for honor here, okay? Not to mention a little newsprint and parental/alumni pride (sometimes poorly concealed).

So yesterday, they go up against one of the district high schools, which has the distinct misfortune of having one of the most loathsome human beings I've ever met for a coach. We've had some dealings with this guy before, not to be described here. Although I will say that he tried to recruit Beth for his team and was aggressively and profanely given to much histrionics when she turned him down. I'll just go ahead and call him Coach Shit since there is no other pseudonym that even comes close to objectively describing him personally.

Coach Shit is the sort of person you'd like to send as an envoy to deepest Afghanistan to fuel some anti-American tirades. He slings helmets and bats after a loss. He loudly berates his players, chiefly his own daughter, in front of large crowds. He is arrogant and boisterous and the perfect caricature for those sports documentaries you see about adults who ruin children's sports for their own agenda.

The fact that he coaches the "rich kids" school (in terms of geographic wealth it is far and away the one that draws the kids from the upper crust) as opposed to Beth's more blue collar one is not lost on the media or the fans. We always draw a crowd.

Naturally, I get a little worked up about such games. Hey, I'm a pretty laid back guy but there are certain things which percolate my adrenaline and this is one of them. I try to temper it and maintain a certain decorum. Witness the following exchange between Beth and myself prior to the game.

Beth: "So, any words of advice, oh guru of the game?"
OF: "I want you to mercilessly pound hell out of that fat Coach Shit and curtsy after you do it."
Beth: "Well that wouldn't be very nice…
OF: "Forget nice. Slaughter! Maim! Go forth ye, and destroy!" (ed. note: spittle and frothing effects brought to you courtesy of Lysol, chopping motions by Gallagher, etc.)

See? I thought I restrained myself pretty darn well.

Stu accompanied me to the field of battle, mainly, I suppose, to keep me tethered against potential incidents. Like when I threatened to jump the fence and give Coach Shit a bitch slapping for screaming inanities at various female youths. Stu is reasoned, Stu is calm. He is also very large. This sort of work suits him well.

The game seesawed scorelessly until the bottom of the fifth when Beth's team scored two runs on some cunning and devious basepath maneuvering. In the midst of the home field joy, I noticed Coach Shit attempt to drop kick a bucket of balls, miss, and stomp about the dugout in a fury. Unable to hear over the cheering, I nonetheless took his rabid lip-syncing to mean that, perhaps, he was a bit displeased.

heh heh heh….

At the top of the next inning he took his place in the first base coaches box, which naturally put him in close proximity to Beth, the first baseman (first base girl? basewoman? naahhhhh…). His florid and petulant face began to lecture those in the general vicinity, with a great deal of whining thrown in for seasoning. Hugely audible, of course, to any and all who cared to listen.

OF: "Hey Stu. I'm gonna go over there and whip his ass just on principle."
Stu: "Nope. You're not. Down boy."
OF: "Nobody would care! I'd get a standing oh!"
Stu: "Probably. But Beth would be embarrassed as all get out."

So I sat on my haunches and strained at the leash and made all sorts of growling noises. But when Beth's team set the visitors down in order two more times, I hopped up and grinned and my tongue started lolling out of my mouth and I ran in circles. Yep, right there in place.

Beth emerged from the victorious post game group hug and jogged over to us for a hug of another sort. She managed to stop me from jumping up and down long enough to get a big kiss on the cheek from Stu and I as I babbled "Great! Cool! Woof! Took a chunk outta that buffoons day, didn't you? Wheeeeeeee!"

Does it sound like I'm one of those overly active poor sports who dot the fields of our children's athletic fields? Of course not. I'm still the same lovable guy. Who loves to see the Coach Shits of the world with their underwear exposed and their pretentious, demeaning attitudes forthrightly adjusted.

Why, I was even magnimonious enough to hail him on our way off the field. He remembers me well enough. He recognized me. Although the little golf clap and grinning wink I gave him didn't do much to improve his funk.

OF: "Stu! Stu! Lemmee go! I just wanna goose-step him off the field! Just once!
Stu: *sigh*

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