Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 19 March 2010 00:00
As we boarded the jet, we knew we were in for a long, full day of travel. The final destinations were Los Angeles and San Diego, with a stopover in Dallas. (Why can’t the airlines use direct flights from New York to the West Coast?)
Visiting grandchildren is a pleasure. New York was cold, rainy and snowy. We looked forward to the sun and fun in the Southwest. Swimming was a must on our schedule. Both cities turned out to be chilly and cool. No lazy afternoons at the pool.
Instead, we were fortunate enough to see a baseball game and a softball game in San Diego. The girls on my 14-year-old granddaughter Rachel’s softball team were trying hard, but they could barely scrape up nine interested high school girls. They have other interests.
Rachel played shortstop and she was a truly good fielder. But, she threw “like a girl”- two feet, together and flat on the ground. She released the ball above her head and the ball took a high arc getting to first base.
Back at the house I had a catch with her. I instructed her to step forward with her left foot as she threw the ball, and face the person she was tossing to. At the end of our backyard catch she was throwing hard and straight.
Next was an evening Little League game with my grandson Eli. Eli is 11 years old, and thin as a toothpick. “He doesn’t eat,” claims his mother. However, as his coach points out, “Eli is a fabulous athlete.” He played shortstop and his throws to first base were hard and true. He scooped up the grounders like Peewee Reese. He swung the bat with vigor and I was amazed at his skills. He caught a ball hit over his head with a terrific catch. He knocked in the first run for his team. He was all business in the game.
The six-inning game started at 6 p.m., under the lights, in the evening, and it was freezing. Blankets and hot coffee kept the parents going, and proudly watching their offspring. Eli also pitched the fifth inning and held the lead.
Some Little League rules I heartily approved of:
1. No pitcher could throw more than 40 pitches.
2. Each player on the team was in the lineup and given at-bats in the proper order.
3. After five runs were scored in an inning, the side took to the field. If a team was up by six runs, the game was over.
4. No inning could start after 8 p.m. (Thank goodness!)
5. Only six innings.
It is still fun watching the kids at sports.
When we returned home, I went to a soccer practice indoors in a public school in Manhattan for 4-year-olds. My grandson Lewis obeyed the coaches and followed all the exercises to a tee. Most of the other kids were free spirits.
On both coasts I watched my grandkids play.
What could be better?