jen groeber: mama art

4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.

Little League, It Ain’t No Big Thing

I admit it. I was equipment-shamed by the guy at Modell’s. And Modell’s by the way? It sort of sucks.

I’d much rather go to Dick’s. Especially with my mother and my husband and all the kids. So that my husband and I can ask my mother over and over again in as many unique ways as possible if she likes Dick’s. Because she will keep answering emphatically over and over again, “Yes, I love Dick’s!”

Which is worth the price of admission, if you ask me.

At any rate, in case you’re not from around here, or you’re living off the grid (with a computer by the way, which would be weird) let me tell you that I mean Dick’s Sporting Goods. Not just whatever Dick’s you find in your neighborhood.

But I digress.

I signed my kids up for Little League. Like all four kids. Because we did soccer in the fall and we did it last spring and we did it last fall and enough already with the soccer for a minute, alright? I mean, I was a field hockey player. I sort of hated the soccer players.

So we’re all signed up for Little League in the next town over. One would think we do that so if I embarrass myself somehow on the sidelines, at least it’s not in my town. But really, we do that because they’re so mellow in the next town over that they allow sign-ups to continue until pretty much after the opening day Little League parade. Which, by the way? Opening day parade?! How cute is THAT?! They don’t parade in soccer. Not at all. Or do the National Anthem. Or throw candy. Or have your coach ride on the back of a pick-up truck through town with a huge speaker between his legs blaring the theme from Rocky.

a crowd of kids in orange team shirts, waving flags

Herding cats is easier than getting Bubba Bats to walk in a parade
May 2015

Also, the next town over gives a sibling discount and if I can get a discount for having too many kids too fast, well that’s a miracle. The world should run by those rules. I’d be getting some free merch, yo.

But the downside to a mellow town that allows slackers and ne-er-do-wells like me to sign up is that, well, they’re soooooo mellow about everything that they don’t tell you when practices are. Or if there are games. Or when. Or if you need equipment. Or what equipment.

So when I went up to the guy in Modell’s and said I needed Little League pants after the opening day parade he pointed out that I was way, way, way too late. Then he asked me what color pants they needed. And what color socks. Do they need a cup? And probably they’ll want helmets. Is it baseball or softball, by the way? And they’ll need their own bat. And also, do the pants need to have stripes? AND WHAT COLOR STRIPES?!

I was dumb-founded. What was he talking about? I pointed at my four-year-old putting on the batting helmet backwards so that her whole face was covered and said, “They’re not playing professional baseball. This isn’t the “Major Leagues.”” (I may have used air quotes here.) “They’re like her, only slightly larger.” And I may have slowed it way down when I said. “This… is… Little... League.”

Gees. They call her group “Bubba” bat. You feeling me? Sounds like she could show up with a tennis ball wrapped in duct tape, a big stick and some barbecue ribs and she’d be good to go.

But then he pretty much repeated his questions about the pants and the stripes and the socks and blah, blah, blah.

So I bought one pair of weird, polyester, baggy, clown knickers in gray for my oldest, who is either A or AA, I don’t understand what the As mean, in all honesty, and then I headed to the sneaker aisle for some cleats.

two kids wearing team shirts and baseball caps

These kids clearly need baseball pants
May 2015

The sales lady asked for which sport and I replied, “Should that really matter? It’s Little League.” She then showed me the $30 cleats only for baseball, to which I repeated my shtick. “Blah, blah, blah …Little... League…” My seven-year-old isn’t Wayne Gretsky… or Wayne Brady, Tom Brady, Mia Hamm, Babe Ruth, whoever. He’s a kid who never played baseball, and at this rate may never play again.

Needless to say, I left with soccer cleats. Because he’s not going to break his toe sliding into anything just because he’s wearing multi-functional cleats. Gees, Louise.

The whole escapade was ex-haust-ing. And still not cheap, even with the absence of random supposed Little League essentials. Plus I left feeling like a bigger dumbie than I felt going in, and that’s not an easy thing to make happen. I mean, baseball belts? What the what?!

My son was of course thrilled with his clown pants and new soccer baseball cleats.

And the next day I went to Dick’s. And as my Mom would say, I love Dick’s. They had me at paddle boards and water sports.

And at Dick’s that sales kid got my mojo. He handed me three pairs of polyester, nightmare, elastic-waist, gray pants because “you don’t want to work too hard to keep them clean and for the little guys either white or gray is usually fine.” He said soccer socks were fine (loved that sales guy!!) and that now I didn’t need belts (elastic waist, yo.) He didn’t say a word when my daughter ran around ramming her baseball-helmeted head into metal things to hear what sound it made although he did acknowledge the lice epidemic of Local Little League 2014, of which many of my nearest and dearest partook.

I thought that adorable sporting goods kid did such a great job I bought a lice-free helmet (it’s adjustable!) and even threw in socks to match the team t-shirts of the older kids.

So in the end, I bought a ton of crap, drove all over tarnation and decided that my sons’ junks weren’t worthy of cups quite yet. Although at Dick’s it was hard to resist…

Next year we may just go for soccer again… or girl’s and boy’s lacrosse. I mean, how much equipment could that possibly take?!

two kids wearing team Little League shirts

After the parade
May 2015

(I’d like to dedicate this to the Moms who I group texted from Modell’s and Dick’s to ask what pants I needed and if your kid had a cup and should there be stripes and is a 12″ glove too big for a seven-year-old. You know who you are and you proved yet again, girlfriends are more useful than Dick’s. Period.)

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15 comments on “Little League, It Ain’t No Big Thing

  1. Amy Reese
    May 7, 2015

    Love this, Jen. You are hilarious! Your sons’ junks aren’t worthy of cups except Dick’s is hard to resist. Ha ha! I thought it was adorable my son needed a cup when he played baseball, although it wasn’t Little League. And now, he plays water polo. So, he only needs a swim suit. Yay! Oh, but also the parka and the bag and the matching team outfits…darn it!! I hear Lacrosse has lots of equipments, but maybe if you can get that sale’s guy at Dick’s, you’ll be all right. Love. This should be FP’d!

    • jgroeber
      May 20, 2015

      Not FP’ed but ARP’ed? (Amy Reese Pressed!) I’ll take it!!

      I have been buried in this crazy Little League world. Who knew we’d end up having it EVERY night or day?! And water polo? I’m not sure that fits my vision of myself as a fan… sitting on damp benches while the ceiling drips on me. And the thought of my sons’ junks in Speedos is even funnier than a cup!

      • Amy Reese
        May 22, 2015

        Yay! ARP! I’ll take that nod. That’s what we do out here. There are so many of your posts that should be pressed! I swear. Your consistency is amazing. Your posts are always so heartfelt and pieces of art, IMO.
        Those speedos are quite small. My son is only 2 inches shorter than me now. Found out yesterday in a physical! Where is the time going? Every day with Little League. That is huge. You are Wonder Mom!

  2. UpChuckingwords
    May 8, 2015

    I totally agree with Amy. ‘Nuf said. FantasDICK

    • jgroeber
      May 20, 2015

      Ah, to conjugate the word Dicks!! Irresistible… or is it Irre-dicks-table. (Too much?)
      Thank for dropping buy.

  3. Jennifer Berney
    May 13, 2015

    That next town over sounds great. Let’s all move there–all of the parents who don’t need things to be perfect. And, just so you know, the Dick’s near me sells hamburgers.

    • jgroeber
      May 28, 2015

      Hey, how’d your comment get back here?! And a Dick’s with hamburgers? And “buns”, I hope. What are the chances? Please tell me they ALSO sell sporting goods. Because that would be a home run.
      I know you’re looking forward to signing your boys up for Little League. Trust me… it’s awesome. (Actually, not so much. I’ll let you know about lacrosse though.)

  4. kellylmckenzie
    May 13, 2015

    Hahahaha! Welcome, welcome, welcome. To the land of dicks. Here Dick’s is a lumber company. Yes, a lumber company. All over town there are signs saying “Dick’s.” And yes, I so remember feeling rather perplexed about the equipment requirements for the land of baseball and the land of lacrosse and the land of … Must be why my two ended up mainly in the land of swimming and water polo. Just like Amy above – only needed suits. Mind you then came meets and we needed a tent, a zillion suits, a canopy, a zillion towels, a cooler, and on and on. But that’s a comment for another time.

    • jgroeber
      May 20, 2015

      What is it about kids and costly sports? I feel like we should have been told that leaving the hospital with them. Or been given a lifetime 20% off at Dick’s.
      And what is it about water polo and Canada? But then again, I’m from public school New Jersey- we didn’t even have boys’ lacrosse.
      Although we did have DIck’s.

  5. I read this last week but wasn’t logged in. I had to remember to come back and tell you how much I loved it.

    • jgroeber
      May 20, 2015

      Ah, thank you for making the effort!! I know how that is. But you should know your comment totally brightened my day. Thank you!

      • Well good. I read all your posts, just wanted you to know because I am usually not logged in when I do so and can’t comment.

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