Mr. Candy and I braved the harsh sunny, 75-degree L.A. weather yesterday to watch my eight-year-old cousin play softball. Knowing her team was called the sweet-sounding “Rockin’ Raspberries” last year, I had visions of little girls in cotton candy-colored uniforms laughingly lobbing the softball to opposing team members, who would try to swing somewhere within a five-mile radius of the ball. Afterward, of course, they would be treated with rockin’ raspberry Jelly Bellies for their oh-so-cute efforts.
Well, I got the “little girls” part right.
The Rockin’ Raspberries are now the Blue Bombers, apparently, and let me tell you: athletics with the eight-and-under set are NO JOKE.
There are determined runners stealing bases. At eight years old! Coaches fighting over calls. (Okay, ME fighting over calls. That was the lowest damn “strike” I’ve ever seen. By the way, your ass called, ump — it wants your head out by tomorrow.) The players have hardcore nicknames such as “Mad Dog,” which surely would hold up as well in the ‘hood as they do in the field.
Most mesmerizingly of all, there was a pint-sized girl named Maddie — I SWEAR I could fit her in my purse — who throws a windmill wind-up pitch that’s so fast, it would make Manny Ramirez‘s dreadlocks stand on end. I kid you not. The girl has a professional year ’round coach, for crying out loud!
Blue Bombers? More like the Blue Badasses. *GULP*
Unfortunately, Mr. Candy and I brought the Blue Badasses bad luck; they suffered their first loss of the season, despite a decidedly bad-ass home run from — who else? — Ms. Maddie or, as I fondly call her, “The Second-Grader I Would Want by My Side in a Dark Alley.”
Some things have remained the same, however, since my own softball-playing days back in the prairie times — namely, the humiliating tradition of having the winning team cheer for the losers. “Two, four, six, eight! Who do we appreciate? The Blue Bombers…! Yay!”
Yeah, you appreciate us LOSING. Don’t you patronize us! I’ll unleash Maddie’s 40-mile-an-hour pitch on your asses!
Hope Baby Girl takes to softball. Because I’ll clearly make a fine coach someday.