I darn near started a riot tonight.
For those of you who know me, you know that 999,999 times out of 1,000,000, I'm as mild-mannered as they come. But flip that switch -- and I can count on the fingers of both hands the times in my life that it's happened -- and I get truly angry. Tonight was one of those nights.
For the last several years, I've been helping coach Adam's baseball team. We were getting a no-hitter pitched against us tonight and they were scoring a lot of runs. That's fine. That stuff happens. The son of the other team's head coach hit a shot back to the pitcher's mound, and our guy made an amazing diving stop. I still don't know exactly how he came up with the ball.
After making the stop, though, he threw the ball over the first baseman's head. Safe. That's fine. That stuff happens. But this is where it got ... well ... interesting.
The other team's coach marched to the third-base line and started berating his son for not hustling down the line to first base. The kid was safe and we were getting trounced already, but he wasn't quick enough to suit his father. The guy was screaming, just like he did last year when he shoved -- yes, shoved -- his son into the dugout after walking a couple of our guys.
Did you hustle?!?
Did you hustle?!?
And before I knew it ... before I had a chance to fully consider what I was going to do or say ... I was screaming right back at him from our dugout.
He was safe! Now shut up!
I think I surprised him. I know I surprised myself. He yelled back and said that he was just trying to get some effort out of his player. A woman on their side of the field shouted that if we had better coaching, we might win a game once in a while. A few on our side of the field started firing right back. His third-base coach told me to mind my own business, that they would coach their team and that I should worry about coaching mine. Good point. But in that particular instance, the way their team was being coached stunk.
To be honest, I respect the fact that their team knew exactly what to do with the ball when they got it. They fielded like Gold Glovers. Some of the balls they hit traveled so far that they should've had flight attendants. But for the sin of not hustling, this one kid got screamed at by his coach.
And the coach was his own father.
Here's the deal. I love Adam with every ounce of my being, but if he inherited even a fraction of my athletic ability, he'll be lucky to run to first base without tripping over his own feet. That said, I also love Jesse with all my heart and he couldn't care less if he ever attends another sporting event, much less plays in one.
Should the kid have run to first as hard as he could? Sure, he should have. But if the effort wasn't there, the time and place for correction was in the dugout, out of earshot of his teammates and certainly everybody else who happened to be at the game. There was no good reason whatsoever to show the kid up like that. The young man may make the major leagues some day, and he may not. My hope is that he enjoys the game.
Adam had the last word on the matter after we got home. He came up to me and hugged me as hard as he could.
Dad, he said, I'm glad you don't act like that guy.
That's good enough for me..