June 20, 2008

Report from last weekend

As we stand on the verge of an other busy, activity filled weekend, I take some small consolation in the knowledge that this weekend upcoming will not be as busy as the weekend just past.

The highlight on Saturday was the Boy Child’s last little league game of the season. This was, without question, his best game. He has turned into quite the little short stop. Our team (playing little kid rules of 3 innings and each time getting to basically bat the entire line up) recorded 8 outs against the other team for a season high number of outs. Of the 8, the BC personally recorded 6 of them. In the first inning alone, he cleanly fielded ground balls hit to him at short stop and threw the runners out at home in a force play with the bases loaded. It was the only time this year that we got out of an inning without the other team scoring against us. He was, as one of our other coaches said, a vacuum cleaner, just sucking up any ground ball hit to his side of the field. The reason he was able to do this was because when he is on the field, he has total focus and concentration on the game – unlike just about any other kid on the team. The BC got hits at each of his at bats, including a line drive one hop grounder that went off the shoulder of a fielder. He hit it so hard that play had to stop until the kid stopped crying and shook it off. The BC ran to first, exhibiting “nice wheels” as one of our coaches said. On the next play right after that, our batter grounded to second and the BC ran as fast as he could from first to second. Only, the second baseman was standing in the base path between the BC and the base. So, the BC wiped him out, dashing him to the ground and taking him out of the play. There followed from that an extended discussion between the BC, the second baseman (who was complaining about the rough treatment) and the coach of the other team. The BC explained: “He was in the way and I was afraid I was going to get out”. The coach agreed, telling his player that he had been standing in the base path and the BC had the right of way.

The change in the BC from the first game, where he waved pathetically at the ball with his bat, couldn’t really throw, didn’t know where to run, and had no idea how to field, was extraordinary. He was an absolute stand out. The boy’s got game.

On Sunday, which was Father’s Day, I was up with the Girl Child and we were out of the house by 6:45 to drive down to Greenwich for her first away horse show. The show was held on the grounds of a very wealthy family’s estate in the backcountry of Greenwich. The GC was terribly worried the whole way down that her pony would misbehave. Her pony loves grass and cannot stop himself from grazing even under the most inappropriate of circumstances. The show was being held on a grass field. The GC, as it turned out, was right to be worried.

Her first event was Short Stirrup Equitation Walk Trot. The pony stopped in the middle of the event no fewer than eight times to graze on the tasty grass. The GC did not lose her composure. She just pulled his head back up and kept on going. She did get angry, though. She was at the trot in her half seat – a jumping position where her bottom is off the saddle and her hands are up by the horse’s mane – when the pony stopped short. She almost went over his head. This time she stood in her stirrups, yanked his head up forcefully with her left hand on the reins while, at the same time, smacking him in the face with her crop. It looked as painful as she looked determined and it sure got him moving again. I was standing with three of the senior riding instructors, watching, while the GC struggled with her pony. All three thought that the GC showed exceptional poise and composure. One of them said that any other child confronted with this situation would have been in tears in the middle of the ring long before the eighth stop. The other instructor, the most senior, said to me that the GC is the complete package – great skills and a tremendous attitude – that she isn’t missing anything. It was lovely praise. More than that, though, it was a wonderful Father’s Day present to watch the GC battle through and not lose her concentration or composure. Everyone agreed that the GC is one tough kid. I was thrilled.

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