Are you ready for some baseball?
As I write this, we are one week into College Baseball Season. Little League evaluations have already happened. MLB teams have started practicing. I have already forked over my credit card to pay for the travel ball uniforms. And we are only three measly days away from High School Baseball Tryouts.
And yet, it's still February and the high temperature is 40 degrees today. We literally had the last regular season basketball game three days ago. As usually happens this time of year, I'm thinking, "Hey, Baseball Season. SLOW YOUR ROLL, DUDE. Can we just take a breath, please?"
Since I've been through this transition more times than I can count, I know what Baseball's answer is.
You would think I would be used to this and thus have prepared myself accordingly. This will be the third time I will send a young fresh-faced freshman hopeful out to tryout for his high school baseball team. I have listened to the Athletic Director warn about tardies and absences and about VHSL rules and the dangers of steroids and Red Bull, so often I could give the presentation myself. I have filled out concussion awareness forms and emergency contact numbers enough times that I can write them in my sleep.
And yet, I'm never quite prepared for the fact that Baseball always seems to show up before the weather and I are quite ready. So if you're feeling the same way, I'll help you out a little with my tips for surviving those first
weeks months of baseball season when you are freezing your tail off and promising the Lord that you will never ever again complain about the heat in the summer if someone on the team could just please make the last out before you turn into this:
Now I realize that all of the following items seem like common sense, but sometimes we just need a little reminder. I have a tendency to get so excited when baseball returns that I act before I think and wind up showing up to the ballpark in that cute new Spirit Wear I
got suckered into buying bought to support the amazing athletic program which helps to mold my boy into a man. That stuff will have to wait though. Mother Nature cares not about your new women's cut fashion tee.
First things first. You need a really good winter coat.
This is not a time for vanity, Sister. If you look better than Leo or George Costanza, you are winning. The coat must cover your bum because outdoor metal bleachers will not make for a cozy afternoon at the ballpark when it's in the 40s. A hood is also a plus. No matter what coat you wear, the good news is that if you don't have an adequate one right now, you might be able to find some good deals as we are nearing the end of winter.
Next, you're going to need a really good pair of gloves.
If they have texting ability then that's even better because if your husband isn't there you know good and well that you can't just text him that "Johnny got a hit." You will have to give details about whether it was a line drive or a blooper or a hard grounder. If Johnny strikes out you're going to need to describe if it was swinging or looking and if the pitch was a slider, a curve, or a fastball. Start brushing up on your knowledge of pitch placement now. Or do like I do and just say, "It was a nasty curve ball. No one could have hit it."
Third, a good lip balm is an absolute must-have.
In March and April, the wind is going to be whipping around and it will not be kind. (Please refer yet again to Leo's lips in the The Revenant. This is not the look we're going for.) Get a good soothing chapstick, but I need to make it clear that lip gloss is a gigantic NO. Not only do you run the risk of the wind blowing your hair so that it ends up stuck in your sticky lip gloss, there is a real good chance you end up with baseball dirt in there as well.
Fourth, you're going to need a winter knit hat that covers your ears.
Listen, I know you're so excited to wear that baseball cap that you got all blinged out with "Baseball Mom" on it in sequins, but this will not work out in March unless you want your earrings to freeze right into your ears. For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven and that little cap is going to have to wait until the Lord sees fit to raise the temperature. Cover your ears.
Fifth, you gotta have some good warm boots.
The go-to boots for most seasoned baseball moms are Uggs or some similar knock-off brand. I resisted those boots for so many years because I think they make me look like I have the legs of an elephant. Then I realized that I have never once seen a cold elephant in all of my life. Just leave your cute sneakers at home until summer ball.
Sixth, a thick blanket is a must.
No matter how well you prepare yourself, sometimes you are still going to need one more layer to get through the 6, 7, 9 or (Lord-Help-Us) Extra innings. A really good blanket is key to making it through. I would suggest checking out the camping section at your local sporting goods store. The best ones I've seen have a polyester side and a fleece side.
Lastly, if all else fails, remember that there is no shame in parking your car in a strategic spot so that you can watch the game from the parking lot.
This option offers you a plethora of benefits. You can listen to a podcast while you watch. You can sing aloud to as many 80s hair band tunes as your heart desires. You can catch up on some reading until your kid's on deck. And perhaps best of all, you can second guess the coaches and criticize umpires aloud without embarrassing your child and getting thrown out of the park. BONUS! (Oh, I kid. I would never.)
I think that about covers it. As in all aspects of life, preparation is key to success. If your kid is trying out this week, the NVTBL and I wish them the very best of luck.
Bundle up, Friends, and let's play ball!