Play ball!

T-ball and softball season is in full swing now.

We’ve been at the ballfield nearly every Monday through Thursday night since mid-April. After last year’s experiment with Phoebe playing in the machine pitch softball league for the first time and me coaching her team, Phoebe advanced to a full-fledged girls softball league and I’m much more content as an assistant. Faye, meanwhile, is playing T-ball again and I’m helping coach her team again with my good friend, Tim. On some nights, I’ve picked up Faye from school and whisked her home for supper and then to the ballfield for practice – while Kates took care of picking up Phoebe and bringing her to practice a couple hours later. Then Kates took Faye home while I stayed to help with Phoebe’s practice.

Tonight was Faye’s first T-ball game. And the 4 and 5-year-olds keep it interesting for sure.
Game time was 5:30. Which means Kates was making a pit stop to grab supper for all of us at Sonic around 4:50 as I was breaking from my office to head for home. All of us arrived at home simultaneously around 5 and were immediately challenged with corralling Faye, who was more interested in sharing her latest kindergarten artwork with us than with eating her supper and getting ready for her game. Eventually, we succeeded and got her seated at the dining table. She ate her summer, dressed in her uniform, and we left the house at 5:26 … Good thing the sports complex is only a couple minutes from our house.

As Faye and I were walking up to one of the fields at 5:30, a pair of girls dashed in front of us toward the bathroom to change into their uniforms while the rest of the team was assembling in their dugout. Then a girl with a blue shirt joined our team – which has purple shirts – in the dugout. Tim thought she was one of ours and maybe she hadn’t gotten her uniform.

“Remind me of your name, honey,” Tim said.
The little girl was preoccupied with the other girls and wasn’t engaging with Tim.
“Where’s your mom sitting,” he asked, hoping he could get Mom to help.
“She’s over there,” the girl said, pointing across the field to the first base side.

All of us coaches looked to the first base side and suddenly noticed the team – dressed in blue shirts – warming up on the other side of the field. This girl had come to the wrong dugout. We all had a good laugh and directed her to where she belonged.

We finally got the girls organized and placed where they belonged. Tim rattled off a batting lineup and we began the game.

Faye batted first and slapped her ball off the team and up the middle of the diamond. She advanced to one base at a time as each successive batter took their turns hitting the ball from the tee and arrived at home base a short time later.

Faye did the same thing during her second at-bat. We got through two full innings before our hour time-limit was up. And by that time, we’d lost about a quarter of our team because they needed a bathroom break.

Tim handed out a bottle of Gatorade and a pack of baseball cards to each of the girls during a team huddle after the game. He hands out the baseball cards and tells the girls to study the pictures to help them learn how to hit, catch and throw.

Everyone walked away smiling.


Commercial break: Mine

Following up on my post last weekend, I caught another commercial that had me smiling tonight. And this one also involves a car.



Commercial breaks: Living to the Full

It's baseball season, and I'm loving my MLB.TV subscription and the ability to stream any game I want. Watching them on my projection screen every night in my den is pure heaven. ... and it's especially important these days, considering Mother Nature thinks it needs to be like January outside.

The commercials between innings on MLB.TV, however, are limited, which means I tend to see the same ones all the time. They go in cycles as the seasons change and advertisers swap out various products. Some are really good, and some are really bad - and get terribly annoying.

Right now, I gotta say, there's some I really enjoy ... including a sweet series of Phillips 66 commercials depicting a day in the life of a stay-at-home mom, a father and daughter during the course of a basketball season, and a car pool driver.

Watch the commercials below. ... Today, I noticed that, in each commercial, all three drivers are featured pumping gas at once at a Phillips 66 gas station. Look for them between the 10 and 15-secod marks in each 30-second spot. So cool!



Finally. Last night I got the kind of golden moment I had been waiting for during these Olympic games.

The U.S. women’s hockey team knocked off Canada and its 24-game-Olympic-win-and-four-consecutive-gold-medal streak. In dramatic fashion. At 2 a.m.

From the Associated Press
Twenty long years after taking gold when the sport debuted in 1998 at Nagano, the United States snapped Canada's streak of four straight Olympic golds Thursday with a 3-2 shootout victory. 
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored in the sixth round of the shootout to start the Americans piling over the boards, throwing gloves in the air before huddling and hugging on the ice. 
Gigi Marvin and Amanda Kessel also scored in the shootout. Monique Lamoureux-Morando tied it up with a breakaway with 6:21 left in regulation . Hilary Knight also had a goal.
Maddie Rooney made 29 saves for the win against their archrival. The 20-year-old goalie stopped the last two Canadian shooters in the shootout in Brianne Jenner and then Meghan Agosta on her second attempt.
I mean, we really enjoyed watching the Shib-Sibs earlier this week. But their bronze medal performance was nothing compared to last night. ... I do love me some hockey, especially when the stakes are high. Heck, I'm willing to call it the most exciting sport on the planet.

With Kates and the girls in bed by 9 last night, I went to watch the game in my basement den and would have it no other way. Lying on my couch, I was jerking and shouting and punching air with every shot on goal, every cleared puck, every body contact. And when the U.S. scored I clapped so hard my hand hurt.

The U.S. was relentless in their attack – especially in overtime – that I kept feeling as though they were destined to win that game. The opposite outcome would have been utterly heartbreaking. Yet when Maddie Rooney blocked that final shot in the shootout, I almost didn’t know how to react. All I did was sit and smile.

With icy weather snarling our region this week, the public schools canceled today for the second time this week and Kates and the girls are sleeping in this morning. Kates returned to teaching for the first time yesterday after her two-week bout with her flu. But after having Presidents Day off on Monday and then no school Tuesday and today because of the weather, she’s getting some bonus time to recover.

Meanwhile, I’m reporting to work, wide-eyed and ready to go after just found hours of sleep and no days off this week.

I'm thinking I have a date with the girls this evening to watch NBC's replay of the hockey game.

Good read