Monday, June 4, 2012

It's All Fun and Games and Coconut Rum and Bleacher Butt Till Your Kid's Up at Bat

(post copyright 2012, Dawn Weber. Image from

You pull your polyester pants up to your bony rib cage.

You tuck your blue shirt down to your skinny thighs.

And you yank your dark socks all the way past your knobby, funny-looking, lily-white knees.

Clearly, you could use some help dressing yourself, because you look like an 83-year-old retired used car salesman. From Scranton.

But you're a Texas Ranger. A Glenford-Ohio-Spurgeon-Financial-Services-Texas-Ranger, that is - nine years old. And it's time to go.

"I'm ready!" you yell.

The hell you are, son.

"Monkey - come here. Let me fix those pants," I say, wrangling your uniform. "Why'd you wear the dirty ones? I washed the other pair! And where are your spikes?"

I get a shrug, an "I don't know, Moth-errr!" and 2.5 minutes of unrepentant wriggling. Then you scramble around, locating your balls haha, bag double haha, shoes and Gatorade before we rush out the door to the car.

When we get to the baseball diamond, you run to the dugout. I climb the steps and park myself alongside several other 30- and 40-something females, my fellow Texas Ranger mommies, and - glancing around at all of us - I decide we look pretty good. We definitely do NOT have the, how you say, "Middle Age Spread."

No, we have Bleacher Butt.

Indeed, the circumference of our behinds and thighs relate directly to the amount of hours, nay, years our rear-ends and gams have spent on these metal stands. The dimples, the dents on our legs? Not cellulite and not fat - merely the imprint of seats surely designed by Satan. Yes, modern metal bleachers are uncomfortable, backless, torturous affairs, hotter than the core of the sun in spring/summer, colder than a polar bear pecker in fall/winter.

It's 91 degrees and humid this evening, so I eyeball another woman's Flavor-Ice popsicle, and - since it's also Friday -  I tell her that it would taste much better with a shot of coconut rum poured in its little tube. Then all the moms launch into an elaborate scheme to sneak various forms of alcohol into the next Friday night game. We're kidding, of course. Kind of. Not really.

Mothers of the Year, that's us.

The prospect of hooch-smuggling really gets us going. Like a bunch of clucking hens, we start several conversations at once, discussing cocktail recipes, coupons and the Target clearance rack. I like cocktails. I like coupons. I like the Target clearance rack. So my mouth is flapping at full speed, giving the girls the benefit of my vast expertise on these topics, and then all of a sudden . . .

. . . you're up at bat.

Got your dirty pants pulled up to your rib cage, your shirt tucked down to your skinny thighs, and your socks yanked up to your knobby knees. Again.

I barely notice, though, because my heart begins to throb in my throat, my hands grow clammy and I focus on you like a laser.

"Keep your eye on the ball, Levi, just like we practiced!" I yell.

You're thrilled to hear my advice. It elicits an annoyed sideways glance, but you don't change your stance. Your eyes are on the ball. Like we practiced.

He pitches.

You wait. You watch it go by.

"Ball one!" says the ump.

The other moms shout "Good eye, Levi!" and continue their cocktail/coupon/Target chatter. Not me. Beads of sweat form on my forehead. I clench all major muscle groups, up to and including my Bleacher Butt.

Tell me: Where is the coconut rum when you need it?

He pitches again.

You swing.

"Strike one!"

"That's alright - good swing, Levi!" yell the mothers, turning back to their conversations. Look at them. They don't have a care in the world, these other Glenford-Ohio-Spurgeon-Financial-Services-Texas-Ranger-moms whose sons aren't yet at bat. I am quite jealous. It's a good thing they're cheering for my kid.

There I sit. More sweat. More clench. No rum.

You wait. Eye on the ball. He pitches.

You swing.

"Strike two!"

Crap. I rub my face, lean forward and put my elbows on my legs. I can feel my blood pressure rising higher, faster. You step back, take some practice swings, return to the plate.

He pitches.


The baseball flies up, bounces twice, then rolls 15 feet or so past second base, to the outfield.

"Run, Levi!" holler the moms.

Now my eyes bulge and throb to the beat of the pulse in my temple, and I yell with all my might, as if it will help, as if it will get you there faster.


Outfielders scramble for the ball, while you pitch forward with the flapping arms and loopy gait that your sister loves to mock. The center-fielder lobs the ball to the second baseman, he catches, turns and throws it to first and . . .


Your foot lands.


I un-clench. Everything.

You made it. Barely. You overrun the base and circle back to crouch at first. Dirty pants pulled up to your rib cage. Shirt tucked down to your thighs. Socks yanked to your knobby knees.

Son, I tell you what: You can't dress yourself worth a shit.

But you're doing alright in baseball, improving all the time. I can tell you'll be a pretty decent player someday. Or a damn fine retired used-car salesmen. From Scranton.

Next batter up, and thankfully it's some other Texas Ranger mom's turn in the hot seat, although you're not out of the woods yet. Still have three more bases to round to get home.

And so I re-clench. Everything. My pulse picks up, my eyes throb and my temples ache. I sincerely hope that - somewhere inside the concession stand - there's a defibrillator.

Or at least a bottle of coconut rum.


  1. Oh I remember the days, and the last ones were with my grandson. That's been, um, err, ahhh. I don't know but the muscles are still clenched.

  2. Reminds me of my youth with the K.C. Royals.

  3. My kids didn't play baseball, but I can tell you the same things apply to stage moms. Vicarious stage fright is ten times worse than regular stage fright.

    Oh, and if you need a clever way to smuggle the hooch into the next game, you could try spiking a watermelon. Here are some handy instructions:

  4. :-) That was delightful.

    My boy played hockey. My butt is still cold to the touch.


  5. I should show my parents this blog post and have them thank me for not doing any sports! :p

  6. Wonderful post, Dawn! We didn't have bleacher butt as much as chair sag - from those collapsible chairs during soccer seasons.

  7. One football player = Bailey's and coffee in the thermos- because football is best played in the Autumn rain, first thing in the morning.

    One cheerleader = same Saturday, different team, double up the Bailey's

    One skateboarder = please don't break anything because mommy doesn't want to go to the ER with booze on her breath.

    *sigh* I miss it.

  8. My grandsons play soccer and lacrosse. They just didn't take to baseball. But it sure is fun to watch them play!

  9. OH Dawn, ya nailed it, sister! Tears in my eyes right now.....from the lack of rum at 2 hour, 7 year old, little league games, but also because you crawled into mah mind, girl. Except it's "TEAM CMC-URGENT CARE!" That's not really a funny name for a pack of 7 and 8 year old boys! LOL. Ahh....Awesome post! I'd love to share a bleacher with you but Imma too busy chasing a 3 year old around the perimeter of the field anyway! :)

  10. I really like how you switch back and forth with your point of views. Oh,heck, I'm with you on the bleacher butt. ;-)

  11. Awesome. I'm 44 now and I still remember the tiniest details about my playing days in Little League. Some fond exciting memories and some humbling moments. I hope Levi is getting even more enjoyment out of it than you are. Good mom!

  12. Been there and still am....or will be in a few minutes. Play-offs. If we played all year, there would be no need for my ab-flex-shock-your fat belts. However, I'm the oldest wide body there only I carry my own lawn chair now...if you fall off, through, or on the bleachers, you do not get rum punch!

  13. Aww. Your love for your little guy shines through every word.

    And I will tell you that I am beyond thrilled that the days of kid sports are over for me. Well, until I have grandchildren.

    Right now, both of my own children say they're never going to reproduce, though.

    I used to say that, too.

  14. This will be me next year, when my son moves out of instructional baseball. I have a feeling I'll sound a lot like you. I love hanging out with my baseball moms. Great post!

  15. My girls are back in softball this season & ever-so-excited that this year, they've earned the glorious right to pitch! They've always been decent batters & they play hard & well overall...the older one with brute force & sheer determination & the younger one being a wily throws off every one of her opponents.

  16. I grew up in the city and we didn't have no uniforms, it wasn't organized like it is today.
    We were tutoring a family of four of the sons, and the second youngest, who was six years, looked real cute in his baseball uniform. I tucked his shirt in. He played that day and I was told later that when he hit the ball, that he started running - towards the pitcher.

  17. Love the sentiment, Dawn. And I hear you-- I could use a little something to take the edge off when I watch some of those nerve wracking games--in our case, tennis. :)

  18. Thanks for taking us out to this ballgame, Dawn. It was fun, though my heart raced and muscles clenched too. It reminded me of watching my nephew's t-ball game. Everyone on his team sporadically grabbed their crotches, except one player - the girl.


  19. Such a devoted mother! And even without the coconut rum... attending any sporting event with no alcohol is what I consider an act of bravery. Kudos, mom!

  20. Wanda - Unclench! Unclench!
    Trav - The Kansas-City-Spurgeon-Financial-Services Royals?
    Linda - All I can say is THANK YOU!
    Pearl - the Bleacher Butt. It never really goes away.
    Bobo - My mother never really let me play any sports either. Now I know why.
    laughingmom - Ah. Chair sag. I know it well.
    Dawn - I am with you, and the Cheer Mom experience is a whole 'nother post.
    Eva - It really is. Except for the bleachers. ;)
    Muffintop - I figured you could relate to this one. Thx for pimping me,my friend. oooxooo
    Heidi - Thank you, and I wish you were there with me! We could spike our popsicles.
    Wow - I have missed you! Thx, I do enjoy practicing baseball with the little guy.
    Jody - I have my own collapsible chair, the trouble is, you miss the coupon/Target/cocktail conversations when you sit over on the side.
    Kelly - come hang with us!
    Kerbi - Good luck to your girls this year. Don't forget your rum!
    Ami - I foresee grandchildren for you. And Bleacher Butt. ;)
    Anthony - They are so adorable when they're really little, too, running the wrong way, in the outfield picking dandelions.
    Lisa - Tennis spectating benefits from coconut rum, too.
    Robyn - That little girlfriend had some class. ;)
    NY - Brave?! Moi?! Well, I guess you're right.:)

  21. I was the hyper dad, holding it all in. Me and another dad were giving pill bottles filled with mints, pretend drugs,I swear! My son would always look for me when he went to bat, and gave me a little wave..I miss those days.

    p.s. Pearl, I was wondering...

  22. RJ - The little wave from the batter's box. I remember those! T-ball days. *Sigh*

  23. Excellent essay! You caught it all!

    I spent years in the bleachers watching my daughter PITCH. Try being a Mom of a pitcher; high blood pressure and all. And now? She's graduating high school and it's over...and I cried at her last game. It went too fast.

    Enjoy those bleachers, Mama!

  24. Well. This certainly was not the post about anal bleaching that I expected.

    I actually found this post really incredibly sweet. I really loved it.

  25. My mother-in-law has to read this! She will love it.

  26. Just wait til Levi graduates College or gets married and you pull out a collection of Levi stories, I'll bet the laughter is rich and thick and full of love.

  27. My son and daughter played baseball in Iceland during the summer. Where the sun never really set.
    Baseball. A sport unlike soccer which has a clock.
    Baseball. Where the bottom of the ninth often coincided with the 11:00 news.
    And resulted in numb bleacher butts.
    But, the Officers Club WAS on the other side of the field.

  28. Darlene - Thanks for reminding me to stay present...on my bleacher butt.
    Vixen - anal bleaching? That's a whole 'nother post. ;)
    Jen - Thanks for showing her , and for pimping me over on Facebook. You rock!
    Diva - You're right! I will print them out for graduation, the better to thoroughly humiliate the kids. Great idea!
    Penwasser - you had me at Officer's Club.

  29. On advice of Muffintop, I'm here for the first time. You is funny. Being a baseball mama of a 9 year old ain't for the faint of heart. That's for shore. All the clenching must have counted toward some sort of exercise, right? And at least earned you one little ole' bottle of Rum.