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Our Cups Runneth Over

Our Cups Runneth Over

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Published by Charles Dowdy
Baseball, Denzel Washington and my twins....
Baseball, Denzel Washington and my twins....

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Published by: Charles Dowdy on Jul 14, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/07/2012

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OUR CUPS RUNNETH OVER The baseball coach for my nine-year-old twins’ team is a middle aged Italian man namedTony Z.It never occurred to me that Denzel Washington sounded Italian. But I swear when CoachZ addresses the kids it sounds just like Denzel Washington over-acting some scene on asubmarine where the bad guys are about to explode a nuclear bomb. Only this bad guy is tryingto steal second, and the catcher isn’t paying attention.This is our first year under Coach Z. I am impressed with him now, but I had my doubtswhen we got started. He doesn’t talk at children like lots of adults do. You know those adultswho fire this verbal stream of constant information at kids and hope half of it sticks? Not CoachZ. He asks lots of rhetorical questions, then gets frustrated when the kids try to answer them. For example, he might say, “Why you want to hit the ball over there?” Then the kid will say, “Well, Iwas trying to---.” And Coach Z will say, “No, I’m saying to you, why you want to hit the ballover there?” Luckily children are quick to adapt and they learned that when Coach Z asked thema question, he usually didn’t want an answer. It was just his way of telling them to stop what theywere doing. Suffice it to say, Coach Z is systematic with his coaching and his informationdispensing. It can make for a long practice.
 
Until this year, the coaches always pitched to the players. Now the players get to pitch.Coach Z let every kid on the team try out for pitcher. Both of my twins wanted to try out.Jacks went first. Jacks is methodical. Instinctive. A natural competitor. His tryout went asexpected. Strike. Strike. Strike. Pitch after pitch. The coach would stop him. Correct somethinghe was doing wrong. He’d listen, nod. Strike. Strike. Strike. There wasn’t much pepper on the ball. But Jacks was accurate, and the coach marveled at how well he took instruction. Now it was Wilkins turn.One of the assistant coaches was working with the catcher while the pitchers were tryingout. He was standing about four feet to the left of the catcher.I thought about warning him.I didn’t.So Wilkins did some kind of crazy wind up where his leg went back over his shoulder,then came over the top with a big windmill delivery and fired a fastball at this coach’s head.“Kid, what the hell are you doing?” the assistant coach muttered as he picked himself upout of the dirt.Wilkins didn’t say anything, but he did give this coach, at least forty years his senior, thatuniversal gesture with both hands up that signifies “bring it on”. Like maybe the assistant coachwas considering whether to charge the mound. I’m pretty sure Wilkins picked up the signal whilewatching Sports Center. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only gesture he learned.
 
To Coach Z’s credit, he didn’t give up on Wilkins’ pitching career right away. That’s because Wilkins is big, and he’s left handed. Or, as Wilkins likes to describe himself, he’s asouthpaw.So Coach Z took a good bit of time explaining the fundamentals and finer points of thewind up and pitching motion to Wilkins. And Wilkins would nod the whole time, but not reallylisten. He already had another ball in his hand and he wanted another shot at that catcher’s mitt.Finally, Coach Z pointed at the plate and Wilkins let it fly.The second pitch was high, skyscraper height, but it was in the general direction of thecatcher.Coach Z was pleased, and instructed Wilkins through more rhetorical questions whileWilkins nodded and pretended to take note. This went on for a while, wild pitch, questions, wild pitch, questions, and Wilkins slowly zeroed in on the catcher until he found a way of throwingstrikes.In truth, I was surprised Wilkins hung with it as long as he did. I have always worriedthat the game of baseball was a little slow for this kid. But then again, this was pitching. And a pitcher’s mound might as well be a stage.Wilkins is one of the team’s main pitchers now, and he has done fine. I’m not sure CoachZ’s pointers made much of a difference. Wilkins’ windup is all elbows and knees at weirdangles, the type of body contortions that cannot inspire confidence in the batter. Then he’ll firethe ball toward the plate. Notice I said toward the plate. He is accurate with three out of four  pitches. The fourth? That’s anyone’s guess. I’ve almost convinced myself this wild fourth pitch

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Rachel Keller liked this
Joe Hagen added this note
Funny! I prayed during my short stint on the mound as well, but I wasn't saying thanxz
Phantomimic added this note
LOL! I can visualize the fathers going for the extra large (my kid ain't gonna wear one of them tiny ones!). Who needs comedy when we have little league baseball? : ^ )
Zorin Diaconescu liked this

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