One of the greatest things about Spring in Minnesota is sleeping with the windows open. After six months of huddling under blankets trying to stave off hypothermia, Spring arrives and we throw open the windows and let the cool, clear Canadian air blow through the house and take the stench out. However, after six months of hearing nothing but the quiet hum of the furnace as we sleep, the sudden riotous noise of birdsong takes a little getting used to. Despite rolling out of bed at 5:45 am each workday, I seldom need an alarm in April or May. The birds have usually woken me by 4 am when the first pink blush of sunrise begins to lighten the horizon. Last night however, I was awoken from a deep slumber at 2 am by the wild bacchanalian sounds of an avian orgy in the lilac bushes outside our window. I’m not an ornithologist (I just play one on TV) but I am not aware of any birds that sing their fool heads off in the middle of the night. All I can think is that our alcoholic neighbor spilled some of his hooch in the bird bath by accident, and the feathery little reptiles were tying one on.
Which is all a fancy way of saying I’m tired. However, nothing is going to get me down this morning, for yesterday afternoon the slugging droogs of Our Lady of the Subdural Hematoma drubbed the little rich kids from St. Paul, and put them out of the game in the 5th inning with the 10 run mercy rule. Yes, our Catholic Athletic Association has a mercy rule, at least when we play other Catholic schools. Of course when we play the Lutherans or Baptists we show no mercy. Our team is now 4-3 on the year, with only one game left. I couldn’t be prouder of the boys, they have been a joy to coach. If there is anything I have learned in my years of coaching youth sports it’s that it is not about the kids. Seriously, if it were about the kids the little porkpies would be laying in front of the TV playing their Nintendo’s. No, youth sports exists for the edification of middle age men like me who lament the passing of their youth, and need to compensate for the emasculation of their virility in the modern world. Nothing soothes the shame of picking up a package of Mini-pads at Target, as well as barking at 10 year olds like a drill sergeant until they burst into tears. Seeing the fear in their eyes when they drop a ground ball, and look toward the dugout, is one of those priceless Kodak type moments that pass all too soon.
So as Spring turns to summer, it is with bitter sweet feelings that I bid adieu to another season of coaching baseball. 20 Prospect Jr. will continue to play for his local little league team for another month, but my managing duties are over. Now I will have to be content with shouting obscenities at the umpire from the distance of the third base bleachers. Damn restraining orders.