Grass, Mechanics, Softball, Bad Parents, & Good Kids

Yesterday we went to Rainier where Lydia was playing in a rec ball tournament, something she’s done a lot of in the past. It was an opportunity for her to reunite with old friends and to play again with many members of the HS JV team. It was a great day and the girls played just great, winning all three of their games. We only watched the first two, then Diane brought me home so I could go end the day mowing my heart out at the church. The last game we watched was against Scappoose which our girls won 12-3. When asked by the coach if she wanted to play in the tournament Lydia said, “sure, if I can play 3rd base.” That wish was granted and she did an excellent job. She hit well, too, getting one triple, that could have turned into a home run, and a triple that did turn into a home run. She was the leadoff batter in all the games. It was a lot of fun, invoking a lot of fond memories of these tournaments, and the girls had a great time.

Once home, I gathered up all my empty gas cans, the pitchfork, two batteries, and the battery charger and headed for the church. Along the way I stopped to gas up the truck and fill the empty cans, to the tune of $99, then headed for the church.

The first thing I did was drive the truck out into the overgrown field where I scraped together about 12 piles of grass. The plan was to pitchfork the piles into the back of the truck then empty it at the mulch pit. Knowing the tank was full of gas, I decided to just let the truck run until I got the piles picked up, and was going to move it. But, it quit again, Just like the day before. This time, however, the problem was deemed to be vapor lock. It was was just too darned hot out to let that huge engine just sit and idle. It wants to get out and run. Sadly, the transmission and engine have differing points of view on that subject. Although it gets from point A to point B OK, it makes a lot of unfamiliar noises in the process. So, it needs to see a doctor. Soon.

So, there sat my truck in the middle of the field. The hood was open and the back was full of grass, ready to be transported, but it wasn’t going anywhere. Not only because of the vapor lock, but because when the engine gets really really hot, the starter doesn’t work well. Probably because the battery doesn’t have enough kick, which is why I brought extra batteries and such. Even with all the extra parts, the only workable solution was to just let everything cool off for a few hours. So, I got the mower out of the shed and went to work, mowing around the truck.

In all, I spent about 7 hours doing that and the only part remaining was where the truck was parked. Then, to allow for more cooling time, I took my time cleaning the mower off and put it away.

Then it was time to take a shot at getting the truck started. Long story short, I got it running, then took it to the mulch pit and turned it off figuring if I could it started once, I could do it twice. I emptied the grass, got the truck restarted, then went home. It was all very anticlimactic, in a way. The only exciting part after the second startup was the interesting noises made by the transmission on the way home.

I was very tired when I got home and was sent directly to the showers, after removing an enormous bag of dirt from the Buick. I think it was the biggest bag of dirt Diane’s every purchased. I’m always amazed about the need to buy bags of dirt when we have an entire back yard full of it. Lots and lots of dirt everywhere.

Then I finished the June newsletter for church and went to bed. And slept.

This morning we made another trip to Rainier to see how the tournament played out. The first game was at 1045 so we were out of the house around 1000. Our girls won that one no problem, then Lydia was asked to fill in on another team so she played another game right away. This time she had 1st base. Immediately after the second game, Lydia switched shirts to play with her first team for the final game to win it all. It was against Scappoose again. If they won it was over. If they lost they would have to play again since it was double elimination.

It was a tight game from the start, very defensive in nature. Not only between the teams, but also between the Scappoose parents and Pete the umpire. It was a pretty ugly thing to watch as the parents wore Pete down, threatening to pull their girls out of the game if he didn’t recuse himself as the base umpire. I learned later that these parents had asked specifically that Pete not umpire today’s game because of perceived bad calls, and a confrontation from the previous day.

In the top of the 7th inning, with Scappoose leading 1-0, St. Helens had two runners in scoring position with one out. Lydia hit a pop up for the 2nd out so they still had a chance to at least tie, possibly go ahead. Then someone in the Scappoose crowd sent Pete over the top. He had heard enough from Scappoose parents, ripped his mask off, gave it a heave, and walked off the field.

Everyone on our side was standing around very confused because we didn’t know what had been going on that caused Pete’s departure. Then the Scappoose coach called all his girls in and said, “we’re done.” It was very confusing because he conceded a game he was leading. After a time it was shared that Scappoose conceded 1st place to St. Helens, but there was no real explanation. Just a lot of questions.

At the end of all games the girls line up and pass by each other slapping hands and offering congratulations, win or lose. That happened this time, too, but it was pretty evident that the girls’ best interest wasn’t considered by those parents who were making all the fuss. Both teams essentially lost today because some parents couldn’t behave themselves.

That’s pretty sad, don’t you think? More sad is that it happens all the time. You’d think they’d learn, wouldn’t you?

For what it’s worth, here’s most of the team with their 1st place trophy …

IMG_0082Right after I took this photo, there was a fitting, poignant end to the day that left us knowing the kids were OK in spite of how some parents acted. One of the Scappoose girls brought a plate of cookies and passed them out to the St. Helens team.

There’s hope after all.

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