July 5, 2001
by Chris Feeney
Someone really ought to outlaw work. It sure can get in the way of a guy having any fun. For awhile I was contemplating omitting this column for a second straight week, as I simply have not had time to pursue any outdoor activities. But as I sat at my desk reviewing everything I had done this past week, one thing stuck out in my mind.
It seems that after you get lassoed into that first outing of the year as an umpire at the ball park, they write your name down in the concession stand in big letters along with your phone number in clear sight of any desperate coach. Typically my umpiring has been limited to the nights on which I have shown up to take team pictures. (Don't worry folks I'm making progress on the team pictures despite all the rainouts and rescheduling. Side note - if I haven't taken your team picture, please call the office and let me know when you will be playing in town next.) However, recently I have been getting more work at the ball diamond. I'm going to have to work on my excuses.
Anyway, this past week I did a pair of softball games between the two Scotland County junior high school girls teams. One team features the older girls, mostly eighth and ninth graders, while the other squad is made up of mostly sixth and seventh graders.
To no one's surprise, the older girls won both games. That really didn't matter to me or to most of the fans there. What stuck in my mind was the way the girls handled themselves. Like I said, I've done a few games this year and this group was one of the best behaved by far. I don't know if it is just the trend in sports today or what, but a lot of the games I've seen this year have way too much chattering and trash talking involved by the kids. I don't know where we've gone wrong (I blame professional sports for allowing all that junk) but it simply is not cool, kids.
As you can see, I don't care for all that trash talking, so it was very refreshing to see this group of young ladies play the game like it is supposed to be played. The older girls jumped out to an early lead. It looked as if they were going to run away with it, but to their credit they never rubbed it in to the younger girls or ever did anything to cause any bad feelings. I think this is important because these young ladies will all be playing together down the road in high school.
At the same time, the young ladies never got down on themselves. It can be pretty discouraging, especially when you are playing against older kids, who you know are good. Like I said, they did not give up, and ultimately rallied to make it a good ball game, with the final score something like 9-6.
I got to see three very talented young pitchers who should continue on the top level of pitching at SCR-I for several years. The kids also swung the bats really well. I have to pay a special note of thanks to the catchers as they blocked all the pitches and never allowed me to get hit. Of course that didn't stop me from flinching once or twice on a foul ball or a high pitch.
Maybe the finest point of the whole outing was after the game when I watched the girls. They left the game on the field and got in line at the concession stand or walked to their cars with friends who moments earlier had been opponents.