May 7, 2014

Life lessons learned

Kids learn a lot of good things playing sports. My son, Matt, played baseball. This is a wonderful sport for teaching patience, concentration, team work, and how to win graciously or lose with dignity. But sometimes, some more interesting lessons can be learned!

In 1999, Matt's team had won the local championship and was headed to the regional play-offs hoping to get to the Babe Ruth World Series in Abbeville, Louisiana. The usual etiquette had been for the host team's families to house the players for the tournament. And we had been assured it was all taken care of.

Imagine our surprise when we got to Hamilton New Jersey to find that no such accommodation had been made. Good sportsmanship requires me to believe that this was a genuine mistake on Hamilton's (our chief rival) part. Others may think differently.

At any rate, there we were with fifteen boys with no place to lay their heads. The scramble began to find a motel that had room for the team, the coaching staff, and the parents. Luckily, there was such a place to be had just across Route 1 in Pennsylvania. The only catch being that this motel was attached to a 'gentleman's club'. A glance at the clientele might have you looking up 'gentleman' in the dictionary, but the rooms were clean and we were close to the ball field.  

An interesting thing about Route 1 in Pennsylvania is that you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a sex shop or a gentleman's club. There are just tons of them. Every block seems to have at least one or the other.

Well, our boys learned quite a few things that week other than the value of hard work and good sportsmanship. They learned that working girls sometimes rent hotel rooms by the hour, that adults who have had too much to drink sometimes go skinny dipping in hotel pools and don't seem to mind a couple of idiot kids jumping in with them, and that if you really annoy your coach by climbing onto the roof in the middle of the night, he will bang on your door and get you up at six a.m. for an impromptu practice.

Despite the odd week, our team won the tournament and they got to Louisiana for the Babe Ruth World Series where they acquitted themselves well coming in third. And I think the added attractions just made it all more memorable.


  1. I imagine the boys had quite a bit to talk about when they got home from that week!