I need to find me one of those tee-shirts, or maybe a sweat shirt, or maybe both, that has emblazoned in big bold letters front and back, the following message: I DARE YOU TO ASK ME ABOUT MY GRANDKIDS.
I figure that if you ask first I won’t feel guilty about bringing up the subject of one or the other of them in the middle of any conversation about any other subject.
For example, you might ask me what I think about Obamacare and I’d probably respond by saying, “Let me tell you about the trick Tyler pulled in his tee-ball game last Thursday.”
Or you might ask what I think we ought to do to the tyrants in Syria and I’ll say, “Well, I asked my twoyear old granddaughter if she could count to 10 and she said yep, uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez.” I swear to you that happened a couple of weeks ago when my daughter, Geneva Marie (Genny) and her husband Scott Tesh and their three kids, Mazzen, Ramzy and Isabel (Izzy), were here for a visit from Houston.
The woman who runs Izzy’s day-care speaks Spanish, so the kid is going to be bilingual before she’s in kindergarten. In the meantime, back to Tyler.
Daughter Jennifer and her husband, Kevin Ochs, live in Richmond and they have two boys. If you read this column regularly, you already know all about preschooler
Tyler Kane, better known in this space as TKO, and our exploits on behalf of the American Diabetes Association. Big brother, second grader Braden, gets short shrift in the press but even he would not want the attention if it meant being afflicted with juvenile diabetes and the blood tests and insulin injections his little brother has to deal with 24/7.
Both of the Ochs boys are on fall baseball teams. Dad Kevin is a coach on both teams. Mom leads the cheerleading squad consisting of Grandmas Peggy and Loretta and Grandpa Ike. So I don’t suppose I need to tell you that all of us will be at the Lake Reba athletic fields in Richmond every Tuesday and Thursday night until the end of September. I’d rather be there than in the dugout at a Reds game because it’s far more entertaining to me.
In Braden’s league the players have to hit pitched balls — pitched by Coach Dad — whose earnest desire is that every kid on the team gets a hittable pitch every time the ball crosses the plate. But there are still a lot of strikeouts.
On the other hand, there are a lot of fielding errors too, so making contact with the ball usually puts the batter on base. This is not just Grandpa bragging here. Braden knocks the fire out of that ole ball and he can haul his little behind around the base path.
Tyler’s league, of course, hits the ball off a stationary “tee,” usually into the infield where up to a dozen fielders try to pounce on it at the same time. But no matter where the ball is hit, the batter only gets to take one base unless he or she is the last batter at the bottom of the inning, in which case it’s an automatic home run unless, by some rare occurrence, the ball is actually fielded and he gets tagged out.
That’s the situation TKO found himself in last Thursday evening. Bases loaded. Tyler is the last batter. Grandpa yells, “Kill that ole ball TKO! You the man!” The grandmas plead, “You can do it Tyler,” and clap their hands.
My champ stands away from the tee, takes a few practice cuts, steps back up to the tee and scowls until the ball has been properly stared down. And then he connects with the ball on his first mighty swing. The ball has not been hit this hard all evening and it goes though the defense like a bullet through a hornets’ nest.
“Run Tyler! RUN! RUN! RUN!” But TKO needs no encouragement. He’s off like a shot. He passes the first of his fellow base runners at second and picks up speed. He passes the next one just after rounding third. If he’d had another three steps he would have beat the whole pack home.
Okay, I admit that this was not in strict adherence to the rules of the game but hey, it’s tee ball for crying out loud and they don’t keep score, so what are they going to do? I give the kid two thumbs up. Tyler grins and nods his head and mouths, “I know.” And I’m thinking that life doesn’t get much better than this.