Baseball,  Frolic and Detour: Sports

The Baseball Diaries: Snack Patrol

You wouldn’t think that a woman would betray one of her best friends over T-ball. You would be wrong. The Voice of Reason and I have been friends since the seventh grade. We have children the same age. We vacation together. Our personalities are quite different, but we get along really well. I count on her to be a source of wisdom and good sense.

This year her daughter is on Drew’s T-ball team. Hooray! We can sit in the stands and cheer together. Or that’s what I used to think, before she became so unreasonable.

It is customary for the moms (of course – the moms!) to provide the team with celebratory (or sorrowful) snacks and drinks after every game. I know this sounds nice. I don’t want to come off like a Scrooge. But since when is each game an event worth commemorating with a party? Why isn’t the game itself enough? Next thing you know, the mothers will be sewing themselves cheerleading outfits and dancing on the sidelines with pom-poms. In support of six year olds.

Bringing post-game snacks and drinks sounds simple, but in reality the practice is a lot of trouble. When it is your week, you must not only bring your player (with hat, glove and water) and his siblings (with items to keep them occupied during the game), but also a camera, your personal items (bug spray, sunscreen, lip gloss), an ice chest filled with drinks for the team, and grocery bags containing team snacks. If it’s rained, you need towels to sit on. It’s a lot to tote for a 45 minute matchup.

The post-game snack problem has irked me for years, so this year I proposed that we break with tradition and let every woman fend for herself. Isn’t that what we do the rest of the time anyway? Yes. All women travel with food and drinks for their children. On the rare occasion that I have been caught without a snack, I have encouaged the boys to forage in the cracks between the seats of the van and they have been able to find enough stray goldfish, cheerios and pretzels to keep them quiet until we get home.

Bill is helping out with Drew’s team, so he was the perfect conduit for getting the message out. Sometimes Bill doesn’t like to take advice from me, even when my suggestions make perfect sense. So before I discussed the matter with him, I emailed my idea to the Voice of Reason and asked her what she thought about letting each parent bring
snacks and drinks for her own kids to consume after the game.

The Voice responded promptly. She agreed that implementing personal snacks, rather than group snacks, was a grand idea. She was particularly enthusiastic because she has a new baby, and under the old system would have had to bring her player, sibling, baby, baby seat, snacks, ice chest and glove on her assigned week. She said that she had actually been eyeballing her little red wagon to see how much of that stuff would fit in there for the trek across the field, and she doubted that its capacity was adequate.

She also pointed out that with the old system, you never know how many brothers and sisters are going to be at the game and expect snacks and drinks. This is why she is the Voice of Reason, for her point is a good one. No matter how many drinks and snacks you bring, the number of brothers and siblings and friends always exceeds the amount of food, inevitably resulting in tears.

Plus, food allergies are a big deal these days. What if a novice T-ball mother brought Nutter Butters and half the players and their siblings had an anaphalactic reaction? The Voice concluded that handling snacks by each family is definitely the way to go. Smugly, I forwarded her email to Bill. He always listens to the Voice of Reason.

As I had anticipated, he then emailed the team, informing them that we’d have a “Personal Snacks Policy” for after the games, and that therefore no snack and drink schedule would be forthcoming.

The next morning Bill got an email from an overachieving mom. She evidently “didn’t receive” Bill’s email. I think she chose to ignore it.

To Bill:
From: Leslie

Last year the parents divided up the games and agreed to bring snacks and drinks for the kids to have after each game. I talked to Eugenia after practice to see if she would volunteer to put this schedule together and I think I have finally talked her into it. It would be easy if she could mail you a snack schedule and you could send it out on your email list. Leslie

You read it right! It was Leslie – from PTAtrocity!

comment: Leslie clearly does not have enough to do, so why does she have to convince her friend Eugenia to take on this task?]

To: Leslie
From: Bill
CC: Anne

Sounds great. Thanks for organizing this effort. I will email the schedule to the parents when I receive it from Eugenia.

To: Bill
From: Anne
CC: The Voice

NO NO NO NO!! We do NOT want to do this! Every mom can bring snacks for her own kid. I TOLD you this. These moms do not have enough fulfillment in their lives and need to find a hobby.
Why don’t you email her back and tell her to go to Hobby Lobby and find a hook rug in the team colors she and her friend can amuse themselves with?

To: Anne
From: Bill
CC: The Voice

Honey, I don’t want to squelch an enthusiastic team mom. I told her that you and the Voice do not wish to be included because you have too many other things going on.

To: Bill
From: Anne
CC: The Voice

I will email her myself and take care of this. I promise I will be nice.

To: Leslie
From: Anne
CC: Bill
BCC: The Voice

Dear Leslie: It was so kind of you to volunteer to make up a snack and drink schedule for the team. This season, some of the moms who have been doing the baseball thing for quite a few years thought we’d try something different to ease the load on everybody. If every parent plans to bring food for his or her child(ren) after the game, there will be enough for everyone. This will make it a lot easier on those who have small children or kids on several different teams. But if you’d like to organize something, feel free to plan the end of the year ice cream party. We need a volunteer! Again, thanks for the lovely gesture.

Many Thanks,

I thought that would take care of it. But amazingly, Leslie did not back down. I do not know what is wrong with that woman. Here is what I got in return:

To: Anne
From: Leslie

most teams, our team did this last year and I didn’t realize that it caused any problems. For most of the kids, it seemed that getting snacks at the end of the game was just about as fun as the game itself! And personally, it was a whole lot easier to make sure I had
snacks for one game than making sure I had something in the car every week. I just emailed the schedule to Bill.

The nerve!

I forwarded her email to Bill and the Voice with this note:

That is the most nonsensical email I’ve received in a long time. Her kid must be a camel if she can make it a block in the car without giving him a drink. And if he thinks refreshments are the best part, I hope she’s not counting on him having a career in major league baseball. Seems to me she’d be better off going ahead and signing him up for Weight Watchers if he’s valuing food that much at this young age. If she puts me on that schedule I’m going to smack her.

Bill wrote back:

To: Anne
From: Bill
CC: The Voice

You did write her a nice letter, honey. And you are right. Your idea made much more sense. We’ll try again next year.

I love that man!

Conspicuously, there was no answer from the Voice.

Bill got home that night and changed out of his work clothes while I finished making Beef and Onion Pitas with Parsley Sauce. When he came back in the kitchen, he laid a sheet of paper on the counter.

“Leslie emailed the snack schedule,” he said. “I went ahead and sent it out to everyone. Don’t worry, you’re not on it.”

“Well, it’s not me I’m worried about as much as the Voice of Reason. She’s the one with an infant and two other kids,” I replied. “But Leslie knows not to put her on the list.”

“That’s what I thought,” Bill said, picking up the paper and reading it. “But she’s on here. You’re not.”

I was confused, but only for a moment. I dropped the pita I was holding and dialed the Voice’s number.

She answered.

“You are a T-ball traitor,” I said. “What did you do, call Leslie and tell her you’d be on the snack schedule even though it violated your principles?” I demanded.

“No,” she said defiantly. “I emailed her. I can’t let everyone else be on the list and not pitch in.”

“Well, I can,” I said.

“I KNOW you can, Anne,” the Voice said. “I don’t have any principles when it comes to T-ball snacks.”

“Well, I hope you’re happy when you’re schlepping all your stuff to the field in your ancient red wagon, because it would be against my principles to help you,” I told her, as my onions started to smoke in the pan.

“I figured that,” she said. “I went to Target and bought one of those bigger plastic wagons.”

I fumed. The Voice’s betrayal bothered me for days. I couldn’t figure out why she’d go to the trouble of signing up for a job I’d already gotten her out of. Maybe she was afraid her daughter would not be asked to be a debutante if she didn’t scrupulously follow all the rules of polite society. That made me grateful I only had boys.

Several days later, I had the chance to extract my revenge. The Voice’s birthday was coming up, so I emailed her husband, Mr. Consumer Reports and told him to talk to me before he purchased anything.

He called later that day.

“So what’s your idea?” he asked.

“Well, I just bought a Hoover Wind Tunnel that I love. It’s not the bagless kind,” I added, because I had heard that bagless vacuums had gotten a bad rap in a recent Consumer Reports.

“Really?” he asked with interest. Mr. Consumer Reports loves gadgets and appliances. He loves them a lot more than the Voice does. Ten years ago he got her a new mixer for Christmas and she has never forgotten it. Not in a good way.

“Yes. It has sucked up everything on my carpets and floors and I have been very impressed. It would be a fantastic birthday gift,” I said.

“Great. I was going to get her a bracelet she had seen, but this would really be a lot more useful. Do you have the model number?” he asked.

I paused a minute.

“Where’d she see a bracelet?”

“We were out shopping last weekend, and I’ve never gotten her a baby present since the baby was born, so we were looking at jewelry. She showed me a few things she liked. But she doesn’t wear jewelry everyday. She definitely needs to vacuum every day. Sometimes twice a day,” Mr. Reports said.

This was where I drew the line. It is one thing to have principles, but it is another thing entirely to let your principles stand in the way of your friend’s receipt of a piece of jewelry that you know she likes.

It would have been momentarily fun to have Mr. Consumer Reports give the Voice an appliance for her birthday. But I just couldn’t bring myself to stoop that low, even though she had betrayed me. I retreated.

“Sorry,” I said. “I think you need to get her the bracelet.”

“What?” he asked.

“I’ve only had the vacuum a week. I’ll test it a few more months and see if I really like it. We can talk again when Mother’s Day rolls around. Buy the bracelet. TODAY.”

(“Before I change my mind,” I thought, as I hung up the phone.)