Saturday, July 16, 2011

Choosing Grandchildren Over Toilets

Retirement has all kinds of rewards that I didn’t expect.  Not the least of them is the chance to attend Grandchildren’s events on Saturday instead of cleaning the house!  I’m always looking for a reason not to clean, and spending time with my grandchildren, even if it's just sitting in a chair watching them from a distance, is the best one I can think of.  I remember my Grandma T saying "The dirt will be here long after I'm gone."  Great motto to live by.
Today was one of those days.  Lauren, one of my 12 (soon to be 13) year old granddaughters was playing in a softball tournament.  Lauren is a natural athlete whose coach alternates her between catcher and second base.  She plays both positions equally well, so I know that I’m always going to be entertained when I attend one of her games.  She didn’t let me down today.  While playing second base with a runner on 2nd late in the game, she made a leaping catch to put the batter out and then made a valiant attempt at a double play.  While she’s quick, the girl on second had quickly gotten back to the base, and so we were left applauding, and bemoaning the fact that none of us had our cameras out to capture the “Webgem.”  
In the last inning, Lauren played catcher, rather than second base.  Regretting my lack of preparedness when she made her great catch in the field, and not wanting to miss any potentially spectacular play she might make, I stationed myself behind home plate and caught a couple of “action” shots.  While spectacular plays will wait for another (probably unprepared) time, her performance was steady and reliable and her team ended up winning the game, always fun when a grandparent is there .. fun for both the player AND the grandma.  
At one point during the game, the pitcher on Lauren’s team was having some control problems.  After walking a few players, Lauren's coach sent Lauren out to “talk to her.”  I watched the two of them chatting out on the mound, and, always having wondered what a catcher and pitcher talked about during those events, I asked my daughter what Lauren said to the pitcher when she was sent out.  Tracy told me that Lauren went out there the first time she was asked to do this and said, “I’m supposed to talk to you, but I have no idea what I’m supposed to say, so .... whew, it’s hot!”  Then she returned to her spot behind the plate and the game continued, with the pitcher “settled down.”  As Paul Harvey used to say, "Now you have the rest of the story."
After Lauren’s game ended, I made my way to a local grocery store parking lot to have my car washed by the Anoka High School cheerleaders, one of whom is my 16 year old granddaughter, Megan.  It’s supposed to be 100 degrees today so a perfect day for a bunch of young girls to be able to “play in the water,” while shining up the dirty cars that were roaming the streets following the 3 days of rain we’ve had.  I was happy for them that it wasn’t raining, as that certainly would have cut into the profits.
Having gone to an all-girls’ school that had a few sports teams (girls half-court basketball ... remember that?), but no cheerleaders, I had always assumed that cheerleaders were just pretty faces who had spent their lives taking dance or gymnastics.  As a teenager, I had attended a few high school football games played at neighboring schools, and so remembered cheers being a bunch of girls in short skirts yelling “Push ‘em back, push ‘em back, waaaaay back.”  Or “Rodney, Rodney, he’s our man.  If he can’t do it, NOBODY can!”
Even I could memorize those chants without a lot of practice and so I thought being a cheerleader was probably a walk in the park.  While Megan and her colleagues are all definitely beautiful young women, and Megan did take one year of dance when she was about six, I've learned these young women are more than that.  Megan became a cheerleader last year and I learned that the cheerleaders give up a great deal of their summer vacation to spend a lot of time getting themselves ready for the football and soccer seasons.

Beginning in late June, there is daily practice for many weeks, attendance at a week-long cheerleading camp in July at which team-building, fellowship, and cooperation is modeled and practiced, and active participation in a large number of fund-raising events to pay for their fees and uniforms.  Along the way, they do have to memorize cheers, and learn jumps, lifts, leaps and stunts (ooh... where did those muscles come from?). Once school starts, they must maintain a good GPA or they're benched.  The carwash, today, was one of their numerous fundraisers.  I was happy to participate in helping them make their way, since our schools these days seems to be bearing the brunt of the budget cutting that is going on in our state. Shame on you, Governor Dayton and Minnesota legislators!
Along with the chance to interact with two of my grandaughters, I got a bonus grandchild sighting ... Danny and Cam were in attendance at the ballgame to cheer on sister Lauren.  Danny is recovering from his surgeries on Monday and doing well .. check out the "Minnesota Twins Blue" cast on his left arm.  Cam is sporting a new “do” and was pretty dang proud of it.  Handsome devil, isn’t he?
All in all, a most satisfactory Saturday and much better than spending it with my head in four toilets, wouldn't you agree!

1 comment:

Michele said...

Who is Rodney? ;)