Thursday, July 31, 2008

Street Ball

Our man Obama made a big splash on his Middle East/Europe tour, drawing a quarter million Germans together to hear his plans (still pretty short of specifics) for the future. The news media was impressed, but if anything, American voters seemed to collectively yawn and actually added a point or two ( if we trust the polls) to McCain, whose week's high point was eating German FOOD. It looks as though Americans are on their way to being as cynical about elections as Italians.

Plenty happening in the midsummer sports these days. Another high moment for Spain with a native son winning the Tour de France. The Olymic Games kick off in Beijing next week and the pennant races are entering the "intense" phase that happens this time every year without fail.
But truthfully, you can read all that in your hometown paper. You read THIS to get things that are ABSOLUTELY obscure. One of them is taking place as I write. Out of nowhere we had a great infusion of family visitors, four from the Midwest and four more from up the road from here near Seattle. The household goes from two to ten in a heartbeat, with five children, none older than eight, and EVERYTHING changes. Dirty dishes quadruple, laundry triples and noise is up by a factor of five. I can imagine the neighbors hoping that none of this becomes known in the already downtrending local real estate market.
There are plenty of ways to have fun, but adults often "overdo" things a bit. Someone feels they must insert a rule, which then must be augmented and qualified. Next thing you know, it's the Little League, with everyone in uniform, paid umpires and $2 fund-raiser hot dogs. Fun? Yeah, but hardly what the kids would have done on their own.
But not us. Not tonight, anyway. Uncle Chris took the sidewalk chalk that had already been used to fill the driveway with childish graffitti and organized a game of foursquare right smack in the middle of our dead-end street. That gave way to a hilarious round of kickball, consisting mostly of coaching everyone around the bases. It seemed a little like herding cats, and we couldn't get through ANYTHING, it seems, without someone crying. Still, everyone seemed to learn something and, even better, blew off steam before going to bed without too much rebellion.
Tonight we were smart enough to avoid explaining rules to three year-olds. Just get them running, throwing, hitting (with tennis racquets old enough to vote, brought down from their wall-mounted shrine), do some cheering and have fun! What smart parents we've become - getting the message somewhere along the line that when it comes to little kids, some unorganized street ball is just fine.


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