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Kathy Tofflemire, Published April 21 2014

Parenting Perspectives: I didn’t want to wear a winter coat to baseball game

Parents and grandparents sit on the bleachers wearing jackets or hooded sweatshirts and gloves; some have blankets tucked around their legs.

It must be football season in the Red River Valley. No. Wrong time of year.

It’s spring, according to the calendar – time to put away winter coats and snow shovels and begin thinking about flower gardens … and baseball.

OK, maybe keep the winter coats and think about baseball.

High school baseball tends to be a short season even in the best of spring seasons, but the past year or two have been hard on the local “boys of summer.”

My daughter had to remind me as we prepared to watch my older grandson move on from high school football and basketball to baseball:

“Mom, this isn’t like when he played summer ball with the Park District.”

Too bad. I loved watching him play while I either worked on my tan or sat in the shade.

She said school ball would be like football weather in reverse. Instead of starting out warm and getting progressively colder, the sport would start in cool weather and end in warm.

Makes sense. But has Old Man Winter become a baseball fan? Why are we wearing multiple layers and still shivering in the stands?

And there are boys out on the field in short sleeves. That’s hard to watch when you are used to chastising teens as they walk out the door unprepared for the weather: “Where is your hat?” “Don’t you have gloves?”

I remember urging my daughter to wear a hat in winter when she was a teenager. But it was the ’80s – the era of big hair, held upright by multiple applications of hairspray. (She took credit for singlehandedly destroying the ozone as she went through multiple aerosol cans.) You couldn’t put on a hat after all that work.

It doesn’t seem right, though, that games should be canceled not because of fields saturated by April showers but because it is too cold to play – temperatures in the 30s in the middle of April. What’s wrong with this picture?

The day I turned in this column to the editor, there was snow on the ground. But the forecast for this week is for temperatures in the 60s. That’s more like it.

But whatever the weather, parents and grandparents will be there in support of the boys.

At a recent game, I had to respond to the grandmother seated behind me, who pointed out to my daughter that her grandson was No. 7, “the cute one.”

“Hey,” I said with a laugh, “My grandson is pretty cute, too.”

And I loved it when the woman spoke to her grandson as he pitched, even though he couldn’t hear her. “It’s OK. Just breathe, just breathe. A little to the right. No, your other right.”

Knowing how nervous my own grandson is when he’s the relief pitcher, I could relate.

No matter how cold, no matter how uncomfortable we are, we’re there – offering praise and encouragement. Pass the peanuts and Cracker Jack. And some hot cocoa.

Kathy Tofflemire is a copy editor at The Forum. Readers can reach her

at (701) 241-5514 or ktofflemire@forumcom.com