Friday, March 14, 2008

Night of the Oyabaka

A little over a week ago, my wife and I were watching Christopher play his first practice game of this year’s teeball season.
“Wow! Christopher’s good!” I said.
My wife looked at me with that weird smile of disbelief that women reserves for spousal comments before pouncing. “Do you know what oyabaka means?” she asked, sounding a little perturbed, but laughing also.

I didn’t answer right away. First, I ran through a list in my head of the potential translations for that Japanese word. I came up with my best literal option.
“Moronic parent?” I asked.
Oyabaka refers to a parent that says things like, 'Oh, my kid is so great. He’s doing so well.' In reality, he’s just okay.”

I turned to watch Christopher. My son, playing at the pitcher’s mound, made another stop of a ground ball and proceeded to throw it over the head of the kid at first base. “See, Honey. he IS doing well,” I replied. “That was a great throw! It was perfectly on line.” However, my wife shook her head, “If this were a Japanese cartoon, there would be a sign over your head, flashing Oyabaka.”

I laughed at what she said. This is teeball. If Christopher had gotten a hit and then run down the third base line, I still would have still said, “He’s moving real fast.” However, my wife had a point. As another inning rolled around, Christopher continued to get every ground ball that came his way, and then started throwing them underhanded to 1st base. The coaches would correct him, saying “overhanded, overhanded,” but Christopher had decided this was the best way to get the other team out. Finally, before the practice game ended. Christopher resumed throwing overhanded, but bouncing them to 1st.

A week later, Christopher had another practice game. As my older son had a game as well, I watched Christopher while my wife watched Andrew. Christopher had a bad night, missing grounder after grounder. Those he did stop were followed by off-line throws. Tosses back to the mound, which is how time is called in teeball, got by him.

After the game was over, I helped Christopher pack his gear and we walked to a different field to watch the rest of Andrew’s game. As I arrived, my wife asked, “how’d he do?”

I thought for a second: all the missed grounders and missed throws that allowed extra bases. What should I say?

“He got a double,” I replied, smiling. “Hit it over the pitcher’s head, past the second basemen and into center field.”

My wife will have to read here to find out about the rest of the night.


Devon Gray said...

I say there is nothing wrong with being a little overzealous in your pride. Just don't turn into one of those parents who charge the field and take out the ref. Now that would be an interesting blog entry!

Walt M said...

Thanks, Devon. I'll do my best (or else my wife won't sit with me at games).