After getting a haircut from Fahd the other day, I waited for Mary to say something, and then finally I, uncharacteristically, called attention to myself. “You haven’t said a thing about my hair. . . ,” I said.
“What hair?” she asked.
It was more of the same at the Little League 11-12-year-old “World Series” that night. “My loyalties are divided,” I said to a group of mothers in the stands on Race Lane’s side of the field. “He’s my physical therapist,” I said, pointing to East End Physical Therapy’s dugout and to the team’s sponsor, Rob Balnis. “And I get most of my wine from him,” I said, pointing to John Grisch, the sponsor and manager of Race Lane Wines & Liquors.
“Drink enough wine and you won’t need a physical therapist,” they said.
It’s fun to be the butt of jokes, and speaking of butts, mine has been causing me some pain lately, which, as I said in a recent column, a number of my doubles partners would deem apropos, poetic justice.
But enough about me. The Little League game contested by East End Physical Therapy and Race Line Wines & Liquors was extraordinarily good. Terrific pitching, terrific fielding. I haven’t been used to seeing such mastery at this age — errors, miscues, and runners dashing home from third on wild pitches has been the norm during most of my reportorial career. I think there were only a couple of solidly hit balls that evening, and the game’s sole run, which earned E.E.P.T. the victory, wasn’t scored until the bottom of the eighth inning. These kids weren’t timid souls knowing neither victory nor defeat — all had given it their all.
And that, of course, is what you want: a good game.
And when you see one at the Little League level it’s all the more affecting, teasing you into thinking of what’s yet to come. I tell you there’s no better elixir for a wizened local sportswriter, better even than a swig of New Zealand sauvignon blanc.