I love coaching girls. The grit. The determination. The careful attention paid to personal hygiene. It has been an experience that I was completely unprepared for. I should have had at least an inkling of what I was getting into.
I have a wife. A son. A daughter. Two dogs, a boy and a girl. A turtle that I’m pretty sure is a boy and a fish that is almost certainly a girl. On paper the ratio of females to males in my household is 1:1. When you take into account the pure indomitable will of the ladies though that ratio gets a bit skewed.
It’s more like 492:1. The fish put ‘em over the top.
All of that to say this- I am experienced at being outnumbered, so I figured coaching girls softball would not be a problem. My wife coaches first base and our friend, a kindergarten teacher, coaches third (She’s a girl too. Arnold wasn’t available.) Eleven girls. Two ladies. And conversations you will never hear in the pregame huddle of a boy’s team.
The First Practice
Right Field: “Are we going to have any signals?”
Me: “Signals? Like to steal or bunt or stuff?”
Right Field: “Yes sir. We should have some signals.”
Me: “Signals will come later. Let’s worry about
fielding, and hitting, not overrunning 3rd base. OK?”
Right Field: “I still think we should have signals.”
Me: “The only signal this team will need this season is
a ‘I need to go to the bathroom signal’.
Two Weeks Later….30 seconds before the first game
Me: “Play hard. Have fun. Don’t sling the bat.
Pitcher: “What’s the bathroom code?”
Me: “The WHAT?”
Pitcher: “The bathroom code.”
Me: “You mean the signal?”
Pitcher: “Yes. The bathroom signal.”
Me: “I have no idea what you are talking about.”
Catcher: “You said there is a bathroom signal but you didn’t
give it to us. What if we have to go to the bathroom!”
Me: “Then cross your legs like this.” ( I cross my
legs at the ankles.)
The Kindergarten Teacher:
“Or do your fingers in a ‘T’ like this.” (Taps one
finger on top of the other to make a ‘T.’) “Do it
twice for tee-tee.” (Laughs like a maniac)
Catcher: “Use your fingers not your hands ‘cause then they’ll think you
want a time out."
My Wife, the ‘Responsible One’:
“Or just hold up two fingers if you need to do the other.”
(Exchanges high fives with the Kindergarten Teacher)
Me: “I need a better agent.”
Boys have no concern about signals or bathrooms. I’ve learned through experience that A) boys just tend to go to the bathroom wherever they happen to be when the need arises, and B) even if a team of boys did have a bathroom signal they would all miss it anyway. Signaling a nine year old boy standing on first base while you’re standing on third base has as much of a chance of working as you being spotted by an orbiting satellite while stranded on a deserted island. If you were buried in sand up to your neck. And wearing a khaki hat.
Which is why I love coaching nine year old girls softball. I get to have signals!