Yes, I had HORRIBLE service at a restaurant and by horrible I mean half our party was DONE eating and our server was actually refilling our drinks and hadn't noticed the rest of us never received our food. Seriously, bad! THEN when it was pointed out several times, several ways, we had to fight to reduce our bill for food we never got. Yeah! We actually left with NO food and went to another restaurant just down the boardwalk and I ordered the same meal. Now that's sad!
The night before, my husband and I were all dressed up to go to a Halloween party. Friends of ours throw an awesome party that we look forward to all year. My son was suppose to be home, because my younger daughter had a friend stay the night. After Rich had umpired two games earlier in the day (more on that later) we went home and laid down for a bit. When we woke up we got ready and were headed out the door only to find out that he was gone and out plans were over before they ever started. Rich called our oldest, mean while I contacted my son. Seems my son "forgot" about or plans. Oh, really?
The topper to the weekend I was "told" was so bad. The mail came and reviewing the cell phone bill showed that the cell phone that we had to suspend because it was stolen, was pretty darn brazen. We called and suspended the account (number) since canceling was not a contract option back on 9/13. Seems the guy thought that was totally unfair and started calling the company 9/15 to see what the deal was. He called 8 times all the way up to 9/30. Some calls were only a minute but two calls were 4 & 2 minutes long. I would love to have heard those "recorded for customer service" calls! "Yes, the phone I stole back in July and have been using because they didn't realize it till this month, yeah, it's not working now." Ah yeah, sorry about that! Part of me wants to text the number on the phone bill and let the person know that by the way, the "guy" you've been talking to is a criminal... talk about upset! But oh well...
So my weekend... Friday is rather a blur. Lizzy had practice, Rich had a game. Needless to say I was at the field. To put it mildly it was a full fledged fireworks game! Parents, often, during fall ball, especially at the younger ages, "think" they understand the game, and in some cases are smart enough to just admit they are clueless. In Friday nights case it was a combination of both. Which can create a recipe for disaster. On one hand you have parents that think rules are a certain way, and on the other you have parents that are clueless so they think they are learning from "informed, educated" parents. Unfortunately, very often it couldn't be further from the truth. I knew the game was in trouble when I sat down and listened to the official score keeper, the score board operator, and the pitch count recorder, all of which were 3 different people. Which, for the record is fine, if ANY of them understand the game, and their roles. But when the first foul ball was hit and the discussion started as to what that was considered (a ball or strike) I knew we were in trouble. Then as the count continued, ball, strike, foul ball- (at this point based on what I just said- the could would be 2-Strikes, 1-ball)- however the score board had 3-balls, 1-strike- cause as the operator "argued" the umpire only said "strike" once! Oh my! Then another foul ball, and another! Now this kids was battling, impressive to watch... I look over at the score board thinking they would have fixed his count- still (2-strikes, 1- ball), No, the balls have cleared out as have the strikes because they are arguing at this point the kid should have "walked"- ah what? And as for the pitch count- yeah, she isn't sure at this point if she is suppose to count these "pretend" pitches. I get up and walk away- this is the first batter.
I come back... The coach is asking for pitch count along with some other questions from the other night. They look at him like he has horns- "we don't have that information". It's the second inning, maybe the third- at this point I am leaving so many other details about screaming parents it would make any non-sports parent nuts.
Then my favorite play of the night. Kid hits ball, ball hits fence (dead ball), catcher catches ball (hey, cool heads up! sorry it hit the fence first but way to move). Parents are going wild! It's an OUT!!! Umpire motions dead ball/calls foul ball (we won't even go into what goes on over at the score table)... the kid heads back over to bat. The parents actually get upset because "the kid is out". At which point I can't take it anymore and turn and say, "DEAD BALL, it hit the fence before he caught it". Thinking (silly me) that would be good enough. Till I hear, "but he caught it".... someone shoot me now!
I truly believe parents should be required and I mean REQUIRED to sit through a rules and regulations of the sport their kid is playing before their kid takes the field. Maybe not learn all the tiny rules in the 100 page book that even some of the umpire/referees aren't even sure about, but LEARN something before being allowed to sit in the stands and just yell. And for the record YOUR 8 year-old is NOT I repeat NOT Derek Jeter! Heck Derek Jeter isn't always Derek Jeter! Stop acting like your kid is the only one on the team that can get things done, or is worth anything. Unless he walks off the field and money falls off him, he's just an 8 year-old out there trying not to embarrass himself as much as he is trying not to embarrass you. Lord knows he doesn't want to hear about how crappy he played the whole way home. This was suppose to be "fun" remember at sign-ups? Yeah! Keep that in mind next time you decide to scream across the field!
So as I sat at the field watch parents in their various stages of cutting their children down (with a few adding encouraging words). My own daughter pops up from practice, she was at the same complex, just at another field. I was a little surprised to see her because it was pretty early. Oh come to find out, she was catching without her gear on (somehow this part comes as no shock), and took a pitch right to the shin. It actually busted open skin. I look at her and ask (in front of these parents who are screaming at their kids), "do we need to leave or did you just need dirt" (we have a saying "rub some dirt in it"). She said "I need dirt and they told me to come tell you cause I think the coach feels bad for hitting me". I told her she should feel bad for not wearing her gear, and she either needed to head back to practice, or pack it up. Yeah, I know, based on my earlier paragraph that seems a tad harsh. But I know the rules (9th year in) and I also know that my daughter should have NEVER been behind the plate without her gear. So if she got hurt, I kind of really don't have TOO much sympathy for anyone involved, and I'm not really happy with her coach for allowing it!
She gets up and says, "you know where to find me", gives me a hug and walks away. I hear a Dad behind me snicker and say, "how is it the girls are so much tougher than the boys?" Hmm, are they- or is the parents? If my son had pulled that crap- it would have been the same answer- and if memory serves it may have happened a time or two... "rub some dirt in it!"
Saturday morning seemed to come pretty early. Rich had a double header. And I almost dreaded the idea that more "smart" parents were going to take aim at him. I headed to the field, not that I can protect him, he doesn't need it, but because I do like being there (not the field but with him). But the nice part came when we got there. See like I said, Rich doesn't need me there, he just seems to like me there. And when I say "need me there" I mean in the sense of to protect him from the mean parent. We arrived and he was once again "rock star" umpire status with parents and kids alike saying hello. See, in all the years he's been umpiring he hasn't thrown anyone out. He hasn't needed to. Not because people haven't acted up, they sure have pushed the limits, and to be honest there have been several games that knowing some of the other umpires the way I do, some would have gotten tossed. But Rich rather people learn. He'd rather that adults and players leave the game the way they came, as a team. And if they can learn something along the way, even better. If he can show them calm, composed, and respective behavior wins, he always gets it in return. So he doesn't have a need to "toss" people. Come the next morning... the very coach (manager) that lost the night before in a MASSIVE game where parents were yelling and hollering, happened to work WITH my husband on the field as his field umpire. RESPECT. For the game, for the person, for the calls.
So despite my weekend (last weekend) being that of what seemed like a blaze of blunders, I want to look at a few seriously positive notes.
1) My son went somewhere with his older sister. Now maybe it was just to get out of the house or maybe it was just to avoid being stuck with his younger sister and her friend. But in this day and age, I am glad any time my kids are willing to spend time together and I don't have to "force" them.
2) I was able to spend some awesome time with my husband. I know this comes as a shock. Rich and I will always find and make time to be together even if we have to steal it. It may be at a ballpark, or just a dinner, but our private time is a great time for us to be together.
3) I'm a pretty darn good mom! I know my kids mess up royally. Show me anyone's kids that are totally perfect. Even Mary had to double back when she realized that her son Jesus wasn't in toe... talk about fuming! And that was before the price of gas was $3.35 a gallon. So while "rubbing dirt in" it won't solve everything in life, I sure am glad my kids know the difference and aren't afraid to jump back into "the game".
4) A "bad weekend" can be described by a few events in time that take place that really suck! But its the overall picture and my reaction that really matter. Rising above and "knocking it out of the park" so to speak is what really matters. Being a good example of "taking in on the chin" and "rolling with it", shows that life has all sorts of twists and turns that are just unpredictable, but you just have to keep going and stay the course so that you can continue being awesome.
So as Monday came last week, alot of people where hoping I had a better week... I laughed. Sure! That sounds like a great idea. I would always want great service at a restaurant, or my kids to remember their commitments, and parents to remember that their kids won't become Derek Jeter for a few more years, and all thieves get what is coming to them in the end, but I am pretty satisfied knowing that this week I am going to witness greatness and be blessed by being apart of it!
Change your point of view, change your outlook- just powerful!