Monday, September 30, 2013

Little League World Series Diary VERY LAST POST EVER probably

So.... after this

we went back to the hotel for the night. I was driving Angus home, plus Coach Brian and his son Clay. They were one of the families that had a kid that won both Major and Junior Nationals, so Brian's wife Sarah had been in Alberta with their older son for Nationals, then home for two days and then off to Williamsport for the LLWS. When Brian asked if she was coming down to Toronto to pick up him and Clay, she said "No." Well, there might have been a few other colourful verbs and adjectives surrounding that, but the general thrust of the answer was negative, on many levels. 

We had to have the boys downtown in Ottawa the next day for interviews with CTV and CBC. We figured we'd be home for a couple hours, then carpool downtown in a few cars. I asked Brian what time he wanted to leave. He said not first thing, otherwise we'd just end up sitting in traffic.

There was an accident. We ended up sitting in traffic. 

Well, what can you do? We sat. We talked. We took deep breaths. We took two hours to go twelve kilometres. 

Brian texted people to figure out who was ahead of us and who was behind us. Eventually he texted people and told them not to pick us up because we'd have to drive straight downtown. Then he texted other people and told them that we would drive straight downtown but we still might not make it. 

Meanwhile, Angus and Clay were involved in their new athletic endeavour.

I call it "Sleeping For Canada".

We made Angus and clay strip down in a rest stop parking lot and put on their jerseys and nicer shorts. We coasted into downtown on fumes. We were fourteen minutes late, but they waited for us. Ah, the perks of fame.

A blonde, perfectly coiffed, extremely photogenic woman tried to get them all to say "Hi! We're the East Nepean Eagles and we're on CTV!"

They were really, really bad at it. 

Then she asked a few of them some questions. Clearly, Angus was riveted. 

Then we had to get over to CBC.

Somehow, the Canada jerseys walking through the market was one of the most surreal moments of the entire experiences.

We got to CBC. They put us in a boardroom to wait for the live news report, when the team was going to be on surrounding the news anchor. There were televisions, so we turned one on to watch their CTV appearance. 

The news report started. There was a story about a stabbing. There was a story about a shooting. There was a story about a mugging. We thought maybe we'd be next.

There was a story about an explosion.

Finally, they were on. Right after, there was a story about a girl making friends with a gorilla. At least they didn't have to follow that one. 

Then it was over. We tried to get back to the parking lot. But it was after five, so doors were locked all over the place. We walked around a lot of buildings and then raced some cars across a busy street, and then a really nice janitor let us in and helped us find the right elevators. We got in one, and it wouldn't go to the parking garage. Then it wouldn't open. And all our cell phones were dead. And we were out of snacks and water. 

Then it went back up to the main floor and opened. We cheered and when we got out there were some official-type people waiting and they said whoa, party elevator, and we explained that we were just happy that we weren't found dead in an elevator two days from now.

We got home. We slept like the dead. The next night there was a party for the team at the Barrhaven Royal Oak. The mayor and a bunch of other political types made nice speeches. We brought back the banners that had been folded up on the piano bench for half the summer. The boys were given commendations by the city. I drank a lot of beer. 

Mike Carroccetto took this photo of Justin, David, Angus and Ken in the parking lot. I love this picture - Angus especially usually looks so serious in pictures, and he said David kept making them all laugh. They look so happy, don't they?
There have been a couple more events. The team was on the ice dropping the puck at an Ottawa 67s game last week. Last night we had a box at the last pre-season Ottawa Senators hockey game. Before we left, Angus said "do we have to do anything?" and I said "I think you're doing something with the coaches at intermission" and he groaned. I would have given him some speech about being grateful and dutiful, but I didn't have much of a leg to stand on - it was all very cool, this and this and this and this (possible my favourite - scroll down to ANGUS KNOWS BASEBALL) and this especially (above the fold - he was SO cranky when the photographer got here, and I explained that he'd been out til late playing baseball the night before and up at six for volleyball that morning AND had his braces tightened, and the photographer said 'isn't that a little late for braces? What is he, eighteen?' and I said HE WAS TWELVE FOUR MONTHS AGO and the photographer's jaw dropped), but one day I sat down, opened an email that said "Angus in Citizen today!" and said "Oh for fuck's sake, AGAIN?" 

All good things must come to an end. 

This is what Angus wrote on Facebook:

Well we've been waiting for this summer for about 6 years now. We've been hyping it up for so long. And now that it's finally over I'm kinda sad. We had all this talent and made it all the way to the show. We represented east nepean better then anyone has ever. And represented Canada well also. Here's to our summer and how good it's been. Wish you all the best luck in future baseball wishes. 


Thanks for reading, and watching, and emailing, and facebooking, and travelling with us and making us feel loved and happy. 

Now, back to our regularly scheduled fare of book reviews and whining about being fat and depressed. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Little League World Series Diary: Day Fourteen or something, dunno, it's all a blur at this point

So we got home, and Matt left for Washington. (Before we left, there was talk of the coaches taking the kids to see a baseball game in Baltimore. Matt was telling this to me and Eve and saying that the crazy part was that then they would be really close to where he was on business in Washington. Eve and I were saying "so they're at the biggest baseball tournament in the country and the coaches want to bus them two hours another baseball game. And THAT'S not the CRAZY part?") On Sunday, they were bussed back to Toronto to be hosted at the Blue Jays game. I drove down to Toronto, had a minor panic attack when my GPS couldn't find the hotel, called Matt and asked if he had time to help me, looked for a place to pull over and then suddenly found myself across the street from the hotel. I checked in and walked to the Rogers Centre. The boys were on the field.

They were given jerseys with their names and numbers on them (their East Nepean numbers, not their Team Canada numbers, since Matt had to send in the numbers as soon as they won in Glace Bay). So THAT was insanely cool.

They got to meet some of the players and got hats signed, then watched batting practice. 

It was raining when we got there, but then cleared up, so they opened the dome.

The team was introduced before the game.

The parents had really good seats, and the team was in a box. One of the dads said he thought he could see the light from the beer fridge. 

On the way down to Toronto, I realized I had forgotten to get cash, which I always do before going on a trip in case my bank card doesn't work. Then when I go to the game, it became apparent that Matt had put a bunch of people's rooms on his credit card in Glace Bay, and these people started handing me envelopes of cash. By the end of the evening I felt like a drug dealer. 

I love this shot every time. 

And look what happened! 

After the game, I walked back to the hotel with some other parents and we met the team bus. We helped unload and decided who was going to take which stuff home. I went up to the room with Angus and then went back down to have a beer with some parents and coaches. One of the coaches asked how Angus was and I said "showered, naked with a towel around his waist, watching tv and eating blueberry pancakes from room service - so, blissfully happy".

It was a good night.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Little League World Series Diary: Day 8

We were going home today, so we were sad. We took one last drive to the park.

We passed that weird blue bubble thing one last time.

We took one last look at this view.

ESPN had dropped us like a hot potato after our last loss. Enh, whatever. It was fun and deeply weird while it lasted, ESPN.

Eve lightening the mood with a little photo-bombing, after stealing my sunglasses.

And then I caught sight of this and got all choked up again.

It was our consolation game against Puerto Rico. All the kids who barely got to play were used for pitching and got to hit in the regular rotation, so Angus was hardly in the game, but every time he was on the diamond he was smiling.

Kids who hadn't gotten a hit the whole series were suddenly hitting up a storm.

It was like all the pressure and tension just faded away, and they were all just playing baseball again.

I suddenly understood a lot better why most of the teams stay for the whole series. If they had left right after the loss that took them out, that would be their last memory. Instead, they get to hang around, play some uncomplicated games, bask in the atmosphere, sign a few more autographs, watch their fellow players, and be with their teammates. 

During the game, a dad and his two sons were sitting near us and heard us talking. When one of the sons figured out who we were, he asked us tentatively if we thought he could get a picture with Angus after the game. I said I would make it happen. "You don't think he'll mind?" the kid said. "I'm his mother" I said, "he's not allowed to mind." Matt rolled his eyes at me and I said "oh come on, we might as well use what tiny power we still have for good".

For the consolation games, they didn't get whisked away underground by bus any more - they had to walk up the hill.

I guess Matt bought into the whole parental power thing, because he got the whole team to pose with the kid and his brother. They seemed really happy.

They got mobbed for autographs every few steps.

This is Angus signing a kid's shirt.

This is Justin signing a kid's shirt and being MUCH MORE GRACIOUS about being photographed doing it.

We had been intending to visit the Museum all week but hadn't managed it, so we decided to go in before we left.

It was really cool.

They had artefacts from the last seventy-odd years of Little League play.

They showed the ways player safety had been improved.

Trading pins is a huge thing all the players do. Angus game home with a shoe box full.

They had Babe Ruth's uniform.

They had places you could test your base-running speed

and ability to jump for a pop fly.

This was the square where the players were welcomed. Their flag was raised when they arrived and taken down when they left.

Then one last wave at this dude, who, now that I think about it, is really kind of creepy.

We were sad. It felt like it had all gone by too fast, like we hadn't soaked it up enough, even though we had, like we should stay longer, even though Matt really needed to get back to work, like we were leaving part of our family behind, which we were. It was over but not over enough. It was still going on, but we weren't part of it any more. It was like the ending of all intense experiences - melancholy and bittersweet