Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Best. Friends. EVER!

Wife got off late yesterday, and Rebecca had her team pictures to be done at 6, so we had to rejigger the normal pickup routine--I had her go by the house and pick up duffel bags full of cleats and balls and shin guards, and I would go get the kids from school, and then we'd meet back at the park where I would give her a Small Girl, and get clothing for the Middle Girl and Boy.

I did this for a reason--basically, there are fewer people to socialize with at the house than at the school. She goes to pick up the kids, and feels compelled to spend fifteen or twenty minutes chatting with everyone about everything. No time for that yesterday.

I got the kids, got to the park, sent Cat to the restroom to pee, and waited. The way I figured it, since we both got off at the same time, and it takes a few minutes less time to get to the house than the school, taking into account the time required to stuff bags with equipment, we should have arrived about the same time. The big hand climbed its way up toward 6 and I was starting to get worried when she finally came putting down the road and pulled in the parking lot--5:53.

I shoved Cat into the back seat and gathered up the bags and water bottles, blew everyone a kiss and hustled Rebecca into the restroom to change into her uniform. Boy thankfully only had to put on his shin guards and cleats, so he sat at one of the concession stand tables and made himself at home.

Bec popped out in her white-shirted-and-red-shorted glory after a minute or two--I wish I could get all of them to be such quick-change artists--and wandered on to the lower field to where the photographer was set up. Boy FINALLY got finished a few minutes later and we walked down to join her and her squealing teammates.

Perfect afternoon for it--the sun was still bright, but it wasn't really hot, and the humidity had not started climbing, and the lower field was nice and shady, and the other teams were running and shouting, and you could hear the p-TINK of aluminum bats from the nearby baseball fields, and there was the whiff of hamburgers grilling, and to top it off, the nearly overpowering sweet smell of honeysuckle in full bloom back up in the woods beside the field. Hard to beat.

Three individual poses were proposed by the photographer--kneeling on one knee, sitting with one knee raised, and prone with the soccer ball held coquettishly betwixt upraised feet. NO one wanted to just kneel--way too boring. Bec decided to sit, as did about half of the girls, and the other half thought the ball-tween-the-feet was better. While not engaged in posing, they ran around and bothered each other, alternately hugging and gossiping, or attempting to kill each other as they practiced takeaways. Sure was an expensive camera, just sitting there WAITING to get knocked over, but miraculously, it made it through just fine.

Then time for the team picture, and some bright chick decided they needed to do a pyramid. One of Rebecca's teammates, CatCat, I think was the instigator of this--she kept trying to get someone in charge to agree to this deal, and then when no one would answer her, she ran up to me and politely shouted, "HEY! REBECCA'S DAD! DO YOU CARE IF WE DO A PYRAMID LIKE CHEERLEADERS?!"

"Catherine, I REALLY don't think it's a good idea." So she went and asked someone else, and after she received several less-than-enthusiastic responses from other parents, the girls wisely decided to ignore the danger and go ahead and clamber on top of each other.

They got a bottom layer and a middle done, and were trying to get the lightweight girls to finish it off when the whole mess of them fell over into a giggly pile of ponytails. Knew that was going to happen. So they were stuck with doing the boring pose--five sitting, five kneeling, four standing--then it was time for practice and to complain about not getting to finish their pyramid.

While they warmed up, Boy and I went back up to the concession stand and got him some Chex Mix to snack on before his practice and me a Diet Coke, which came in handy later. Came back, and as Jonathan carefully ate his snack with his molars (to keep from hurting his braces, don't you know) I sat on the bench and listened in on CatCat's Mom and KayKay's (whose real name is Kaitlin, or Kaytlyn, or Caitlin, or something) Mom and Robin's Mom talk about how they picked baby names. Being a man, I was more or less invisible in this conversation, which was fine, 'cause if I had to choose one superpower, invisibility would be it. But not to listen to conversations.

It got to be 7 and Boy trotted on off to his practice and Amanda's Dad came and set up his folding chair in a bit, and we carried on a much less animated guy conversation.



When you're a guy, that actually means a great deal.

Sat there some more as the girls practiced heading, then at the request of KayKay's Mom, I displayed my now mostly-healed little finger. She studied it very carefully and was very impressed. She's real nice like that.

Watch the girls, feel the moisture in the air begin to make my head sopping wet, and then WHANG! Felt like one of the kids had kicked a ball hard into the bench--looked around and KayKay's Sister was on the ground with a startled look on her face, and as her mom jumped up, it was as if there were a five second broadcast delay in effect before the tyke (who is my Catherine's age) began wailing and screaming. Seems she had been running along and tripped, and sent her kneecap right into the end of the aluminum bench.

No broken skin, but huge rivers of tears, which was made better by much pampering--the ladies all gathered her up and sat down, Amanda's Dad ran and got a Ziplock baggie and I fished out the hunk of crushed ice out of my Coke and dropped it in so she could put in on her rapidly swelling knee. By this time, the team was taking a water break, so all the other girls were soon crowding around offering even more petting and commiseration, and after all of that, she was soon feeling a bit better.

On back to practice, which carried on and on, got through with Rebecca's then went across to the other set of bleachers where Jonathan's team had another thirty minutes to go, watched them and kicked the ball to Rebecca some, and then FINALLY it was time to go home.

Back to the house, and by the time we got some food on some plates and actually got to kiss Miss Reba, the early local news was already on. There was some story about a teevee show that was going off the air, but it seems I missed it.

I figure I didn't miss much.

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