Forget the hot dogs and popcorn: our concession stands stockpile hot chocolate and coffee. And the chatter around the backstop isnâ€™t about batting averages; itâ€™s about which size propane tank a mom needs to keep her portable heater burning all the way through a double header.
Little sister, who has attended more baseball games than her second-grade math knowledge could possibly tally, hangs out in the bathroom with all the other little sisters. â€śItâ€™s stinky, Mommy, but at least itâ€™s warm,â€ť she says. â€śAnd those hand dryers are heaven and joy, Mom. Heaven and joy!â€ť
The Braves are working out now, too, with opening day still six weeks away. And did I mention they are in FLORIDA?
Spring training â€“ baseball –where itâ€™s warm. Nice concept. In case you missed the news over the last few weeks, those of us in the South are somewhat unprepared to deal with cold, and Iâ€™m not just talking about freezing rain and snow on our streets.
The crowds arenâ€™t very animated at these games, largely because they are tucked inside tents and sleeping bags, buried under quilts and coats, and shivering so hard that speaking is difficult. Ever try to whistle with frozen lips? Clap with mittens? One friend told me about a man who brings his duck blind to his sonâ€™s games, watching from the shooting hole. Puts his heater inside and heâ€™s toasty. But his kid might not know heâ€™s there because heâ€™s camouflaged.
Make fun if you want, but our northern neighbors might react just as badly if they were dropped in Alabama in mid-July with a temp of 102 degrees with 99 percent humidity. Melt or haul hay? Letâ€™s just say we have animals to feed. A noon game at Turner Field? Heaven and joy, Mom. Heaven and joy!
Weâ€™re used to heat; functioning in it is necessary. Baseball in February is unnecessary. And moronic. And somewhat miserable. Our boys will be finished with their seasons by the first week in April. That leaves eight weeks of school, according to my rough calculations. Or 10 if you count all those snow days from earlier this month.
After baseball season, our schools still have time for a spring football jamboree. Perhaps itâ€™s more important that our football players, layered in pads and equipment, play in the heat. Whatever happened to logic and reason? The powers-that-be, the â€śgrown-upsâ€ť as one friend calls such decision-makers, know that we will come, no matter how cold it is. They know the moms like me would rather watch their teenagers play ball than eat, or sleep, or be warm. And they are right. The forecast calls for 18 degrees at tomorrow nightâ€™s game against an area rival. Iâ€™m stocking up on the propane today. Iâ€™ll assure Khi and Ben that not only will I be there, Iâ€™ll be cheering as loud as I can. They just may not be able to hear or see me, deep inside my camouflage sleeping bag.