Eleven years. Eleven years I’ve waited. Patiently, more or less. Eleven years I’ve sat idly at a plastic table, watching some other San Francisco Little League coach win the draft lottery. Blindly and serendipitously grasping the folded paper ticket granting its holder the first pick in our annual player draft. “A unicorn,” I confess I’ve pondered. “I’m going to graduate two sons from this league all the way through, never once getting that first pick.” Blink. Blink. Blink.
Well all that changed on Monday night. My heart actually palpitated a bit when I withdrew my hand from the envelope and saw that I had, at long last, pulled the “1.” I’m not much for cards, but I imagine this was like drawing a royal flush or handful of aces or whatever the mustached (mustachioed?) World Series of Poker pros aim for on ESPN. Or Charlie’s Golden Ticket, folded into a candy bar’s wrapper. Yeah, felt like that.
With a little whiff of hand grenade thrown in, too, if I’m being completely honest.
Because suddenly, now, we got us some pressure. If our ringer-stacked little league roster doesn’t reach the stratosphere this season, it’s on us. The coaches. On me. The head coach. If our players’ on-field heroics don’t cause the capital “L” capital “L” Little League officials in the Williamsport home office to decree moving the home run fences 50 feet back, I have failed. If our season doesn’t conclude with a ticker tape parade down Market Street, I will be hung in effigy. Or maybe stuck with voodoo pins, also in effigy. Or beaten with a broomstick as a piñata, once again in effigy.
It’s difficult to imagine the upcoming spring little league season not culminating with me in one or another state of effigy.
Opening Day looms a mere 24 days, 1 hour, 9 minutes, and 30 seconds hence. But who’s counting?
Thanks for reading.