Even though I quit playing organized baseball more than a decade ago, I still feel the same unruly, boyish intensity every time I’m near a field. Whether I’m coaching high school players or rooting for my own young kids, I want to be inside the lines, in the batter’s box, on the mound. My passion could not be purer or more misplaced.
The nervous energy has to go somewhere, especially when I’m in the stands. This season, I started keeping score, painstakingly, in a small spiral notebook. Ages ago, my father taught me the art; my style and font are his.
The result is something extraordinary, like a musical score, a maze of marks evoking the deeper beauty and drama of the game. During the action, my attention to the scoresheet gets me off my son’s back. After, it gives me a dozen ways to praise him. It’s what we call win-win.
If you’re a baseball fan and confused by this scoresheet, a bit of explanation: at this level, every kid bats every inning, but after three outs the bases are cleared. Officially, we parents say that no one is keeping score. Yeah, right.