Sally Forth: Those Championship Seasons
For the third year in his long career as a Little League coach, Ted Forth has shepherded a team to the championship game. The first time they made it to the final game they lost at the bottom of the ninth (well, sixth, since it’s Little League), resulting in a Bad News Bears-like finale only without the cursing or beer or sponsorship by a bail bonds company.
With the team’s second appearance in the championship game, they won it all. And thought that provided Ted with a moment of pure, euphoric, almost rapturous joy, it also summoned within him a fear he had peaked. That he would never taste such glorious victory again, resulting in years and years of reminding players who weren’t even on the (in Ted’s mind) mythical team how they were not living up to that year’s standards. (Never mind that years went by yet everyone remained the same age.) It was as if The Rime of the Ancient Mariner had become about a middle-aged guy who achieved glory via 12-year-old players and somehow was still haunted by it, mostly because there was a rather decent chance Ted was going to wear the championship trophy around his neck.
And now we find ourselves halfway through this year’s World Series of Little League…if “series” can be used to denote a single game and by “world” we mean the players’ hometown. Hilary is rushing to the field to make it in time to watch or play. Nona is experiencing conflicted emotions. Jenny is coping with all the pressure of being a winning but first-season pitcher. And Faye is getting increasingly annoyed with everyone.
Also, Ted’s motivational speeches seem to consist of “Deny reality and you’ll be fine. That’s how I’ve been getting through life all these years.”