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Sue's Views -- A softball rivalry with love to boot

For those who keep score, it was 8 to 7. You'll have to decide for yourself which team really won. I hold to the notion that my team did.

The Bank of the West elementary softball team took on their mothers in a friendly rivalry last Thursday. It was without a doubt, the best possible distraction on a day when it seemed the only news was bad news.

While it has been more than two decades since I have played softball, and then only because it was required for a grade, that did not in any way interfere with my ability to enjoy the event. In fact, what I enjoyed most was what was missing. No parking quagmires, no grandparents second guessing the umpires, no loudspeakers, no lights, no mosquitos. The chatter amongst the players was more like what you hear at a family picnic than any other kind of sports competition as the players tried to decide if the moms were sandbagging or if we were just that unfortunate, athletically speaking.

Now, in the interest of fairness, the moms weren't completely hopeless. Peggy Mahoney has a wicked pitch and Meriel Cardwell can hustle to first at least as fast as those elementary-aged girls. And since I'm naming names, Lisa Riley, Kristin Ohren, Sharon Papiernik and Holly Giese played admirably. This in addition to putting on one heck of a potluck.

Yes, there were dads there, too. Mike Mahoney handled grill duty and I promised I wouldn't mention how many paper plates were torched. Brian Giese did his best as ump, but there were clear biases. Doug Cardwell and my husband were smart enough to stay quiet or watch the younger siblings.

I was the oldest person on the field and wearing inappropriate footwear. I made a couple errors, including coming to a dead stop on my way to first to check on the pitcher after she wiped out trying to catch my pop fly. I eventually made it first base only to be forced out at second by my daughter, who first taunted then hugged me.

What was most amusing for me was the fact that even though we moms had just spent six weeks listening to the same cheers over and over -- "There's a hole out there, there's a hole out there, there's a h-o-l-e hole out there" -- not a one of us could bring ourselves to utter even one of them. The girls, on the other hand, worked their way through nearly their entire repertoire.

Sure, between innings, there was worry and hand-wringing and shared grief over the loss of a young life, the imminent loss of a grocery store and the unseasonably cool weather.

But for one, brief evening, the most important thing at least for these families was to share in a delightful distraction and for these young girls to know that their parents will do nearly anything for them. Except slide into home.