After a year of COVID hibernation, it is so nice to see Little League baseball up and running again. If there is anyone, anywhere, who doesn’t love seeing kids play ball, then you can’t be my friend.
I played Little League from about as young as I can remember. I played before T-ball was a thing. We played ball as it was intended — with a pitcher, dammit. My dad was the coach, which meant I played with a chip on my shoulder, always feeling like I had to demonstrate I earned a spot on the team legitimately.
I think I did that. I could field fine. As a hitter I could lay the bat on the ball. I rarely struck out.
Those were happy summer days. Win or lose we got ice cream after every game. And once or twice during the season, we were treated to a pizza party. I have my team pictures, and I still maintain contact with a good number of my teammates. It’s a bond that sticks with you.
But then, there came a day when I realized I was not going to ever play for the San Francisco Giants. I remember it clearly. In the year before going to high school, I stepped up to the plate to face a pitcher who had a really good fastball and an excellent curveball. The first time I saw that curve, it looked like it was going behind my head. My knees buckled and I ducked. It snapped back over the plate for a strike. It absolutely baffled me and put me on my heels. He then zipped fastballs by me at will.
I had never seen such a thing. In a moment of clarity, I knew my competitive days in baseball were over. About a year later I told my coach/dad that I would not be trying out for varsity high school baseball. He wasn’t happy, but said: You have to play at least two sports. I choose football in the fall and tennis in the spring.
I made the varsity tennis team (a shocker since I had never played it before) and became the No. 1 singles player in high school. But as the decades passed, tennis became a faded memory.
However, those days of summer baseball stayed beautiful. We had the time of our lives.
IS NOVATO SCHOOL DISTRICT FAILING?
What’s going on at the Novato Unified School District? They first announced that they must — must! — close an elementary school. They put everyone through the pain of picking one to kill off, and then when the selection is finished they reverse course and now say no closure will happen.
I don’t think you need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure this one out. The district is, indeed, in financial straits and closing a school is one way out. But the additional problem — perhaps the bigger — is that the district lost a boatload of students during the COVID pandemic to private schools.
Mary Jane Burke has now stepped in to, as she said, “stabilize” the situation. Whoa. Isn’t that another way of saying the trustees and the superintendent are failing?
Anyone who has been watching this situation, as I have, knows that there is big angst with a lot of parents with the NUSD. Communication is poor, parents say. Private schools have been back up and running fairly normally since October. Yet, NUSD isn’t now back to normal and whenever the topic comes up about normalcy in fall, the answers appear uncertain.
This bears a close watch, people.
THE ODD DRAKE SAGA
The saga of re-naming Drake High School continues with the preferred name du jour of Archie Williams High School. Funny thing, though, just a few short weeks ago, the school rejected Archie Williams in lieu of a Miwok name.
The only sensible adults in the room for all this — Miwok elders — told the school to count them out of the goofy process. Apparently, they didn’t want to be associated with the highly woke and controversial exercise. Smart move.
So, the school committee backed off of a Miwok name and came back to four previously considered names, one of which is Archie Williams, a beloved teacher at the school who was also an Olympic athlete. I have no dog in this fight other than to say that the whole process was a bungling mess. First, the unilateral decision of the administration to remove the Drake name and, second, to the odd benign neglect exhibited by the Trustees.
Ironically, the naming committee may have stumbled on to the perfect name because Archie Williams is the only name out there that has a chance of bringing peace in the valley.
CARDS AND LETTERS
A loyal reader recently sent a nice note on their subscription renewal. “I love your column. Common sense. Humorous. Honest and frank.” Well, thank you. I’m not sure everyone will be as appreciative, but that’s why my column appears on the “Give & Take” page. Thanks for reading.
ONE MORE THING
— Chicken coops have two door doors, because if they had four doors they’d be chicken sedans.
— The Sausalito sailor exclaimed on his 80th birthday: “Aye matey!”
— I entered 10 puns in a contest and hoped to win, but no pun in ten did.
— Forrest Gump’s computer password was, wait for it, 1forrest1.
— I should have posted this picture on May 5.
Brothers and sisters, those were some bad jokes. No need to cancel your subscription. I will let myself out and look forward to seeing you next week. Be well. Be kind.
(Sherman R. Frederick is the founder and owner of Battle Born Media, a newspaper company dedicated to the preservation of home town newspapers in Marin County. Subscribe to yours on Page 3A. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)