JUGS Sports | Newsletter 33: Little League Confidential

Little League Confidential: Larry King of USA Today has said that the classic New York Times bestseller Little League Confidential is very, very, very funny.

We at The JUGS Newsletter think that Bill Geist's Little League Confidential is just plain honest (and hilarious) record of one coach's trials, successes, and failures as a youth-league coach. Here's an excerpt:

The Opening Day Parade

There is a Friday night in April that is almost like Christmas Eve for kids in our town.

It is the night before the Little League parade, which kicks off the baseball season in our town. My kids never sleep all that well on that Friday night - visions of baseballs dancing in their heads.

A coach in a nearby town takes a long three-hour drive in his the night before opening day to calm his nerves.

Some children sleep in their uniforms - truly! Hats and all! Others have been wearing their uniforms to school all week. Most are satisfied to just lay out everything neatly on a chair - cap, team T-shirt, jeans, white socks and new, shiny black baseball shoes - so they can jump into them and get to that parade on time.

They wake early - a few in the predawn hours - don their uniforms and try to rouse their parents. And who's kidding whom? Some of the parents are up too - some almost as excited as the kids.

The kids begin arriving an hour early, gathering in the parking lot of the commuter train station. Those ten and up might arrive on their bikes, but these are suburban kids and most of them are dropped off --sometimes by mothers in nightgowns.

It is vintage Norman Rockwell and a colorful kaleidoscope as the parking lot fills with kids commingling in their shirts of red, yellow, orange, green, blue, maroon. The uniforms are usually half small and half extra large. They fit no one in the league and all the kids want the same couple of numbers, although they can't explain why.

Our team color this season is baby blue. If you have anything to say about it, avoid baby as your team color. In our town they call it "Columbia blue," after Columbia University. But they might as well call it "baby blue"; most kids associate Columbia athletics with its football team, which recently set a national record for consecutive losses. In any event, it's tough to win - psychologically - with baby blue caps and shirts. I have seen pink! Dark blue is good, so is red. Green and maroon are fine. Yellow, not so hot.

Also, the name of your team is important. Living with baby blue is one thing, playing games with the words "Ridgewood Corset Shop" emblazoned across the front and back is quite another - yet one team has to live with it every year.

I liked it the year we were Ridgewood Hardware. Our color was dark blue, too. Solid name, solid color. We won the League championship and took the plaque to the hardware store. The owner was appreciative, but offered nary a single free phillips-head screwdriver or anything.

Our team sponsor this year is the Curl Up 'N' Dye hair salon.

Editor's note: Little League Confidential is available from Just Books whose number is 1-800-874-4568. Price is $18.00, plus shipping. You will enjoy one coach's completely unauthorized tale of survival!