Thursday, March 17, 2005

Top o' the morning, bottom of the lineup.

Whenever it's Saint Patrick's Day, I always think of one of the lessons I learned as a sportswriter back when I was in high school:

Never interview a coach on Saint Patrick's Day.

Or, as you'll see, any other holiday that involves drinking heavily.

I was about 16 or 17, and working as a "stringer" at my hometown paper, when I got the chance to write the spring high-school softball preview. So I'm calling around to the area coaches, getting starters, new freshmen, pitchers, that kind of thing.

I had a few days to work on it, since I had to call about a dozen coaches for all the area teams.

I get to one coach - who will remain anonymous; I got one coach fired that season, and that was enough for me - and I should have known I was in trouble when his wife had to call him in from the barbecue to talk on the phone.

Give this guy credit - he's the only coach I've ever talked to who flat-out admitted he wasn't going to win; in fact, he cheerfully pointed out the area's local kingpin team was going to be everyone, not just his girls.

Now might be a good time to point out that, from his last name at least, I don't think Coach was even Irish.

So things went along fairly well, even if he was a little vague on the statistics and things like that, until I asked him about his incoming freshmen.

Turns out he had two.

The first one could play a little, he said, hit a little, might get into some games.

The second one, well, about her, he said something along the lines of...

"Beautiful girl. Can't play a bit. But she looks *great* on the bench."

Needless to say, I didn't quote him on that.

Sadly, I never found out what she looked like, either. I did, however, spend most of the season flirting with another softball player. I mean, if Coach could do it, why not me? At least *I* was her age.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, y'all. And here's to ya, Coach, wherever you are!

(My further softball-coverage misadventures, including Stacey and the fired coach, deserve a post all their own. Just remember when we get there, I was 17 and didn't know any better!)