Saturday, April 21, 2012

Scorebook of Spells

No doubt, all you nerds out there understand what it feels like to become consumed by something.  It might be Dungeons & Dragons sessions running into the wee hours of the morning fueled by pizza and Mountain Dew, building and prgramming your own fighting robot, researching the process of brewing your favorite beer and trying to recreate it at home or knowing everything about every member and every song from your favorite band.  Regardless of what form it takes, the nerd inside us all drives us to find out more than we have any reason to know about the objects of our current obsession.

After receiving the Obsessed with Marvel trivia book some time ago, my family barely saw me.  I spent so much time alone with it, trying to up my score that the toilet seat in my bathroom was beginning to conform to my rear end like a couch cushion.  Whenever I wasn't trying my hand at questions, I was paging through the Marvel Encyclopedia so that I would be ready for that section of questions regarding Howard the Duck.

Playing sports may require coordination and physical aptitude, but if there's one thing that fantasy leagues and the nerds behind sabermetrics taught us, it is that the enjoyment to the point of unhealthy fixation of sports is for everyone.  Few things stoke the fire of an obsessive personality like the potential to perform in depth analysis and baseball may very well have the most different statistical categories of any sport out there.

Thus, it is with great excitement that today I received the scorebook for my sons' pee wee baseball team, which I am coaching with my wife this year.  It is also with reserved giddiness that I told my wife I would be glad to keep score during the games myself since she (thankfully) said she wasn't sure how to keep a book.

"Do you want to do the scorebook or should I?" I asked.

"I don't really know how to do it, so you should," my wife said, "Is that okay?"

"I guess so, but you'll have to keep the kids on the bench from throwing dirt around and fighting over sunflower seeds so I can pay attention and keep the book properly."  Then, on the inside, "SQUEEEEEEE!"

(The above conversation has been submitted to Wikipedia for its potential inclusion for the definition of "Win-Win")

I began staring blank columns in the scorebook as soon as I got it home.  I am imagining organizing my lineup and counting every pitch.  My fingers have run over the squares denoting balls and strikes.  I have begun making plans to calculate each kid's batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage and average with hitters in scoring position.  I have even begun to wonder if I should give a special prize to the kid finishing highest on the team in each category.

I was snapped from my trance when my wife came in the room and asked, "What have you been doing?"

"Getting the scorebook ready."

"For the past three hours?"


"What is there to get ready?"

That was quite possibly the toughest question I have been asked in years.  Of course there was plenty to stare at and plenty mental preparation involved, but there was little to show for it.  So I gave the only answer I could think of.

"I have to go to the bathroom," I said and quickly walked form the room, scorebook in hand.

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