So Dad and his Son-1 are back home now, and they are resting.
Dad is the CEO at Some Orthopedic Center and because they have been traveling with the Anonymous Park Little League All-Star team, they haven't been home much the past couple of months.
Dad was an assistant coach.
Son-1 was the shortstop.
The Little League regular season started with practice in early April and ended Saturday in Another City when Anonymous All-Stars lost to the state champs from Arizona, one win short of the Little League World Series.
By the end of their crazy run, Son-1 had played about 40 Little League games this summer. Father and son have been doing baseball for nearly five months, throwing and hitting and spending more nights in hotels than rock stars. Like most parents of Anonymous Park players, the family has spent thousands of dollars.
The past two weeks, father and Son-1 stayed in the Little League barracks with the team, 13 boys and three coaches to one big room and one bathroom.
"It's such a mess," coach Enough said during the tournament. "I can't live like this much longer."
But they're finally home, resting, as you know, and guess what they've already been asked. Go ahead, take a guess.
You guys ready to play some baseball!
It was a coach of a travel baseball team, asking if Son-1 was ready to start playing again.
"No," Dad said. "We're off."
When did youth sports get so out of control? When did it become OK for a12-year-old to play on a traveling baseball team?
What happened to all the 12-year-olds in Anonymous City? Do we have a shortage? Are they no good at baseball? Not good enough?
Here's an idea: What if we split all Anonymous City 12-year-olds into teams and put the really good players on different teams, so they'd all be competitively even? Then they could play here in Anonymous City and we could take all that travel money and build a mass-transit system, or a big statue of our current Governor. Or we could just pile up big stacks of money and look at them adoringly.
Oh, wait, we have those leagues already. They just aren't enough. It's never enough. To be the best, you have to play the best, and you have to play constantly.
There are national tournaments for volleyball, soccer, softball, just about any sport you can think of.
A lot of people don't know this, but if an inferior player were to come into contact with a superior player in a "regular" league, his mediocrity could, literally, infect the more talented player. There is no cure.
A local 12-and-younger travel team, the Twin City Twins, has gone 226-6 the past two years. The boys who are asked to play go to tournaments every other weekend, all year long. Sometimes more. Six of the Anonymous City All-Star Team players - Son-1, Son-2, Son-3, Son-4, Son-5 and Son-6 - play for the Twins, to varying degrees.
Son-1, for instance, played only one travel tournament during the Little League season, and will take a few months off now. But some will play more than 150 games this year.
And those are 12-year-olds.
Son-2 has played in so many national tournaments already, he can't keep them all straight. As a 10-year-old, he played in a "world series" in Indiana. At this point, would making the Little League World Series have been a memory to cherish the rest of his life, or another line on his résumé?
The parents of the Anonymous City kids all seemed like good people with good intentions. There were a few parent/coach confrontations, as there will be when you put that many stars on one team. One parent leading the cheering was a bit over the top, enough that it was a little embarrassing, and the Nevada coach - who everyone said had a chip on his shoulder all week - got upset at the fans during a game.
But at some point, it's too much. Telling your kids it's OK to play 150 baseball games as a 12-year-old is the wrong message. They should be reading, playing, throwing newspapers at doors, being kids. Chances are, most of them never will be college baseball players, and none of them will be pros.
It's what 12-year-olds want, though, and what kind of parents would we be if they didn't get everything they wanted?