Food, fun, fellowship featured in Friday follow-up

From the Press Box: Opinion and Insight

These teens chose to hang out and grab a light snack at a local eatery after Friday's Perry baseball game. Bluejay players, from left, Caden Steva, Kaleb Olejniczak, Dalton Scott, Keghan West, Avery Meister, Alex Morales, Carlos Calderon and Kaden Boyer were joined by Lydia Olejniczak, Mia Waddle and Jaelyn Waddle.

The first half of my Friday evening was spent at Progressive Field, providing the public address and coverage of Perry’s varsity baseball game with Nevada.

Unfortunately for the Bluejays, their first win of the season was not to be as the Cubs posted a 5-2 win.

The loss dropped Perry to an 0-22 mark, with a regular season finale at Pella (9-21) scheduled for Monday. The playoffs begin Friday with a trip to Ballard (22-6).

Friday’s setback was, on paper, one of the best chances for the Bluejays to put a ‘1’ in the left-hand column. Recalling my high temper as a teen, I would have been maddeningly furious and upset after such a loss.

How I spent the 30-45 minutes after the game made me pause and consider the entire situation.

No one wants to win more than the players and coaches. Anyone watching the Jays Friday could see, as has been almost entirely the case this summer, that it was not a lack of effort that led to the defeat.

Now I had the frustrating task of sitting in front of my computer and trying to hammer out, in a ballpark figure of 400 or so words, what happened and why. Trust me when I share the universal opinion of every sports writer I have ever met: Wins are easier and far more fun to write about.

After the game, Doug Wood joined me for burgers at a local fast food joint. We had just received our food when a posse of teenagers entered the establishment.

A few young ladies were in tow, but the rest was a sizable portion of the Perry baseball team. They ordered, sat around a large table and enjoyed ice cream and the kind of chilled coffees, frappes and assorted drinks I know nothing about.

Neither Doug nor I eavesdropped, but the smiles and laughter we could see and hear revealed the gang was having a good time and enjoying each other’s company.

It made me reconsider my first reaction. No doubt the loss would have chapped my hide, but I would have been there with my buddies, too. What good would going home and sulking or steaming do?

Some could say it “shows how much they care, laughing and carrying on while 0-22,” and there is some justification in that opinion but only in the adult mind. What it behooves us to remember is we are talking about 16-18 year old kids. Teens. High school students or recent graduates.

I have no doubt the players were unhappy with losing again. I am completely sure they are sick of it, but they gave their best, in my opinion, and it just didn’t work out.

The game was over. Life went on. Friends were waiting with fun to be had. Why ruin the rest of the night?

The group left as one, all headed to the home of one of the players to continue their fellowship. Baseball was the last thing on their mind.

Oh, to be young again!


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