Keeping Score

baseball gloveEven though I quit playing organized baseball more than a decade ago, I still feel the same unruly, boyish intensity every time I’m near a field. Whether I’m coaching high school players or rooting for my own young kids, I want to be inside the lines, in the batter’s box, on the mound. My passion could not be purer or more misplaced.

The nervous energy has to go somewhere, especially when I’m in the stands. This season, I started keeping score, painstakingly, in a small spiral notebook. Ages ago, my father taught me the art; my style and font are his.

baseball scoresheetThe result is something extraordinary, like a musical score, a maze of marks evoking the deeper beauty and drama of the game. During the action, my attention to the scoresheet gets me off my son’s back. After, it gives me a dozen ways to praise him. It’s what we call win-win.

If you’re a baseball fan and confused by this scoresheet, a bit of explanation: at this level, every kid bats every inning, but after three outs the bases are cleared. Officially, we parents say that no one is keeping score. Yeah, right. 🙂

About Tom Simpson

Tom Simpson teaches religion, ethics, philosophy, and human rights at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH. He is the author of *American Universities and the Birth of Modern Mormonism, 1867-1940* (University of North Carolina Press, 2016) and nonfiction essays about Bosnia for the Canadian literary magazine *Numero Cinq*. Born in 1975 in Olean, NY, he earned the Ph.D. in religious studies from the University of Virginia, where he specialized in American religious history. He writes, teaches, and lectures about religion in America, popular culture, Mormonism, and Bosnia. He lives in Exeter with his partner, Alexis Simpson, and their two children.
This entry was posted in Baseball, Fatherhood, Gender, Humor, Parenting, Raising Boys, Sports and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Keeping Score

  1. Rick Simpson says:

    As the father-perpetrator (now grandfather-perp) in the post above, I just want to say, Tom, that your handwriting is a lot better than mine. Large smiles here about the essay. Ongoing good wishes and congrats to Bake! — Love, Dad

  2. We didnt keep score in my daughters basketball league either. Yet we all know her team didnt win a single game. But at least she had fun!

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