Apparently, there are no rain-outs in Little League.
I've never quite understood why there are rain-outs in the bigs; my only assumption has to be that when people throw a ball at 98 mph, it behooves them to know at least roughly which direction it's headed. Same goes for large men wearing spikes on their feet and weilding large wooden clubs, I guess. And, of course, billion-dollar franchises with delicate infield materials to worry about getting soaked.
But for kids, who play on plain dirt, in rubber spikes, and more often than not bounce the ball on the way to the plate, they play in the rain.
At least, that's what I gathered as I drove by the Little League fields in my hometown yesterday, watching a game proceed despite the downpour.
It has been a miserable spring / early summer in New England, weather-wise, and though I'm not one to bitch about weather most often, even I have begun to wonder if summer has been cancelled this year. Most mornings the factory-installed digital thermometer display on my car's dashboard reads somewhere between 45 and 50 degrees. Most afternoons aren't much better. Yesterday, as a sloppy day plodded soggily toward evening, it began to rain like something, somewhere, was angry.
The teams I paused to watch while stopped at a red light for a few moments may have been maroon vs. navy blue or purple vs. black or brown vs. maroon--in general, they were wearing dark shirts and light pants, and the rain soaking the cloth made everything else difficult to parse. As I watched, the pitcher for the slightly darker black-ish team, a tall, willowy kid of I would guess about twelve, wound up slowly, deliberately, with painstaking concentration. Then, he delivered a sharp curveball that unfortunately displayed too tight an arc, connecting with the ground about three feet in front of the plate rather than the catcher's glove, bouncing by to the chain-link backstop in the muck, while the catcher squished around in shoes full of water and flopped to earth, stumbling and slipping, crawling his way to the ball...
And this little kid--this little, tiny kid, it might have been a girl, bracing his / her feet on third base, tore toward the plate like it was the winning run of the deciding game of the World Series, feet kicking up rooster-tails in the mud, diving head-first through the glop at home before the desperate catcher could wade his way back, and a saturated gentleman in umpire's gear raked his arms through the sodden air: safe!
The scoreboard, blinking in the distance through the driving drops, read: HOME 2 VISITOR 0.