Setting the Kid Straight Before It Gets Too Late
I figured it was time for the 7-Eleven Kid and G.P. to sit down and talk sports.
I get all kinds of e-mail from people who have it all wrong when it comes to sports, and I would imagine that’s because they didn’t get the straight scoop from someone who really knew what they were talking about until it was too late.
It’s the only way I can explain why some kids grow up rooting for UCLA.
THE ORIGINAL idea was to sit together and watch the baseball All-Star game, maybe order a pizza and make fun of Jeff Kent. Right away the new granddaughter and I ran into a problem. When Kent took a called third strike and gave the umpire one of those looks I know so well, I let out a loud hoot, and she cried.
I know her father is a Dodger fan, but I never thought such a thing might be hereditary. What kind of life is this kid going to have if she cries every time a Dodger strikes out? I explained to her, of course, that this happens all the time.
I found myself explaining a number of things, and doing all the talking. This didn’t seem to surprise anyone else in the room, now that I think about it, but put yourself in my place: the 7-Eleven Kid watching TV for the very first time, and it’s Fox.
Bad enough that when I had come into the room I had already found Miss Radio Personality schooling the kid on “The OC,” another Fox fiasco.
“Ryan is really cute, and he’s mine, so you can like anyone else, although I wouldn’t recommend Seth because he’s the dorky one,” she was telling the 7-Eleven Kid, and I could understand why the kid suddenly cried out for a drink.
She settled for milk, and so I guess drinking habits are not hereditary. When she was finished, I could tell by the look on her face that she was pooh-poohing the idea of ever watching “The OC” and that seemed to be enough to persuade Miss Radio Personality to leave the room.
After I returned to the room, it came time for baseball. Now you can’t go through life pulling the bonnet down over their eyes, so I tried to explain who Billy Bob Thornton was and why he was on TV talking All-Star baseball in the middle of what appeared to be a Chevrolet ad.
“You get a good prenup like Angelina Jolie apparently got, honey, and someday you’ll be able to make your ex jump through hoops too, and resort to appearing on Fox,” I told her, and she grabbed tightly onto one of my fingers.
A short time later Tim McCarver came on the screen, so I told her all about the boogeyman and how there was no reason to be scared.
Unfortunately, I forgot all about the Fox sound effects, the whooshes announcing graphics, the bell indicating another Fox promo and the sound of apparent gunfire every time someone hit the ball. The microphone at the plate, which picked up the sound of the catcher’s fancy jewelry jangling around his neck, did allow me to broach the subject of why so many players wear earrings and gaudy necklaces.
“It’s to identify them as professional athletes, honey,” I said, “so you don’t make the mistake one day of marrying one of the spoiled brats. You see a man wearing an earring or a gaudy necklace, you remember what your G.P. told you.”
I’ll be honest with you: I’ve never met anyone who just sat there and seemed to agree with everything I said. I guess being a G.P. isn’t so bad after all; it’s nothing like being a husband, or a father.
THE BASEBALL game was really dull, so it gave us the opportunity to talk about some of the other things going on in sports. I knew she was going to be scared when she heard about the return of hockey, so I told her to ignore it just like her G.P., and maybe it would go away again.
I told her about the Lakers’ first-round draft pick, and I could tell she was excited about watching someone who is around her own age play.
I also mentioned the report about the Lakers trading for Kwame Brown. I can’t be certain, because we’re still getting to know each other, so I don’t know if she was booing, cooing or moving her mouth signaling she was ready to eat again.
When I mentioned that Devean George might be part of the deal and leaving town, both of her little arms shot in the air like a football referee signaling, “It’s good.” The 7-Eleven Kid and G.P. are going to get along just fine.
I thought about saying something about Jamie McCourt, but I recall taking the 7-Eleven Kid’s mother to see “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and how frightened she got when she saw the Queen, so I didn’t say anything.
Then I went to work Wednesday and found a bag of little pink Dodger outfits and a pink Dodger (choking) dog for the 7-Eleven Kid.
Once I had Dwyre’s executive administrative assistant open the Dodger bag for safety precautions, I found a note from Jamie McCourt. Dwyre’s assistant would have probably never agreed to open it, knowing that beforehand.
“Congratulations on your first grandchild,” the note read. “As a grandparent, you will now have a ‘Screaming Meanie’ of your very own.”
I can’t wait to tell the 7-Eleven Kid that the Screaming Meanie has a sense of humor, which is going to make it so much more enjoyable making fun of her in the coming weeks knowing she’s laughing right along with old G.P.
“I am hopeful this new outfit will ensure she will be an avid and loyal Dodger fan. Best wishes, Jamie.”
That was nice. But under The Times’ ethics guidelines, I’m not sure I’m allowed to accept such a gift from the Dodgers. I will check on that, along with the huge arrangement of flowers the Clippers sent, just in case the Angels and Lakers ever wake up and think of the same thing.
Today’s last word comes in e-mail from David Berman:
“What makes you think we give a @#*! about your family?”
As a public service, the idea is to identify those @#*! out there who take their sports too seriously. Thanks for your contribution.
T.J. Simers can be reached at email@example.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.