Kids baseball season roundup

No sooner had it started than it ended, with both kids having played baseball since mid-April here in merrie olde England for the second year.

Scarlett played in T-Ball, with me as her assistant coach, though as the season progressed I spent more & more time with Miles’ team who needed someone who could pitch for batting practice.

But anyway Scarlett was on the Mariners and played her little heart out. I’ll push her into coaches’ pitch next year (where the coaches pitch to the kids, rather than using a tee). She’s got great hand-eye coordination and is fast. Plus it’s reallyĀ obviousĀ that she likes playing as part of a team, which sometimesĀ girlsĀ don’t get to do enough at her age, where quite often they play individual sports instead.

Miles was playing for the Indians in what they call the minors, playing with boys who were all 1-2 years older than him, as heĀ wasn’t officially old enough to be playing truly competitive baseball this year, but he did well enough in the trials to get in the team. He started playing in the outfield and beingĀ catcher, which he liked, as you got to dress up in all the gear. But eventually he was allowed to pitch and ended up as starting pitcher two weeks in a row, pitching three innings each time and doing really well.

His batting improved as the year went on, as it did for all the kids, but it’s quite a different experience having Dad pitch to you so that you can hit it, and have a 9 or 10 year old boy – with all the inherent lack of control they have at that age – pitch to you so try and get you out, with a 17 year old umpire behind you calling the strikes. It was a good learning experience and the NY Mets bat he has ended up with two major dents in it, so we’ll be getting a new one of those at some point.

Anyway click on any of theseĀ picturesĀ for (slightly) larger versions, including ones without the heads cut off and there’s loads more higher quality ones here from the month of June.

Haircut – before & after

At times it looked cool, others it looked less so, and watching him trying to casually flick his hair back out of his eyes was highly amusing. But we decided it had to go, although barbers don’t seem to understand theĀ ideaĀ of cutting a little bit off, so most of it went. Still, it’ll be back soon. This was him on Friday on the left, today on the right.


I showed the boy a recording of the 10 minute sequence in David Attenborough’s recent film, Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life, as I thought it was a great way of showing a kid the basics of evolution. It’s available here for all to see. He was tired after a long day but still watched attentively.

At breakfast this morning with his little sister, I overheard the following snippets of conversation as I walked in & out of the kitchen:

Him: “It started in the water, and some creatures came out to live on the land….some of them became reptiles…..after that [the event that wiped out the dinosaurs] the only ones that surviced were ones that could fly. And they became birds!….did you know there are 75,000 species of insects, alone?”

Her: “Wow”.

Thanks, Mr Attenborough. There will be no images of Adam & Eve riding around on dinosaurs in our house!

Xmas and New Year

We spent Christmas in Erie, PA, where the temperature and the snow depth fluctuated wildly over the course of 10 days. We got there just before a big dump, as it were, and 6 days later it was 60 degrees at 10pm.

Anyway we had a lot of fun, ate and drank a lot as per usual and the kids loved spending time with their cousins. At one point in the house we had 7 adults and 7 kids staying there; it’s easier when you’re not outnumbered. I put some pics on the site here and there’s a great sequence of her singing a song from High School Musical (don’t ask me which number) on the outdoor sound stage that is Grandpa & Grandma’s front porch, feeling the emotion of each line in the lyric, until her brother comes along and tackles her.

Here’s a taster of the performance:

Inaugural rugby festival

Kids’ rugby festivals, for the uninitiated, involve multiple teams playing a bunch of games throughout a day. A day in this case lasted from 9.30 to about 3.30. Thankfully the weather was pretty much OK, but from my nephew’s experience, I know they can involve long Saturdays or Sundays spent sitting and standing aroundĀ  on windswept, wet playing fields. That’s for the future, I’m sure.

Today the lad had his first rugby festival experience down in leafy Surrey right near an idealistic little development called Whiteley Village, a place where Postman Pat wouldn’t look out of place. He was part of Rosslyn Park’s Under 7 team playing tag-rugby, hence those tags in the pictures. Very much like flag football for our US-based readers.

Here he is in full flight and there’s many more like it here for those with a password, plus a sneak preview of his birthday celebrations:

Chess update

So the lad played in the Greater New York Scholastic championships last Saturday, his second tournament and this was a long one!

He spent the whole day in the the New Yorker hotel – he was there from 9.15am to 6.45pm, played five games, (as did everybody).

And although he lost his first three he rallied and one his last two, which are the first games he’s one in a tournament setting, which is great for him. Here he is setting up for his 4th and 5th games, note the encouragement being provided by his sister in the last photo (all taken on my phone, hence the quality, but click to enlarge).


In the wake of Bobby Fischer’s demise, it’s clearly time for a new American grandmaster to emerge. And so with that in mind (well not really, he enjoys it, so we encourage him, it’s that simple), the lad participated in his first competition yesterday. He didn’t win a game, but he drew one, but no matter.

It was a big competition – 200 kids crammed into the gym at his school, which hosts a lot of these and has chess as part of its curriculum. Next competition, this coming Saturday!

Here he is warming up with his mate Rocky:

And here’s a few taken by the official photographer, as parents aren’t allowed in in case we flash them some signs, though I can’t teach him much about chess he doesn’t already know.

Lee Friedlander would be proud

OK, he obviously couldn’t care less! I’ve always liked his stuff and unlike his work, this was more or less accidental (and not as good, it goes without saying!). He liked his storefront reflection pictures, and this is one of those jewelry stores on East 46th St on Thanksgiving Day. It was taken after we left the Macy’s Day Parade in unseasonably warm weather.