Buffalo, NY—Watching the show of sportsmanship between two opponents at the Little League World Series Southwest Regional game in Waco, Texas from his seat at Big Tony’s Grill on Bailey Avenue, Wally Runyan, a foreman at the GM Powertrain Plant declared today’s kids—soft.
Runyan was referencing the reaction of Isaiah Jarvis, who offered a hug and a few words of encouragement to opponent Kaiden Shelton who accidentally beaned him in the head with an errant pitch. The scary pitch sent Jarvis to the ground hard. Eventually he got up and on his way to first base he noticed Shelton was visibly shaken, which prompted the hug and encouraging words.
Runyan recounted how in his day when you got beaned there was a bench clearing brawl. Disillusioned, he said, “Now, they spoon and play kissy face. It’s bullshit. They don’t do that in China. In China they play for keeps. What the fuck kind of name is Kaiden anyway?”
From there Runyan went on to tell the same old stories he’s bored everyone with at Big Tony’s for years about how he was a Super Seven Player of the Week in the 80’s when he was a quarterback at Cheektowaga Central and how chicks really dug him. But his original point was not lost on the bar patrons.
Tommy Lattanzio, of Lattanzio Concrete complained about Gaga Ball, which is a game played in an enclosure where you roll a ball on or near to the ground and try to hit the other players in the lower half of their bodies. “It’s wussy dodgeball,” he said. “My kid has been driving me nuts about getting one of those pansy enclosures. I told him I’ll get him one, but only if he uses it to play real dodgeball. Little bastard got smart with me, asking how getting hit in the face with a dodgeball is fun or builds character? I told him I didn’t know, but maybe he could figure it. Then I locked him in a closet, ya know, so he’d have a quiet dark place to think about it. If it wasn’t for his mother coming home from work his little crying ass would still be in there.”
Big Tony then chimed in about the work ethic of the young female bartenders he hires, “They get offended every time someone makes a comment about their ass. They won’t sleep with anyone. They won’t even let a customer buy them a shot because it messes with their mental health. It’s terrible for business. What happened to all the fun slutty twenty year old girls?”
Someone put a few bucks in the digital jukebox and as Fleetwood Mac poured from the speakers the guys at the bar rolled their eyes and shrugged watching ESPN play the hug on a loop.