The Observer 

Many a parent has spent many a night in spring on the bleachers at Allsopp Park watching girls play softball. In The Observer’s day at the park, surreptitious sips of alcoholic beverages hidden in plastic cups and lots of chitchat made up for any lull in the action, and all were quick to nudge the proper mother when her daughter was at bat so she wouldn’t miss anything. When a fly ball was hit, all the players on the team rushed toward it, only to let it fall to earth in their midst. Once in a while, though, a girl would smack it all the way to the fence and the parents would roar – all of them, not just the ones on the team at bat.

Twice a week for a couple of months the games came around, and no one blamed mom if hot dogs were for dinner both nights. (That might be four nights if a mother had two girls playing in different age groups.) You could tell the children of experienced moms – their girls wore bandannas under their batting helmets, to ward off that bane of elementary school life, head lice. Only a few toddlers fell through the bleachers in any given season.

We haven’t fielded a child in years, but we figure nothing much has changed. But the Molar Rollers have been going at the Bad Nose Bears now since 1984. To celebrate this remarkable near-quarter-century of fun, the founding players are throwing a party and they’re looking for women who played in the 1980s to join them in a reunion game at the park.

Chelsea Clinton was one of the founding players, and her mother has been invited to throw out the first ball when the game starts at 5 p.m. July 14. It ought to be a swell game, coming on the heels of a margarita and beer party that starts at 3 p.m.

Pictures? Original T-shirts? Bring them along. Find out more by e-mailing hillcrestsoftball@gmail.com.

Over the weekend, The Observer was forced to revise our long-held belief that all Republicans are dumb. Now we’re operating under the theory that most Republicans are dumb. This new position is taking some getting used to.

For reasons that remain unclear, The Observer was chosen to be one of the judges for an adult spelling bee. Some 25 competitors took the stage at Pulaski Heights Christian Church of Little Rock. They were male and female, black and white, young and not-so-young, teachers and retired teachers, librarians, politicians and professional environmentalists.

This was a steel-cage spelling bee, not one of those sissy affairs where the contestants are given long lists of words in advance. Those are memorization bees, not spelling bees, The Observer thinks. The competitors in this bee had no idea what words they’d be given.

These were good spellers, and The Observer imagined the competition going on for hours. But “good” is not “perfect,” and inevitably, contestants began to be eliminated.

(Let us explain that The Observer played a crucial part in this process. There were three people at the judging table. One was the pronouncer who gave the words to the contestants. One was a judge who also kept records on what round it was and other such data. Then there was The Observer, who was not only a judge but was also commissioned to sound the counter bell in front of him whenever a speller missed a word. After the competition, The Observer heard nothing but compliments on his ringing — “The best ever,” one longtime bee fan said — but, perfectionist that he is, was not entirely pleased with his own performance. He hadn’t wanted to seem eager to eliminate anybody, so he sometimes waited too long to ring the bell — that is, the pronouncer was telling the contestant he’d erred, and what the error was, before the bell made it official. The Observer will steel himself next time. No more Mr. Nice Guy.)

Early on, The Observer saw a Republican member of the state legislature among the contestants and naturally assumed he’d be eliminated early. But he kept hanging around while others left the stage. Finally, it came down to the politician needing only one more correct spelling to win the championship. He got it. And it was a hard word, too: hypochondriasis.

Who would ever have guessed that a Republican could spell like that?

But this Republican is a native Arkansan, and that makes a difference, obviously. We don’t look for George Bush to win any spelling bees.



Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

  • Every secret thing

    The Observer came into the office on Tuesday morning, not quite bright-eyed or bushy tailed thanks to Daylight Savings Time jetlag, to find our colleague Benji Hardy conked out asleep in yet another colleague's office, Benji having pulled an all-nighter to bring you, Dear Reader, this week's cover story.
    • Mar 10, 2015
  • Casting out demons: why Justin Harris got rid of kids he applied pressure to adopt

    Rep. Justin Harris blames DHS for the fallout related to his adoption of three young girls, but sources familiar with the situation contradict his story and paint a troubling picture of the adoption process and the girls' time in the Harris household.
    • Mar 12, 2015
  • Addendum

    he Observer has our regrets, just like everybody else. For example: last week, Yours Truly published a cover story on the increasingly ugly fight over Eureka Springs' Ordinance 2223, which is designed to protect a bunch of groups — including LGBTQ people — from discrimination in housing, employment, accommodations, cake buying, browsing, drinking, gut stuffery, knickknack purchasing, general cavorting, funny postcard mailing and all the other stuff one tends to get up to in the weirdest, friendliest, most magical little town in the Ozarks.
    • Apr 30, 2015

Most Shared

Latest in The Observer

  • Playing catch-up

    What with the big, clear-the-decks Road Trip issue last week — which we're sure you stuffed immediately in your motorcar's glove box, turtle hull or catchall, for when you get a hankerin' to gallivant — The Observer has had two glorious weeks to Observe since the last time we conversed.
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Old Gray Lady rides again

    There was a reunion of Arkansas Gazette employees last Saturday night, nearly 25 years to the day it was shut down.
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • Thrifty

    The Observer is a known and incorrigible haunter of thrift stores. Some weekends, with Spouse in tow, we'll make the rounds of every Goodwill store in three counties, driving them on a carefully pre-planned circuit so we can stop midway and get coffee at our favorite little place.
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Five Fun Fall Activities

Five Fun Fall Activities

Autumn temps are perfect for outdoor activities

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Recent Comments


© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation