Favorite

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.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

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…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Show and tell

    The Observer is an advocate of the A+ method of integrating the arts and using creativity to teach across the curriculum, an approach that the Thea Foundation, with help from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, is offering to schools across the state.
    • Feb 25, 2016
  • Yawp

    The Observer has been in a funk lately for a number of reasons: revulsions and slights, both foreign and domestic. We get that way most years as the winter drags on, once the tinsel and colored lights of Christmas drop into the rearview, soon after we come off the New Year's Day hangover.
    • Mar 24, 2016

Most Shared

Latest in The Observer

  • Dumb and smart, at the same time

    The Observer spent the week at a bar and thought a lot about a joke and its writer.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • -30-

    A newspaper died up in Atkins a few weeks back, not with a bang or a whimper, but with the sound of change jingling in a pocket, just too little of it to keep the printing presses rolling.
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • Does she know?

    Did Kim Walker-Smith, when recording "Throne Room" for her new record "On My Side," truly understand the power of her music? Does she now know that her song was the one that played on the radio as Michael Reed thumped into the Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol grounds and brought it on down?
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
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

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation