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

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

  • Friday's headlines and your holiday open line

    What happened at the State Board of Education and what does it mean; Legislation filed for Hutchinson's government reorganization plan; Pediatric flu-related death in Arkansas reported; Suspect arrested in unsolved 2008 North Little Rock homicide.
    • Dec 21, 2018
  • New episode of Rock the Culture: "Juice In Your Own Life"

    In this week’s episode, Charles and Antwan provide perspective and conversation on the Little Rock Mayoral Election and State Board of Education’s consideration of the anticipated request to waive the Fair Teacher Dismissal Act. In addition, Charles and Antwan discuss all things happening in the Little Rock School District with Superintendent Michael Poore.
    • Dec 11, 2018
  • End of the week headlines and your open line

    Alderman candidate misses chance to cast deciding vote for himself in runoff election; Dem-Gaz to phase out print delivery in El Dorado, Camden and Magnolia; Rapert threatens UA Fort Smith over 'Drag Queen Story Time' event; The Van seeks to raise $35,000 in three weeks for new warehouse facility in South Little Rock.
    • Dec 7, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • On Walmart and state money

    No they don't need state help. Any conservative legislator who is true to their tea party principles will crow on about crony capitalism. I look forward to deafening silence.
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • On shitholes

    The Observer is at home today in our kitty cat socks, weathering a combination sick day and snow day. Way down in Stifft Station, we live at the top of a hill that slopes away in all directions. That's good in a flood, but piss poor other than for sledding during snow and ice, especially when you only have access to a two-wheel drive car.
    • Jan 18, 2018
  • The job

    The Observer and Mr. Photographer were headed across town on our way to another press conference the other day when we got to talking about The Job. Newspaperin'.
    • Mar 15, 2018

Latest in The Observer

  • Phoenix

    If you're reading a paper copy of this esteemed publication right now, you're holding something special in your hands: the last weekly print edition of the Arkansas Times, the end of an unbroken chain that goes back and back, week by week, every week, to May 1992, when the Times became what the hep cats call an "alternative newsweekly."
    • Dec 20, 2018
  • Ramblin' Jack

    The Observer, like a lot of folks, is drawn to the real places: barbecue joints and honky-tonks, seedy truck stops and greasy little diners where the waitresses and clerks still call you "Hun," used bookstores that have been there since Faulkner was still drinking mint juleps, bait shops hung with dusty-eyed bass pulled up from the deep when Eisenhower was in the White House.
    • Dec 13, 2018
  • Phillips

    After many years of faithful service, it seems as if the transmission in Black Phillip — our trusty 2006 Honda CRV — is in the process of giving up the ghost.
    • Dec 6, 2018
  • More »

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Scrubbed from the system

    • I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 1 month after I turned 45. My grandma is…

    • on January 22, 2019
  • Re: Hep A still spreading

    • I am so so happy today, I have been suffering from hepatitis b for the…

    • on January 21, 2019
  • Re: Hep A still spreading

    • I am really happy that i have been cured from (HEPATITIS B VIRUS) with the…

    • on January 21, 2019
 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation