It’s already August, and I’m writing this column, which means that apparently I’ve survived the dreaded month of July and all that comes with it.

Wheat harvest managed to linger into early July, but the big story in town lately is the game of baseball.

During the past month, Hillsboro has hosted two state baseball tournaments, and just recently finished hosting a 49-team men’s slow-pitch regional.

As an employee of the Hillsboro Recreation Commission this summer, it has been my job to assist with these tournaments, and be there whenever possible.

When you’re at almost every game of every tournament, you learn some very interesting things about different levels of baseball.

To keep this thing organized, I’ll start with the 10-year-old state tournament and work up from there.

At this tournament I learned that as bad as I’ve been chewed out by some coaches in summer league ball, I’ve actually had it pretty good. Some of these guys come in from Wichita after putting their 10-and-under “athletes” on a baseball field almost every day of their summer.

I believe one team came in with a record of 62-2. Baseball is life for these kids.

One thing I noticed at this particular 10-and-under tournament was that the parents, who shell out thousands of dollars for their kids every summer, don’t have a problem with chewing out anybody they think deserves it-umpires and coaches included.

I got a particular kick out of one parent who chewed out a coach because her son didn’t start. She then began harassing the official scorekeeper, saying he had no idea what the difference between a foul ball and a foul tip was.

(I hope she’s not reading this, but she was the one who really had no clue what she was talking about.).

Then, without missing a beat, she turned her attention to critiquing the umpire and letting him know how bad a job he was doing simply because he had thrown an irate coach out of the game earlier. The high point of the tournament came when this particular team from Wichita was eliminated.

The 15-and-under state tournament was definitely different. The kids were older and had another life besides baseball.

Many of the teams were made up of freshmen at various high schools throughout the state that got together and played on a tournament team.

I remember being impressed with one coach from a Topeka team who actually came out and helped us work the field. He had no problem grabbing a rake or a hose to help speed up the field work process, and he actually did a very good job.

There only was one team that I was ready to see leave-and they only ended up playing three games in the tournament.

I don’t recall having any incidents with any of the parents of these 15-and-under kids, outside of the usual “Wow, that umpire missed that one” or things like that.

Everybody was much more laid back, which made the job of tournament director a lot easier and more enjoyable. It was nice to be able to sit back and watch some good baseball instead of having to worry about clueless parents.

The most recent tournament I helped with was the USSSA Men’s Class E Regional Slow-Pitch tournament.

I have my own opinions about slow-pitch softball, so I’m not really going to say a whole lot except I have a deep respect for anybody who has the patience to put together a tournament with 49 teams.

Most of the slow-pitch guys I saw during my time primarily at Memorial Field were decent, but as soon as something wasn’t their way, they’d let whoever needed to know, know in their own way.

Our very own Circle D fared well in the tournament, and I wish them the best of luck in the state tournament.

Since I’m talking about baseball tournaments, that must mean the only thing left for me between now and college is the Marion County Fair going on later this week.

Speaking of college, for those who might ask, I plan to write at least one more column while in college. I would like to continue it through the year, but time will tell if I’ll be able to pull that off.

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope to see everybody at the Marion County Fair!

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