Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where the great game of baseball has been making the local news lately!
In 2001, our sitting president thought long and hard and made a tough decision. He decided that once a year the White House lawn would host a t-ball game during the final week in June.
You know t-ball, right? It's baseball played by tots too young to hit a pitch, so they whack a ball off a tee. No score is kept, it's just a way to train kids to hit and field.
This year our sitting president invited a team from Puerto Rico to be "Side One" in the White House t-ball game. Then, guided by his infinite wisdom, he decided he'd better get another team full of brown kids as opponents. This sparked an invitation to a t-ball team in the Cramer Hill section of Camden, New Jersey. Cramer Hill is mostly populated by Hispanic Amerians from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
The local newspapers seized on this jolly tale, of course. A reporter actually went out to Cramer Hill's little league facility and found it to consist of dirt, rotted fences, no place to sit but the ground, and a few port-o-potties. Forty percent of the kids in the league can't afford the basic entry fee. Every year about 6o kids get turned away for lack of playing space.
(This was in the paper on Monday. Today we hear that "private donors" have given money to help fix up the field. These same donors paid for the kids' bus to Washington, DC. ... Go figure. The president didn't even give them bus fare!)
What amused us here at "The Gods Are Bored" were the quotes from and behavior of the four- to seven-year-old Hispanic kids from Camden who were told they would be shaking hands with President Bush.
One kid said his mom asked him not to kick the president.
I'm a mom myself, and if one of my kids was faced with the prospect of shaking hands with President Bush, I would have to offer the same advice. Because chances are that my kids would relish an opportunity to kick President Bush. And my kids don't live in a poverty-stricken, crime-ridden, crumbling city with patches of dirt for baseball fields.
The front page of today's Philadelphia Inquirer shows one youngster from Cramer Hill running, nay sprinting, in the other direction rather than palming the president's proffered paw.
You've just got to love four-year-olds. They believe in Santa Claus. They also believe their parents when they hear them say that the sitting president should be kicked, and frequently. They're rather surprised when Mami tells them not to kick the president, even if Mami wants to, because kicking isn't nice. Still they aren't keen to shake hands with a guy who they've heard so much about, and none of it praiseworthy.
The Cramer Hill t-ball team got a nice autographed baseball from our sitting president (one baseball to be shared by the whole team). They got to eat hot dogs and burritos, presumably prepared by President Bush's Filipino chef. And they got to ride out of state on a fancy bus, and not at taxpayer expense.
I suppose a good time was had by all. But getting to meet President Bush will not be a bragging right in Cramer Hill. The kids who dared to touch him at all will be searching their palms for cooties.
I'll bet at least one of those kids sniffed the president, just to see if he stinks as bad as Mami and Papi say he does.
Of course that wouldn't make the news, would it?