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The following poem is written with Clement Clark Moore’s classic Christmas poem, “T’was The Night Before Christmas” as a backdrop. Mr. Moore wrote his poem in 1822. I was in the 3rd grade that year.This poem is about the 2006 Thompson/Corr Tournament. It (like everything else in the newsletter) is based on true happenings. Though these verses contain some negativity, please know, that this weekend and the phenomenal effort put in by the ballplayers remain one of my fondest-ever softball memories. It was indeed a save of miraculous proportions. For the second year in a row, the UIC had declared the tournament a rainout. It was the authoritarian manner in which it was done that bothered me most. We asked him to reconsider, he did and for that I am thankful. My thanks also to the umpires. There would be no games without them. There is more to this story than is appropriate to write. I will leave it with that.

T’was the night before the Thompson/Corr tourney,

When all thro the town,

The softball ruining rain, had started coming down.

The fields were all prepped, the baselines chalked with care,

In hope that tomorrow, the teams would be there.

My children were nestled, all snug in their bed.

While visions of mud puddles, danced in my head.

And Mamma with her book, and I with my mitt,

Fell asleep that night, praying the rain would quit.

When out on the lawn, there arose such a splatter,

I sprang from my bed, to see what was the matter.

Away to the window, I flew like a flash,

To see the newspaper boy, drive off with a splash.

When finally come morning, the rain was still falling,

I drove to the fields, and felt like bawling.

On first base, on second, on third, and the mound,

Huge puddles of water, were all to be found.

I said to myself, please say it ain’t so.

Could this be happening, two years in a row?

I lifted my head, to see the UIC come near,

What he had to say, I wanted not to hear.

He was chubby and plump, quite an unjolly old elf.

I grimaced when I saw him, and mumbled to myself.

The look in his eyes, and the rain on his head,

Gave me cause to know, I had something to dread.

He was dressed all in blue, from his hat to his shoe.

His clothes were all wet, and so was his cigarette.

His voice was a distinctive, throaty old growl,

His cheeks were not merry, he was wearing a scowl.

A group of umpires, stood at his back.

He looked like a cop, expecting some flak.

He said, he was the decider, and he has decided to say,

These fields are too wet, so forget it, no way.

He said he is the boss; it is his call to make,

These fields are underwater, this place is a lake.

I don’t care if you have teams, from out of state,

This tournament is rained out, so accept your fate.

And then in a twinkling, I heard a ballplayer say,

“These fields are not that bad, I think we can play.”

With teams from Utah, Montana, and Idaho,

If we all pitched in, we could make this thing go.

So now what the heck, was I supposed to do?

Blue had just declared, the tourney was through.

What if what I say, doesn’t come out right?

All hope is lost, if Blue stays on the fight

I remembered my training, and it shed some light,

When dealing with someone, who goes on the fight.

Even though they may bait you, you don’t have to bite.

To settle them down, calmly say they are right.

So I said, you are the boss, I completely agree.

And the fields are all wet, that is plain to see.

But I am wondering if you, could just give us a chance,

Please give us one hour, and then make your stance.

He let out a sigh, and he looked at me hard.

He’d expected an argument, I’d caught him off-guard.

He said, “I’ll give you one hour, to see what you can do,

But if the fields are not ready, this tourney is through.

The task at hand, was daunting at best.

My belief in miracles, was put to the test.

When what to my wondering, eyes should appear,

But a volunteer grounds-crew, with rain clearing gear.

With wheelbarrows and pumps, and shovels and rakes,

I said to myself, this crew has what it takes.

More rapid than ever, these ballplayers toiled,

Puddle by puddle, the rainout was spoiled.

They rolled up the sleeves, of their softball shirt.

They filled their buckets and wheelbarrows, with water and dirt.

They pumped, they dug and they raked and it gives me goose bumps to say,

By the end of the hour, field five was ready to play.

The rain clouds even parted, and the sun peeked through.

It smiled and said, I think I will help too.

I will dry out the fields, I will warm up the air.

A miracle I see, is happening down there.

The grumpy old ump, soon began to believe.

He said it was good, the teams didn’t leave.

He said by God, I think that today,

We’re gonna have softball, for people to play.

He pulled out his lawn chair, and sat himself down.

A grizzled old smile, replaced his, don’t-mess-with-me frown.

He barked “Batter-up.” Oh what a sweet call.

Then he said, “Let’s play ball.” To one all.

Now, I know a whole lotta players, had a whole lotta fun.

And I do believe; that what is done is done

But I still think I’ll ask Santa, and all of his reindeer,

If they will bring me a new U.I.C. next year.

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