Welcome to the weekend, Anywhere USA

Take the right off the main drag next to the former Syracuse China plant at 5 p.m. on a Friday night smack dab in the middle of May in Syracuse, N.Y., and a slice of Americana awaits.

Gray skies matter not much.

Park in the middle of the lot and wander off to the right to see a Little League softball game in action.

Batter up.

Batter up.

Does it remind me of the years me wonderful daughter Elisabeth played youth softball and graduated on to school teams out in Morrisville in Madison County? Yes. Yes, it does.

The windup, the pitch.

The windup, the pitch.

Go over to the left instead, and the Eastwood Carnival awaits.

Rides, food and fun await until the end of tonight.

Rides, food and fun await until the end of tonight.

It’s too early for a big crowd, but the operators are getting the big rides ready by pulling the levels and spinning the wheels.

The big Wheel.

The big Wheel.

Not bad, Syracuse. Not bad at all.

Sports game first or carnival first? Have you had a child close to you play a youth sport, and if so, when and which? Where you a quiet spectator or a loud spectator, and how did the other adults around you react to you and the game?

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44 thoughts on “Welcome to the weekend, Anywhere USA

  1. I love an evening at the little league park. My daughter is active in softball and I go see a few of my friends sons play at the boys facility. It is Americana at its finest.

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  2. I love those traveling carnivals. I always look on the ground for a stray cotter pin that might have fallen off a ride. A disaster waiting to happen. But I can’t seem to stay away, Gray skies might not matter much, but you can’t beat blue.

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    • I know what you mean, Mark. Those folks that tighten the last bolt are the unseen heroes, you know? It’s a wonder we don’t read about a tragedy weekly. And you know we would.

      The blue skies, they are a comin’. Has to be. After this winter?

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      • No worries there. During practices though I’ve heard a lot of parents saying, “the coach isn’t doing that right” or “the coach should be doing this instead.” So I fear I’m in danger of being the “You’ve tried complaining, but have you tried volunteering?” parent!

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  3. It’s almost become a family joke, when they send fliers home to sign up for some sort of children’s sports league, and I ask my son if he’d like to join. He’s not even as athletic as my daughter, which isn’t saying much. So, no, never sat through a kid’s sporting event, or actually even been to one since I was a child.

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  4. I was absolutely shocked when my youngest took up tennis and then lacrosse, and I suddenly became a “sports mom.” I barely even knew what lacrosse was, and certainly didn’t know the rules, but I went to every practice and every game and sat there cheering with the rest of the moms. Well, except for that one mom who sat in her minivan watching a DVD at every event. She probably had more sense than the rest of us.

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  5. Soccer. I knew enough about it to know it takes a while for anyone to score a goal. It was my son’s first match. He was 6. I was busy fussing about the snacks/drinks like a typical soccer mom, not paying attention. Two minutes in, cheers erupted all around me. Goal. It was my kid, and I missed it. I never told him. I have photos that I took afterwards, with maybe one of his best smiles ever. ☺

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  6. You know Mark, I used to read National Geographic and for a while there was a short feature (a few pages) in each issue where they took a look a particular zip code. I really enjoyed it as it was very “earthy”. This post has exactly that feel. So often pictures are taken to be seen and that is evident in the composure and subjects. Here your pics feel as if I happened to wander into Syracuse on a cloudy Friday in May and no one knows me and I am just absorbing the feel of the community and its people. I have chosen photos of yours as favorites of mine in the past Mark because of the subject, lighting, composure, technical prowess, motion, perspective, etc. These are a whole level above – all that must be exactly right because I don’t notice any of it – I step through the photo and stand behind the bleachers watching, and in the parking lot looking around. No one is posed and there is “no” composure because it’s just me standing there and no one even notices me.

    In my estimation this is a level of quality that is uncommon Mark and is the epitome of professional photography.

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    • Paul, I have brought you with me to my city at a typical time for a typical moment, and once again you have demonstrated to me of just how attypical you are in your powers of observation and communication. Thank you, my friend, for appreciating the glory in the everyday.

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  7. Fun times Mark! Michaela played slow pitch and had a wicked windmill pitch at a very young age. My shins were bruised quite badly from practicing with her. She also played Field Hockey which was way more fun for me to watch! ❤
    Diana xo

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    • I think Michaela played fast pitch from your description of windmill delivery and bruised shins, Diana? Elisabeth’s teams were fast pitch, and I often thought I would have a hard time hitting those pitchers! Elisabeth played field hocky in junior high, also, which I also attended and cheered on, but I liked the softball games more. To each their own. ❤

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  8. double fun in america. my daughters played soccer when they were young, all fun, no one too serious, including me, though i was witness to some over the top parent interaction –

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  9. Skylar has games Tues. and Thurs. so hope to get off some nights and drive to Ashley, Ohio to see him play. I bet you could hif5 the ball well in Little League and baseball too, Mark.

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    • Enjoy Skylar’s games, if you can make the drive, Robin. Actually, I was not a good hitter in Little League. I didn’t come around until adult slow-pitch softball. 😮

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