The Heat is On

So last Saturday, I'm back on the ball field coaching my nine year old boy's little league team along with three other fathers. We lose big. Why? Because it was hot. Yes, I know what you're thinking – wasn't it hot for the other team? Stop with the logic, okay?

My team wilted in the fourth inning. In fact, three of the players cried. One missed his mother. I told him the game would be over shortly and she was looking forward to seeing him. He accepted it but struck out anyway.

The right fielder cried after the ball hit his thumb after he booted it. The catcher shed tears when he was called out at first base. Where was Tom Hanks when I needed him?

But above all the heat dominated the game. It was around 90 degrees and the field was dusty. The kids were appalled. They are used to being climate controlled. When it's hot they stay inside, enjoying air conditioning. When it's cold, the house is cozily warm. So when they are forced to play six innings outside on a scorching day, there is much angst.

When I was nine years old, I was hot all the time in the summer. My tiny Levittown house had no air conditioning and I slept upstairs, directly underneath the tar-infested roof. So one August day I had the following dialogue with my father.

"Dad, could we get air conditioning?"

"Why, you have a fan in your room?"

"But the fan just blows the hot air around."

"So don't turn it on."

End of conversation. Later at the dinner table, my father told my sister and I about how hot it was in Brooklyn, where he grew up. At least on Long Island, there was a "sea breeze."

My sister and I looked confused. The ocean was fifteen miles away.

Our dog, a German Shepherd named Barney, was so hot he didn't move for hours, laying supine on the linoleum kitchen floor.

"I think Barney may be dead," I told my parents.

"Don't be a wise guy," my father retorted.

We never did get air conditioning – until I moved out in 1971. THEN two units arrived. I still hold a grudge.

But back to the ball field. We lost the game 12 to 4, but the team didn't really care. They quickly left the diamond for more comfortable precincts. Most of them are really good kids, far smarter than I was at their age. But far softer as well.

America is a place where you can succeed no matter who you are. I am proof of that. But you must work very hard and be willing to endure pain. You must set a goal and win in the marketplace no matter what the air temperature. You must pay the price for success.

These kids don't know that. But they do know two things: first, they don't want to be hot. And second, they don't have to be.

  • genann59

    Little league players in S Texas would find 90 degrees at playing time a joy. All they ask is ice water to drink to keep them cooled off. It gets hot enough down here that most of even the poorest families have at least one AC unit, and often the entire family will sleep in that room during the extreme heat of late summer. I remember one summer in 2005 when I had moved back to Texas from Oklahoma and didn’t have the cash to buy an AC unit and had to endure a 5 day heat wave where the last two days the actual temp was 110, was wondering at times if I would survive. Just kept going in the shower with my clothes on and soaking myself and soaking all the dogs and we survived the heat wave. The last time I laid down the afternoon before the heat wave broke, I actually wondered if I would wake up again. Praise God I did, and my social security check caught up with me soon after that, and the heat wave broke. I was staying in a friend’s empty trailer and they tried to provide an AC unit but the wiring was so bad it kept throwing the circuit breakers. I’m older than OReilly so folks of our generation just get through things like that without panic.

  • Linda Pomeroy

    If such a thing is possible, I would like to get a message to Bill O’Reilly. A while back a question was asked regarding who would be your choice for a dinner guest and Bill was the first person that popped into my brain. Now I hope I remembered this question correctly as my brain is aging. I love being in my 70’s. I certainly hope Bill is around “doing the right thing” for many more years. I love him dearly, even if he does butt in a lot. Sincerely, Linda Pomeroy, Toledo, Ohio.

  • hihoze

    Glad to see Bill out there coaching a team. Got to be a book out of that experience. Parents were the biggest problem. Dramatic whiny kids here and there. Parents & coaches didn’t like our disciplined pee wee team approach before each pitch or my incentives but the kids loved it….especially our “Bucks for Bases” night it certainly put a new spin on the tired old phrase “Swing batta batta Swing!”

  • Wheels55

    The trouble parents have these days is that there is so much for a kid to do inside. Kids aren’t stupid – it’s hot so stay in the A/C. When we were kids, there was nothing to do inside and parents wanted kids outside to get out of their hair for a while. “Go outside and do a good activity” – whatever that meant, it did mean go outside. So, we did and found stuff to do. Kids just need to be protected less and made to play outside where it is hot and they can scrape their knee and get stung by a bee. That is truly what life is – gut it out and try to have fun while you are at it. My generation was softer than my parents generation (the “greatest” generation). After all, I didn’t have to endure a a great recession as a kid followed by a World War with rationing at home.
    So, what will the generation born in the next decade be like?

  • DonaldYoungsRevenge

    This was a wonderful article by Bill O’Reilly, a reminder for me about those days growing up on a 269 A.dairy farm in upstate NY. Nothing stop my friends and I from putting the gloves on the bike handlebars with bat across the front, baseball cards closed pinned to the sprocket for noise, sometimes brother on the handlebars with the gloves, heading out to the hay field freshly cleared of hay to play baseball. In the winter we would leave in the morning with sleds in tow and didn’t come back until the frozen pant cuffs rubbed out legs raw. We didn’t have time for “electronics” even though we never had them. When it came time for bed we were exhausted due to the long play days and farm chores.
    That being said, since I moved south upon retirement I have observed that the kids in the south never think about the heat, it is always there. They have their little league games in all sports in the heat and when they get to high school they have double sessions of practice in the heat. When they get to college double sessions in the heat. There is a different brand of kid living on the other side of the Mason Dixon line.

    • legal eagle

      Those were the days….Bill is keeping Archie Bunker alive for his audience of old white guys…

  • PeterFitzwell

    Bill. Did you remind the kids it was also hot in Iraq & Afghanistan?

    • genann59

      Right on Peter. Our young and some of them not so young, troops in Afghanistan put up with 110 degree heat for days on end, and while they might not like it, consider it part of the job of defending our country and our liberties. And most do not wilt from the heat, they are in good enough physical condition to put up with it, and comfort is something they hope for when and if they manage to survive to get back to the states. God bless everyone of them.