Baseball season has begun! No, I'm not talking about MLB.
I'm referring to Little League Baseball! Yes, that sport which has become an integral part of my life and my family's lives for the last twelve years. I've been a parent of a Little League Player, and wife to a Little League Coach. The players have changed since they can only play from age 5 -12, but the Coach hasn't. He has gotten better at this coaching thing though. This year we had plans to only assist with my youngest son's team, but as it often happens, there was a dearth of coaches and the league asked my husband to volunteer. Of course, he said yes. And so another season of practices, strategies, schedules, cleats, a dirt-tracked house, a large amount of baseball paraphernalia, and numerous children has arrived.
This year though I have decided I WILL learn the names of all the players on our team. Usually, I only see them from a distance and then only once a week for part of a game. Since I have three children I haven't been able to be there 100% of the time, for any of them. But I learned something last Fall when I coached my son's Fall Baseball team. (Yes, I know, we really are gluttons for punishment, but it's fun! Really!) I learned that I CAN learn 12 kid's names when I work with them directly. I can't tell you their last names, but hey, this is a huge step for me. I'm terrible at remembering names.
So, as we begin another season, I am endeavoring to learn each of these player's names, and any parent they have hanging around. I see these people in the community, but I can't for the life of me recall any of their names when I do. But in my defense, some of them only show up to drop off and pick up their kids from practice and are doing the same thing I've been doing, shuttling another kid or kids to their events, or in many of the cases in my area. A parent has been deployed and misses part or all of the season.
I know there are tricks to remembering names, repeat the name, etc, but when you have numerous young faces parading through your life and they aren't about to have any long winded conversations with you, unless you coach them of course, it becomes harder to utilize those tricks. And I can never remember the tricks anyway.
We'll see how the season develops and how well I do remembering everyone's name. I think it may help me in keeping track of secondary characters in my writing as well. I tend to remember each child based on a particular feature they have. Perhaps it's their hairstyle, maybe they are short and stout, or tall and thin, or really fast. Each of these traits make them easier to remember and I think they will help me make my secondary characters more memorable as well.
As a last resort, I'll do what I did early last Fall. I kept a cheat sheet in my pocket.