Natitude (or "H-H-Hot Dogs and M-M-Mermaids")

I took the kids to a Washington Nationals baseball game last week. The Nationals have "Natitude" this year, I discovered from advertisements in the Metro trains and on the sides of businesses. Professional sports teams get clever slogans when they're good, and the Nats are in first place. When teams suck, they don't get slogans. I think this is because it's hard to hang a catchy slogan on a crappy team.  Slogans like, "Last Place and Lovin' It," or "Your Woeful Hometown Losers," or "Sometimes We Catch the Ball, Sometimes We Don't," just aren't really feasible outside of Seattle.

Ready for a grounder. Or a hot dog.
The kids liked the game, more or less. We sat in left field, almost directly behind the foul pole. Home plate was quite a ways away, and it was hard to tell which direction the ball traveled off the bat. But the jumbotron was fun, especially when it showed people doing stupid things, which makes the jumbotron a lot like a house window in California -- just look through it and you'll see someone doing something stupid.

Halen particularly likes baseball. He played Little League baseball for the first time this summer. His team name was the Sea Dogs. I suppose the league organizers thought that since there are sea horses and sea lions and sea stars that Sea Dogs would be an equally awesome name. They were wrong. It's kind of a dumb name. While "sea horse" makes you think of a delicate marine creature, "sea lion" makes you think of a fun sea lion show at Sea World, and "sea star" makes you think of colorful reef life, "Sea Dog" just makes you think of a wet dog pooping on the beach.

Once we played a team called the "Hot Rods." Their coach was stupid. Probably from California. During the game he started referring to our team as the "Mermaids," which I thought was kind of a counterproductive thing to do for the coach of a team in a beginner's league with the primary purpose of teaching sportsmanship. And it just reinforced my theory that "sportsmanship" is just a ruse that people use to make themselves feel good about spending all sorts of time and money shoving their kids through sports leagues and camps. At the end of the day, it's not about sportsmanship like everyone says -- it's about kicking the trash out of the other team. It just is. I mean, you can argue with me, but I'm rarely ever wrong, except when it comes to things like "correct information."

Anyhow, so when this guy and his team started calling us the "Mermaids," we started calling them the "Hot Dogs," which I thought was more clever than their pejorative nickname for us. At the end of the day, they smeared us pretty good, but at least we took it like true sportsmen -- by sulking and crying.