“Stop crying! Crying in sports is bad!”

I don’t watch a lot of films. It was not until this month that I saw two classic sports films. But, watching both in such proximity, I wind up asking, what if both plots could fit in a story…?

Spring 1943:
Pops: I should go work on a farm.
Coach: Okay, go.
Pops: What?
Coach: I’m not tying you down. Go work on a farm if you want to.
Pops: But…if our Knights don’t win, I won’t own any of this squad.
Coach: Right. But is it important, out on a farm?
Pops: Good point. So long!
Coach: So long.
Pops walks out. A guy with a funny bat walks in.
Coach: What’s this, a follow-up co-coach?
Guy: No. I’m Roy Hobbs. I’m your shortstop.
Coach: My shortstop, huh? You still in high school?
Roy: No, sir.
Coach: You got all four limbs?
Roy: That’s right.
Coach: You…black or anything?
Roy: No, sir.
Coach: You…actually a woman?
Roy: No.
Coach: So why don’t you go join our army?
Roy: I got shot.
Coach: In Italy?
Roy: No, sir. Two springs back. Army doctors said I couldn’t go abroad to fight. But I can still play ball.
Coach: Okay, sounds good.

A board room.
Branch: What’s with that Giants guy who said “Oh, I’ll show up?”
Philip: Just trying to falsify his tax data or stuff. Wait. Giants? I don’t know of any Giants in this division.
Branch: Oh, shut up.
Philip: Okay. So what’s up?
Branch: You said that our good old NL is not thriving with our stars out fighting in Japan. So, I think I ought to fix things up. How about this…
Branch puts his hand by his mouth to talk softly.
Philip: Nah. Too radical. But…

A farm.
Pops: Wow, farming sucks.
Dad: I know right?
Pops: Shut up, county podunk.
Dad: Shut up, city punk.
Mom: Good luck, girls!
Pops: What’s up?
Dad: Our girls play softball for our dairy squad.
Pops: Softball. Lulz.
Brrring brrring!
Pops (grabbing it): Hi? No, I’m on a stupid farm far away…right, a farmboy prodigy struck out Jimmy Dugan two springs back, but what good did that do him?…okay, okay.
Pops (to Mom and Dad): So, can I go watch this softball?

Softball “stadium”.
Kit (having struck out): Bah.
Dotty: Stay away from high fastballs.
Kit: Shut up.
Dotty racks up a GWRBI.
Pops: You want to go play ball in Chicago?
Kit: Sounds good!
Dotty: Hah! I know what occurs if guys to and try to play ball in Chicago.
Kit: What occurs?
Dotty: Nothing good.
Kit: Spoilsport. I’ll go!
Pops: No, I just want your sibling. But if you go along, so can you.
Kit: Don’t just stick around this farm always. I want to go away.
Dotty: You’ll just wind up hurt.
Kit: No I won’t.
Dotty: Okay, all right, okay.

As a halfway-good coach on a bad squad, that coach allows Roy to hit right away–things can only turn good. Roy hits with skill, and his Knights start improving.
Coach: That’s a cool bat.
Roy: I know right?
Bump: You took my spot. Boo you.
Roy: Not my fault, is it?

Kit and Dotty go to tryouts and wind up both playing for Rockford, with drunk wash-up Jimmy Dugan coaching.

Dotty: Um, coach?
Dugan drools.
Dotty: Coach?
Dugan spits.
Dotty: Can my son join our squad for road trips?
Dugan’s chin drops down as Dugan sloops down, unconscious.
Dotty: Okay. Sounds good.

A dark room.
Knights boss: What’s with this?
Bump: It’s that Hobbs guy winning too much.
Knights boss: I can’t pay you if you don’t throw anything.
Bump: So what should I do?
Knights boss: Find a way for Hobbs to crash into a wall and fall unconscious. I don’t know.
Bump: Hobbs is a shortstop. Took my spot and all.
Knights boss: So what?
Bump: Shortstops don’t run into walls, you ignorant twit.
Knights boss: I don’t know anything about sports.

Dotty: Okay, our “coach” is out of it, so I will call plays. I touch my lips, you run. Touch my chin, you bunt. Hold my baby, hit-and run. Got that?
Rockford squad: Okay.
Rockford wins a lot.

Giants stadium
Pops: Hobbs?
Roy: What?
Pops: I saw you with Lola last night.
Roy: So what, coach? I’m a grown man. And our big boss said Lola is cool.
Pops: I know. It’s just…that woman is bad luck, okay?
Roy shrugs.

Dugan: Oy, you moron, you should swing away?
Marla: But my sign was “bunt”!
Dugan: I’m your coach! I do your signs?
Marla: No, actually, it’s Dotty who signs.
Dugan: Shut up. I’m going to boss around this squad now.
Dotty: Took you too long!
Dugan: Watch it.
Dotty: That’s right. I watch it. I watch our actual sport as you sit around and do nothing.
Dugan: Okay. Um, that stops now.
Dotty: That’s what you said about your drinking habit, didn’t you?
Ump: Oy. Batta up or what?
Kit: Sorry.

Roy slumps a lot, stopping a hot Knights run.

Philip: Oh, this is Dotty Hinson, huh?
Dotty: Yup. Hi.
Philip: Hi. So, this division is doing poorly. Can you, um, look cool for a photograph so fans will show up?
Kit: Oh, look cool, huh? Having to walk about in stupid uniforms that don’t allow good running still isn’t cool? What do you want? Us to act dumb all day?
Dotty: Kit! Sorry. I’ll try.

Dotty shows off during a catch, and winds up in a popular photograph. Roy, passing through Illinois on a Knights road trip, winds up with a copy.
Roy: Oh my gosh, that’s Dotty Hinson!
Roy, happy, hits a pitch off a clock at Philip’s stadium.
Philip: So now my cool stadium is falling apart. This sucks.

Roy and Dotty find a Chicago bar to catch up in.
Roy: So you play ball, huh?
Dotty: Yup. And you? Why didn’t you call?
Roy: I got shot.
Dotty: What?
Roy: Yup.
Dotty: I’m so sorry.
Roy: It’s cool. I can play again, without having to go fight.
Dotty: All right.

Roy’s form picks up, and his Knights win lots. Rockford, too, wins a lot; Dotty’s photo draws fans into stadium stands (okay, not Philip’s, but so what).

Dugan: I’m pulling you.
Kit: Why? That’s not fair?
Dugan: Um, with only six backups, pitching and non-pitching too, you pitch a lot and your arm is about to fall off?
Kit: I can still pitch.
Dotty: No you can’t.
Kit: Boo. You suck.
Dotty: Kit!

That night:

Dotty: I can’t do this. I can’t stick around.
Philip: But you must!
Dotty: Not with Kit. It’s just too hard.
Philip: I’ll pull a string or two. Stay.

Soon following:

Kit: You suck. I must go play in Normal.
Dugan: Is that a city?
Kit: Normal, Illinois.
Dugan: How about Abnormal, Illinois, with girls playing ball? Durr hurr hurr.
Dotty: Shut up, you misogynistic, chauvinistic sot. Kit, not all that you go through is my fault.
Kit: It is too.
Kit stomps out.

Dugan: Sorry I must say this, but, uh, Horn? Your husband got shot.
Horn: Oh no!
Dotty: You poor thing. I’m so sorry.

That night:

Dugan: Can you try and support Horn? You must know how it is.
Dotty: How what is?
Dugan: Your husband dying.
Dotty: I’m not a widow.
Dugan: But…your son? Your lack of husband?
Dotty: It’s a long story.
Dugan: Now that you bring it up, you don’t mock in subtly flirtatious ways now. What’s up?
Dotty: I saw my son’s dad again. But I don’t think I’m part of his story, now.
Dugan: I’m sorry.
Dotty: It’s okay.
Dugan: So if you won’t stay with him, can I flirt with you now?
Dotty: No, you drunk, obnoxious, twit.
Dugan: Watch your mouth, you show-off, annoying, MVP.
Dotty: Go back to your room, you ridiculous, stupid, idiot.
Dugan: Don’t boss your coach around, you arrogant, stuck-up, farmgirl.
Dotty: This is sort of fun.
Dugan: And it turns your coach on.
Dotty: Okay, go away now.

Rockford and Normal wind up playing for AAGPBL championship #1.

Dotty: I can’t do this. I want to go try and find my son’s dad. A sports championship isn’t as important as family.
Dugan: Is your son’s dad busy right now?
Dotty: Um, sort of. I think. Possibly not as busy in fall.
Dugan: So wait until fall.
Dotty: Good point.

Both squads win two matchups, bringing on a dramatic fifth-try finish. Normal go up 1-0, but Rockford go in front thanks to Dotty’s big hit. Kit bats with two outs and Normal losing.
Dotty: Go with high fastballs!
Kit hits a high fastball to walk off.
Dotty: Oops.
Malamud: Oh my gosh, this squad I was watching for many months lost its big matchup! How cool is that?
Kit: I’m your protagonist, and I won, so that is cool in a…normal way.
Malamud: Oh, shut up.

Kit signs autographs for small girls.
Kit: You gonna play ball as a big girl?
Small girl: No, I’m gonna fight for inclusion in boys’ divisions and fail. My girls will just play softball.
Kit: Oh, okay, that works too. Oh hi.
Dotty: Hi.
Kit: So…sorry about stuff.
Dotty: It’s okay.
Kit: Okay, cool.
Dotty: Cool.

With his Knights about to clinch, an angry Knights boss poisons Roy, who winds up in a hospital as Bump throws a bunch of important must-wins. That boss visits Roy.

Boss: I brought you a bunch of cash. Now don’t play.
Roy: Oh cool, a guy thinks I’m so fit I could actually play! Thank you!
Boss: Shut up.

Dotty visits Roy too.

Roy: I want to play tomorrow.
Dotty: Is that okay?
Roy: I don’t know. It could strain my wound. But I want to try.
Dotty: Sports is so important to you, isn’t it. As important as family?
Roy: What has family got to do with anything?
Dotty: Um…nothing. Good luck if you do play.

Roy visits his boss.
Roy: I don’t want your cash.
Boss: Ah, nuts. Shoot you!
Lola: But boss, Roy is kinda good-looking.
Roy runs for it.

With his Knights losing 2-0 with two outs, Roy fouls a pitch off to hurt his big boss, and fouls off a pitch again but his bat cracks.

Roy: Oh, snap, that was my good bat.
Dotty: Try this!
Dotty hands him Dotty’s AAGPBL bat.
Roy: Worth a shot.
Roy hits a shot up into lighting for a Knights victory
Philip: Stop ruining all our ballparks!

Roy, Dotty, and Dotty’s son (actually Roy’s too), go work on a farm. Kit thinks this is a stupid plan, and sticks with playing ball.

My Shadow

My tiny or big shadow walks around and in or out
And I do not know, and cannot find out, what it is about.
It is similar to my body, from foot right up to hair,
It follows all my jumping, with two hands to match my pair.

And what is truly funny about it is how it will grow,
Not at all as normal kids do, which is always oh so slow.
For my shadow might shoot up tall, as if it’s a bouncing ball
But it also might stay tiny, as if it’s nothing at all.

It hasn’t got a notion of how us kids ought to play
And it only will do foolish things in any sort of way.
It fights back if I punch at it, but it’s not strong or hairy,
It won’t go far away; I think it finds all things too scary.

It was an odd hour of a morning, not past sunup.
I was pouring a bag of dog food out for my small pup.
But my shadow didn’t join this trip, it thought that it was boring.
It has to catch a lot of Z’s; I’m glad that it’s not snoring!

The keys

…of four albums I have sheet music versions of.

For non-musicians, pretty much all (well, Western) sheet music is written in a particular “key”–basically the set of notes that you’ll most likely be using in a song. All things being equal (and all things are never equal), the fewer “accidentals” piano music has, the easier it is to play–so zero accidentals are relatively easiest, one and two are decent, three and four are getting trickier, and nobody wants to deal with five or six.

This is a graph of four sets of piano songs, from beginning to end. Songs that change keys in the middle of the piece are marked accordingly, but this is not to scale at all–if I show a key change halfway through a piece, it might not actually be halfway–it’s just that the song’s in two different keys.

There are a couple spots when the graph goes horizontal in the middle of a song. That’s because there was a change from (say) one flat to one sharp (they’re equally difficult on average, but it’s still a change worth marking).

Yes, the fourth songs in each of these books all begin with four accidentals.

Click once or twice for larger size, I uploaded a big version.

Scatterplot (line graph)