Without a lot of local sports going on, I was going to take the day to transcribe and work on a couple features. It's Spring Break for most Spokane area schools, so weekday games aren't at a premium.
SWX reporter Michelle Dapper informs me there's baseball and softball at Deer Park High School, though, and I start to think about going with her to cover the games. I'm on the fence when I realize Deer Park boys soccer is also playing a home game.
I'm convinced. There is no reason to spend my afternoon sitting in front of a computer when the sun is out.
Michelle and I have made it to Deer Park High School and arbitrarily choose to initially watch softball over baseball. We don't see any soccer game, so assume there was a mistake on the schedule.
Deer Park is up to bat in the bottom of the first and is already in a 4-0 hole to West Valley. The top of the first was not a pretty half inning of softball for the Stags. West Valley finished in third place last season and looks pretty darn good this year, so not the start Deer Park wanted.
After roaming for awhile, I've finally settled on a seat on the grass down the third base line. The small metal bleachers behind home plate that have four rows of seating are almost full and parents have unfolded lawn chairs between the end of the silver benches and the bright blue dugouts down each base line.
Aside from three fans sitting underneath a gigantic umbrella that covers each of them and probably has room for a fourth, I'm the only one sitting beyond the Deer Park dugout on the third base line.
The sun is playing peek-a-boo with the clouds and the temperature change is noticeable, especially with the wind chill. For now, it's a bit chilly.
Meanwhile, Deer Park didn't do itself any favors in its first turn at-bat, going down in order.
That's when I spot the soccer game. It looks like a couple minute walk, at least. I finally decide to go have a look.
I've arrived at the soccer game, where Deer Park is hosting Cheney. It takes almost four minutes to go from the softball field to the soccer pitch.
First, I had to walk through the corner of the dirt parking lot -- two rows deep, but plenty long -- and then a large field. The field was mostly abandoned, with crumpled brown grass, mole hills and holes in the ground. The entire time I was hoping I didn't anger a snake.
There's a chain-link fence around the soccer area that becomes a brick wall when it gets close to a brick building the field is saddled up next to. I wonder what the building is as I pass through the narrow opening in the wall and face a playground. The playground is at the top of a short sloping hill, no wider than six feet with a gentle drop.
The soccer field is about 20 feet from the bottom of the hill, which serves as a lofted seating area for fans, who are mostly parents.
Before I can take my seat at the top of the hill, Cheney scores a goal.
It's only been a few minutes, but it's obvious Deer Park is in trouble. Cheney already has missed wide on a free kick, but responds quickly with a goal.
The ref blows his whistle as a Deer Park player goes to the grass, which is just as much brown as it is green. The foul came in the box and Cheney buries the penalty kick.
I overhear a spectator say the Stags are losing the game, 4-1. After less than 10 minutes watching, I'm not surprised.
The wind starts to pick up some momentum. The corner flags are rippling. The sun is not behind a cloud, but the wind makes it a moot point.
I decide to warm up by walking back to the softball game. By the time I get back to softball, the wind has died down and I'm toasty in my long-sleeve shirt and jeans.
I get back to the field just as West Valley gets the final out of an inning. The team huddles outside the dugout as its coach appears to give some hitting tips. He emulates a swing, pausing at the point of contact. The team then breaks with a cheer -- "Jump on it!"
I decide it's time to check out the baseball game. From my spot on the third base line, I pass the waist-high net outfield fence and then a break in the chain-link fence that leads to the road.
I walk past five high-school aged kids on motorbikes and across the one-lane road that separates the Deer Park Sports Complex from the high school. The high school looks nice from the outside and I see quite a bit of the outside as I circumvent it to get to the baseball field.
It takes me almost 10 minutes to reach the baseball field and the sun has decided to hide behind the clouds during that time. I take a seat down the third base line, which is apparently my new favorite place to take in a game, and can no longer see the soccer or softball fields.
There's actually a scoreboard at this field, so that makes it easier to play catch-up. It's 3-3 and Deer Park is up to bat in the second. I try to watch the game, but I also try not to get run over by the three little kids playing behind me.
The Deer Park left fielder is warming up with a teammate and overthrows him, almost hitting me. I'm suddenly not feeling safe with my seat location.
On a side note, the sun is still behind the clouds and I'm still a bit chilly.
West Valley has broken the game open with a back-to-back doubles to plate four runs. Another couple cross home and the lead is 9-3. Deer Park changes pitchers and I start thinking of heading back to soccer.
As I walk away from the field, I hear a mom yell, "You got it buddy!"
I've made it back to the soccer field. I took a detour to the front of the brick building and found out that it is Deer Park Elementary School. That explains the playground.
It doesn't take longer than a minute to see Cheney score. Or in other words, things have picked up where I left it.
The soccer game isn't quite over, but the score is at least 9-1. Somehow, Michelle has gotten footage of all three games on camera and is ready to go back to the station.
As we climb into the car, we see the softball game has ended. We'll learn later that West Valley topped Deer Park. We exit the parking lot and can see the baseball scoreboard in the distance. West Valley was still winning, 9-3, in the sixth.
We're back at the station. I didn't keep score for one of the games. I didn't write down the rosters. I didn't talk to a coach.
I did watch softball, though. I also took in some soccer and baseball.
And you can bet it beat sitting in front of a computer all afternoon.
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