When my son played t-ball for the first time last year, I was so excited! When it came time for the team to declare a dugout mom, no one stepped forward. I, reluctantly, decided to take on that role. Nothing really prepared me for what was ahead. I've known a dugout mom or two. From my own mother to my sister to friends. I kinda knew what it was all about ... so I thought. Last season proved me so very wrong. I learned that not only do I need to keep the roster in check, but I needed to babysit the kids, make them behave, tend to their scrapes, make sure they drank water, had their glove, wore their hat, shoes were tied and so on. My mind was spinning after each and every game. Then there was the game where the other team decided to say we were cheating! A 5-year-old t-ball team was cheating? It was a simple mix up on the roster, his shirt said one number, but the roster said another. It was inadvertently inverted. I was floored! That same game, they even said we were batting out of order on purpose! So, being the dugout mom, keeping the kids in order was my job. I about cried. They were yelling and blaming without asking what happened. We had a player arrive late (but before his chance to bat), and when they added that player to the end of the roster, the carbon copy paper underneath shifted and the name was placed between two others at the end. Being a first-time dugout mom, I just thought he was supposed to bat in that order (from the sheet that was underneath). Then the blame game started. I was yelled at and had the other team's parents shove their papers in my face saying that was the wrong order. Trying to keep my composure, I went to the score keeper and asked what the problem was. She had the batter at a different position. I showed her my list and she said I needed to go by hers. So, I copied it to a new sheet and now had their correct order. Simple mistake, easily fixed. But that didn't matter to the other team. They wanted justice! By the end of it all I was finally crying. There was no room for error, APPARENTLY, during a t-ball game when it was supposed to be just all fun and games. And, how did that many parents get a roster sheet to fill out on their own? Do they just wastefully hand them out? It wasn't until after the season was over that I realized that I really didn't get to enjoy my son playing his game and my anxiety level was through the roof. I barely saw any of his plays, at bats, etc. I missed them all being the mom the team needed. So, when it came time for the new season to start, I was once again asked to be the dugout mom. Thinking back on last season, and other current situations, I declined. I'm not a quitter, I just know when the job is not right for me. Besides, I wanted to watch the game and take pictures. I wanted to cheer him on from the stands and not have to worry about all the stuff that goes on in the dugout. I didn't want to face the brunt of the wrath the other parents from the other team would force upon me. Shameful? Maybe. But I wanted someone else to handle that this time. I had my fair share of distasteful sportsmanship. That is why I salute YOU, new dugout mom. I salute all the dugout moms and team moms that may have to face this sort of treatment at some point in any sport their child plays. Stand your ground and have courage — that of which I fear I no longer have to play that part — and, before the season gets underway, thank you for taking care of my son in the dugout and all the other kids, too.