I don't think that Homeland Security is involved with Little League, but on Saturday it sure felt that way. We signed up my 13 year old for what I hope was Spring softball; but given the extensive security screening, one of us may now be part of the Secret Service.
Our adventure began innocently enough at a table in our small town's elementary school gym where I was asked to present my daughter's birth certificate. Oh, snap, I had forgotten to bring it, but I assured them that my girl had indeed been born and the evidence was standing right next to me in her Converse shoes and sweats. (Since she'd played softball last year, thankfully the certificate was still on file. I was quite relieved--I'd hate to have to show them my C-section scar and stretch marks to prove a point.) Next, I was instructed to hand over my driver's license. Wow, carded by the Little League board! I told them how flattering it was to be mistaken for a teenage softball player, but that I was not the one who was going to be playing, only watching. But according to the LL authorities, I had to prove that I also had been born, or at the very least, that I was a resident of our county. The license was taken to a top secret area where it was photo-copied, or fingerprinted or scanned by the FBI or Secret Service or something and then returned.
The next step involved providing our address--no problem there. We're not in the witness protection program (yet) and I do remember where we live. After passing that test, I was given a small copy of a map of our county on which I was instructed to locate and circle the exact location of our home. As a 40-something who is in major denial about my failing eyesight, I couldn't even see the lines on the map, much less find my street. And since I had no idea I was going to be required to have microscopic vision that day I hadn't brought my special secret spy gear. . . er. . . $2 Wal-mart reading glasses. So to cover all our bases (pun intended) I drew a really large circle (probably at least a 30 mile radius) in an area on the map I thought was reasonably close to the location of our home. I'm not sure why, but apparently all of this must have something to do with national security or global warming or whether my daughter can hit a softball or not, at least in this county.
On to the uniform fitting station. While we were deciding upon the appropriate sizes, someone else approached me and asked for my driver's license, again. I thanked them (again) for mistaking me for a teenager, and begrudgingly handed the license over, explaining that I'd already proven my existence earlier, and drawn my circle and that I was still only going to be a spectator. Somehow the copies they'd made earlier had already disappeared they said, and they needed to make more. Disappeared. . . yes. . . disappeared. . . They were probably half way to Washington by now. Signing up for LL this time had more security checks than when my husband and I went to see the President in Atlanta a few years ago. Could I really look that suspicious? Has someone on the LL board read my blog and discovered that I once harbored a fugitive baby white owl named Bird Reynolds? Was I being featured on "Punk'd"? Was I a punk? Was Friendly somehow involved? These questions and more have yet to be answered, but after paying the required fee, we were allowed to leave the premises. It was then that we noticed the number on her jersey--007. Hmmm.
(Just kidding about the 007 part ;-)