Friday, March 7, 2014

BSC # 20: Kristy and the Walking Disaster

By Ann M. Martin. Published January 1989.

I always thought the gray background was strange.
But I guess they didn't want to go too girly on this one.
Kristy is watching her little brothers, sister, and a few neighborhood kids try and play softball. They’re pretty pathetic, but she tries to give them some pointers. Then she asks them why they don’t play Little League or t-ball. They’re mainly either too young or too embarrassed.

Then Amanda Delany asks her if she knows Bart Taylor. He apparently has a team of kids from around the neighborhood. She doesn’t, but decides she’ll walk past his house, and maybe talk to him. When she does, there’s a total hottie outside, who turns out to be Bart. Kristy says she has six kids looking for a team, but Bart can’t take that many, and his kids are a little older. So Kristy has the idea to start her own team.

She also has a Gigantic Crush on Bart.

She tells the other girls in the BSC, and they spread the word among their regular charges. There ends up being twenty kids in all who are interested. The average age is 5.8. After some help from Watson (I think it’s nice they bond over this) Kristy secures the field at the elementary school twice a week for practices.

They have their first practice, and for the most part, they’re a hot mess. But everyone has a good time. And they decide their name will be Kristy’s Krushers.

While Claudia and Mal are sitting for the Pikes, four of the Krushers play the Pike triplets. They actually play well enough to impress the triplets, who are in Little League, and they never give up. Kristy is super proud when she hears this.

Kristy takes Shannon (the dog) for a walk, as an excuse to go by Bart’s house. But she runs into him before she gets there. Bart comes up with idea for his Bashers to play the Krushers in two weeks. Kristy agrees, and she still has a crush on him.

I haven’t mentioned the Walking Disaster yet. That’s because Jackie isn’t really that much of a problem. Sure he falls down a lot, he’s always a mess, and he does break a school window, but I don’t really think he’s the main focus here.

Bart brings a few of his kids to a Krushers practice to scope them out. While a couple of them distract Bart, the others are assholes. They call Jake Kuhn a fatso, laugh at Jackie, and call Matt a dummy. Haley, who is a cheerleader along with Vanessa and Charlotte, is having none of that shit. She stands up for her brother, and says she’ll rearrange that kid’s face. It’s pretty awesome. Kristy thinks if Bart can’t control his team, he shouldn’t be coaching.

At the last practice before the game, the Krushers have a great practice, and Kristy is feeling pretty good. Bart shows up, and wants to walk Kristy home. Awww, yeah. But it’s kind of awkward. Bart is impressed with how far the Krushers have come, but after he says that, they just walk along in silence. Oh well.

The morning of the game, Kristy is inundated with phone calls from various players, worrying about different things. Jackie calls five times. Kristy herself is freaking out over things for the refreshment stand, but her mom and older brothers have that taken care of. Then she really does have something to worry about. Mallory calls and tells her Nicky, her starting pitcher, is sick, and can’t play. She has to go with her back up, David Michael.

The kids are excited when they first get to the field, Jackie’s even looking good. Then the Bashers arrive, and intimidate the Krushers with their shirts and hats, and cheerleaders with better uniforms.

The game begins, and it’s actually a bit boring at first. Until Claire throws a tantrum. And then the Krushers get three runs, and they’re super proud of themselves. At the end of the inning it’s 6-3, Bashers.

Jackie is on deck to bat, and he tests out the weight of bats, and then lets one fly into the refreshment table. So maybe he is a bit of a disaster. After he strikes out, he gets embarrassed, and fakes an injury. Kristy calls him on his shit right away, though, and he goes back in.

At the end of the fourth inning, it’s 10-6, Bashers. They call for a fourth inning stretch, because they’re only playing seven. The kids are all feeling really good, and Kristy even hears a Basher say something complimentary about the Krushers.

When the game is over, the final score is 16-11, Bashers. The kids are really proud of themselves, and Kristy is proud of them, too.

Bart wants to walk home with Kristy, and she readily agrees. This time around goes much better. They talk about the game, of course, and Bart even apologizes for his kids being assholes. And then Bart asks for another game, on the condition that in between games, the two of them be more than rival coaches, like friends. And maybe even go out sometime.

Oh yeah. Get you some, Kristy!

o   Seriously, who lets four-year-olds just walk around the neighborhood and go over to somebody’s house by themselves? Jamie and Nina’s parents, apparently.

o   I was always with Karen on the argument of using a “C” or a “K for Krushers. Do it right! But I don’t think she should have made her shirt different.

o   I actually think it’s funny that Claire throws baseball-only tantrums, even when watching on TV. I do the same with football.

o   This line sucks: “My jumbled team of boys and girls, tiny kids and big kids (well, fatsos)…” That seems unnecessarily cruel, and out-of-character for Kristy.

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