Ah! The scent of chlorine-permeated hair blowing in the wind, the pungent odor of sweaty bodies, and the cloying coconut scent of tanning lotion are part of summer. But now those joyous months are a blur in our rearview mirrors as we launch into fall and all the ways people, athletes, in particular, manage to get grubby.

It is October and baseball division playoffs are in full swing. We cheer for our favorite teams, hoping they reach the ultimate baseball pinnacle known as World Series Champions. But, have you noticed all the ways the boys of summer manage to get down and dirty, and wallow in germs?

Ask any mother of a Little Leaguer or a softball player “What do you dread the most?” and they will reply “Trying to get the grass stains and dirt out of the uniforms.” What? Don’t they worry about a hit with a bat or ball on little Herman or Harriet’s skull? Of course, they do. However, for harried and perfectionist mothers the process of getting out grass stains and ground in dirt ranks right up there on the sixth rung of Hell.

We watch the pitcher pick up the rosin bag from the mound and toss it in his hands. Then he messes with his hat (sometimes he removes his cap and runs his fingers through sweaty, long hair), adjusts his crotch essentials, licks his fingers and pitches. This viewer shrieks, “Ewe, Germs!”

Often players must dive to make catches. They skid in the dirt flopping on their bellies as if they were on a child’s Slip-n-Slide without the lubricating benefit of water flowing on the plastic slide.

Throughout the game, players spit on the ground, wipe sweat and other bodily fluids on their sleeves, then roll around on the spit covered ground with wild abandon. Pity the laundry engineer charged with cleaning all the stains and muck off their uniforms. We sure hope they get paid well for a thankless job.

Adding to the joys of clean up drudgery, if the home team wins, someone will get a sticky Gatorade shower. Pity the cleanup crew who must make the field presentable and cleans up the spit, snot, and other fluids from the ground.

Whether we watch baseball, hockey or basketball, there will always be a camera person who feels compelled to share the pore-enhancing closeups of flying snot or spittle or waterfalls of sweat streaming off the basketball players’ bodies.

Of course, we cannot speak for the majority of viewers, but if we happen to pop a bite of food in our mouths, there could be a problem. Camera operators think nothing of invading the personal space of players just to chronicle various fluid emissions. As a result, the viewers’ inclination to spew rather than swallow could make watching sports a messy business.

Baseball players have a large field at their disposal for all the spitting, etc. But the dugout is an enclosed area and the accumulation of unmentionable stuff tossed must leave a nasty mess. Hockey players also sit in a relatively small area, and their spitting and nasal emissions are jaw-dropping to behold. In both situations, most of the emissions are on tape and saved for posterity.

If you read this column with any regularity, you know this writer dislikes dirt and germs. From personal observation, males tend to tolerate the unwashed status better than females. It is not uncommon to hear the words “you’re such a boy” pass these lips. Unbunch your boxers and relax because this writer means no offense, just stating facts.

For example, our son is on a temporary assignment that requires living in a tent. He enjoys the outdoors, therefore what would be a hardship for some is fun for him. His mother remarked that living in a tent was yucky. To which the son replied “I love it! And, I can be filthy when I go to bed. Haha.”



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