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Economic slump not reflected by crowds at mall

By: Tony Overbay, humor columnist
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Open the paper or watch the news this Christmas season and all you'll see are stories about the slumping economy. Try to park at the mall and you'll wonder why these people aren't reading the paper or watching the news! There's a phrase that says, “One man's meat is another man's poison.” I'll be honest, I'd stay away from that meat but I do understand the sentiment. Thanks to the down economy, I found Webkinz on sale 2 for 1, and for my kids, that equals a very, Merry Christmas. My wife and I, however, are using the down economy as good reason not to spend money on each other. Overall, we feel we have everything we need, she'll still find a box of See's Candy in her stocking (or else I'll be sleeping on the couch Christmas night) and I expect a bag of Rolo's in mine, one of her favorite candies...hey wait, I've never put that together! But ultimately, my gift came early this year. On Dec. 6, I walked into the Lincoln Community Center, head held high, check in hand, and signed my youngest up for t-ball. Not only did I sign him up but I also filled out the coach's packet. I've dreamt of this event since the day my wife first threw up an Oreo shake some 12 years ago, the first sign of her pregnancy, and the last Oreo shake I had for several years. Not to worry, I’ve long since made up for that multi-year Oreo shake drought. A girl hadn't been born into the Overbay line in nearly 80 years so it was a given that my wife would soon give birth to a future major leaguer. Imagine my joy as the doctor said, “It's a girl!” A girl who eventually discovered that traditional sports just wasn’t her passion. Sure, we tried soccer, not my favorite, but there I was wearing baggy short and shin guards, whistle in hand trying to coach her but she quickly realized chasing a ball around a field wasn’t her idea of fun. My daughter eventually found her niche and is an amazing runner, piano player and writer. Pregnancy number two and surprise, it’s a girl! More shin guards, more soccer and eventually more piano and running. Daughter number two is winning races in her age group. I couldn’t be more proud but still no baseball. Another pregnancy and another girl. This one loves art and dancing and is truly a joy to be around. But again, no baseball. By the time my wife was pregnant with number four, I was ready for another daughter. We had kept clothes and toys. I was thinking with my wallet and not with my baseball mitt. And just when I thought my dream had died, I got my boy. And now comes the pressure. He’s 4, soon to be 5, and as his coach, I’m already unsure of whether to bat him first, because of his blinding speed, or 4th, a natural cleanup man. What college should he grace with his athletic presence? Or should he just go straight to the Big Leagues? Hang on, I’ll be right back. I have to help him tie his shoe. OK, maybe I’m jumping ahead just a bit. And in my first bit of trying to make good with all the baseball types, I promised I’d make the announcement that the last day of signups are from 1 to 5 p.m., Jan. 3 at the Lincoln Community Center. So does the economy have you down? Not sure what to get for Christmas? Do you want a gift that keeps on giving…from February through June to be exact? Sign your kids up for Lincoln Little League, and consider it an investment. When my son signs his first $10-million-a-year contract in the summer of 2022, down economy or not, I think we’ll be doing OK! Merry Christmas, everyone! Tony Overbay is a marriage and family therapist intern, a father of four and a resident of Lincoln for more than 15 years. You can find more of his writings at www.tonyoverbay.com.