Saturday, May 17, 2008

I Was Supposed To Be the Bench Warmer

What's the best medicine for feeling ignorant and inept? Why, softball of course!

As I mentioned earlier, I've been on a learning curve that gives the Cyclone a run for its roller coaster money. Yesterday proved to be no exception with a few successes but at the end of the day a nice tidy screw up to heap on the humility pile.

I'm fuming at myself for omitting a critical piece of information that my boss had to track down as I'm driving to Friday night's supposed diversion -- a softball game.

I haven't played softball in 20 years. And when I did, I was there strictly to round out the team so they wouldn't have to forfeit. I know the positions that person plays -- catcher or right field. I have no delusions of grandeur. I breathe, I can squat or stand with no problem, and I like to have fun.

Silly me! Who knew I was joining the Cutthroat League? I do have the satisfaction of knowing that I won the first game for them. If I and another woman (who wanted to be there slightly more than me but that was only because she was married to one of the guys) hadn't been there they wouldn't have been able to get the forfeit from the team that didn't have enough women.

My MIS (man-I'm-seeing, because at our ages, he's not my boyfriend) is the pitcher and he's seriously into playing this game. He's also the sort of coach, though another guy has the title. AND THAT GUY PUT ME ON SECOND!!!

People like me do not play the infield! I was actually heading to right when he said, "You're at second."

Aghast, I looked at him questioningly. He returned with the look of "I'm in charge, don't question me." So I headed to second -- which of course was wrong.

My MIS pointed to the spot away from second that I was to be stationed. He then assured me that the team would "look out for me" and then I heard the chatter as the men and women at first, short and third began to plot how they would compensate for the hole (that would be me).

The forfeiting team wanted to scrimmage and wound up being lots more fun than my team. I'm told that it was because they were so good and winning that they were laughing and teasing me. I think the beer they'd smuggled in might have had something to do with it.

My team wasn't evil. They were just focused. They "coached" each other after a bad play. They kicked at themselves after a bad play. Most of them shared "one of the main things you need to remember about softball" with me and of course, none of those things were the same. I was being told when to hang back, when to move left, when to move right, what base to over run, what base I couldn't, where to hold my bat and hundred other things.

I also got yelled at. Seems standing in the way of a center fielder who's barreling a ball at several miles per hour in your direction when he really means to be getting it to short is not a good idea.

Neither is catching with you bare hand but I'd done that by this time so what more could I lose? (By the way, the term "softball" is a mistake. It's not and I have the bruise to prove it.)

By the time the third inning of the real game we played came around I had determined I was experiencing the levels of hell, that the 7th inning stretch would have a whole new meaning to me as I recalled my own experience with Dante's Inferno.

By the fourth inning I was trying not to tear up as the MIS asked me yet again if I was ok. Deciding his pleasure at playing this so-called game was greater than my pain, I informed him my hand hurt and that I was enduring the experience but I didn't go into any details. Didn't have to. He saw the tears forming.

Eventually my nightmare ended. Only after, though, the final inning when it had been announced we could still win if we got four runs. Two were already accomplished by the time I was warming up. The guy ahead of me was a hotshot and I was silently chanting/praying/whatever to the powers that be that he not show off and make an out (which would have been the second). BUT NOOOOOOOOO! He stayed true to form, got out and I walked to the plate knowing I'd be the third.

I did not disappoint.

Later, the MIS remarked that I did great, they were grateful for me coming, and I would REALLY enjoy it next time.

That's when I informed him there would be no next time.

I know sports are a joy for some. But unless I'm laughing at myself (which I couldn't do with this crowd) sports has never been my joy spot.

Still isn't.

I wonder if there's a competitive laughing team I can get on?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Karen, Karen, Karen, have I taught you nothing in all these years...Softball ain't for wimps and you have a glove for a REASON!