Tuesday, April 13, 2010

.500 batter – my softball legacy

Well once again softball season has begun. My wife has been on some kind of a league team for the last 37 years. So every year around this time, I will wander out to watch her play. As you can imagine, my wife is someone who has played the game for so long, she is really good and loves the game. When there were no co-ed leagues my wife was the only woman to play in the men’s league. She quickly proved that she could hold her own on first base with screaming line drives, and field throws rocketing in from the guys.

So given the background, imagine my genuine fear, when my wife’s team came up short on the roster and needs a tenth player to avoid a forfeit tonight? That tenth player does not have to be good, they just need someone – ANYONE, to fill in the spot. Uh, that would be me - ready willing and full of grace, to hold down any spot on the roster. Tonight they had me play right field. The last time I subbed two years prior, when backing up to get a ball, BOTH of my shoes came off and I tripped. I snugged up my shoes this time, though in the back of my mind I worried about my pant’s belt continuously.

Usually to make up for my total lack of hitting ability, I will mock the pitcher by pointing to the sky with my bat or shaking my posterior at them. It is good for comic relief at least for the other team. I figure if I get them off balance I may be able to sneak one by while they’re laughing. No it doesn’t work, but I do it anyway. I usually can hit the ball, but most of the time I will hit foul or somebody will catch my hits. I can run ok ONE TIME, but don’t expect me to go more than one or two bases at a reasonable speed. My wife’s team treats me well regardless of my total lack of sports ability.

Tonight I only got to bat twice and I got one hit (even though I caused someone else to get out). I guess that means I am a .500 hitter and that is not bad in anyone’s book. Of course we lost the game but I had clearly done my part. Yes my wife was 3 for 3 but let’s not dwell on details right now. At the end of the game, like a wayward puppy I was the lone player running out to assume my position in the outfield. I did not know the game had ended and traditionally I should have been lined up ready to slap the opposing team’s hands at the end of the game. Oh well, forget tradition I don’t need a hand slap to know I had fulfilled my legacy, conquered my fear, and kept my shoes on. Clearly I was a 500 batter now and my participation had avoided a forfeit and I had earned the true respect of my peers! Too bad though … no other hopelessly sport- challenged spouses were around so I had no peers to impress.

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