So about a month ago someone approached me and asked if I wanted to play softball. I didn’t put too much thought into it before agreeing to meet once I got a glove.
While this may not sound like a big deal -I should probably interject a little background. I am 26. I have never played sports. I actively run from balls being thrown at me. I played a few rounds of volleyball a few years ago. I nearly broke my thumb at one of those games. I have never held a bat. Never thrown a ball (except to the dog) and have never been interested in how the game works. In short? I am a rookie that knows nothing about the game except what my mind tells me: Which is to run from the ball.
The first game I went to the coach told me I would just sit out and he would explain the rules as it went along. I sighed relief and took my position as bench warmer. That I could handle. Not two minutes later he called my name “You! Over there!” apparently the other team was short a player so figuring he wouldn’t be losing much -he farmed me out to the other team. My first time ever holding a bat. My first time ever swinging at a ball. My first time ever running bases. I hit the ball. Ran the bases. Scored a point. For the opposing team.
I went home later that night and googled everything I could on softball.
Two days later we met for practice where I would spend an hour learning the rules of the game and having it drilled into my head “Run TO the ball” -after 26 years of running FROM a ball I was now trying to retrain my mind to run TO the ball. I was also trying to learn how to catch the ball, keep the ball from smacking me in the face and who to throw said ball to. We only covered about ½ the positions, but at the end he told me I had a great throwing arm and had potential. I assumed that was a good thing, because I really didn’t understand the other softball terms that were being tossed around.
I couldn’t walk right for a week. My hand turned blue and purple -because I had to learn the hard way that you do not catch a ball without a glove. I couldn’t lift anything for days.
…and then I went out of two for two weeks and missed out on a game and practice.
Last week was our third game, and my second.
We were short two players which meant that instead of playing outfield -I was put as catcher.
I will let that sink in for a moment.
Catcher. Perhaps the most dangerous place ever. No one explained the rules to me. No one told me what to do. There was no time for that. They simply said “Crouch there…” Right behind the bat. Right in the line of the ball. Right in the line of fire. Oy.
Last night I managed to hit the ball twice. We lost by one point. But from what I hear -we did a really good job as a whole. Considering the opposing team had all their players (and some really good ones at that) and the empire apparently took two points off our game.
I really don’t know why or how or any of that…I am still trying to understand the rules, the game and the ball. I still find myself cheering on the opposing team and only manage to catch the ball about ¼ of the time. But when the bat hits the ball, something about the cracking noise sends my legs flying as fast as they possibly can. To where? I am really not sure. I just run. Then run again. Then run again. And hope for the best.
There were more people in the dug out that belonged to me than the team last night -99% of the fam was there, cheering me own, squawking out random bits of encouragement to me and the other players. Grinning like bafoons right along side me as I stood at first base after hitting a squiggly ball that gave me enough time to run.
If nothing else, it will be an interesting summer with lots of flying balls -and at the end, at least I will be able to throw the ball for the dog a little further than normal…now if only she could throw them to me so I could work on my catching!
Amanda and her fam are in town for a few months and as a result she took a few…pictures. Of course she didn’t catch me hitting the ball or running like a fool…her pictures are probably the most accurate representation of what I look like 98% of the time.
Not so pro tip: Do NOT catch a ball with the hand that doesn’t have a glove. Don’t ask me how I know, just don’t do it:
Wait, where did it go?
What am I looking at? The ball that is not?
Yay! I caught it…oh, wait, no I didn’t.
For the record I DID catch a few balls, and did manage to score the team a point…I think.
Thankfully the team is really low key -and everyone is just as happy to hit the ball as they are to make a home run. Not that I would know -we haven’t exactly had any home runs. But still!