For a while now, my friends Jaclyn and Mike have been trying to convince me to play softball with them. After 9 months of avoiding the question with such excuses as “I have old man knees” and “well, it’s just not cricket is it?” I finally gave in last night.
I played for the Scared Hitless team (which I initially thought said Scared Hitlers and was quite confused by the name) who were seeded last in the league and were thus playing the top of the league – who are undefeated – in the playoffs. Coupled to this, our team were missing 7 of our usual 10 players, meaning we had myself and two other people who have never played softball before. It is little exaggeration to say the other team were like:
… and we were like:
We even looked like what I would call a ‘village team’, as only four of our co-ed team had the team jersey on and I managed to wear my Denver Broncos top – just to get across mixed sport messages.
The thing I found most difficult was catching with the glove (on your left or non-throwing hand) as I’m used to using both hands from cricket. Fortunately my team refused as they didn’t want to deal with broken fingers.
I (and we) actually did ok. I got told off once for blocking one of the runners running between bases (I had my back turned so had no idea I was even in the way!), and at one point heard somebody shout ‘back’ (they actually said bag), and I stopped just before reaching home base, so almost screwed that up, but I did get a catch, an out (on 2nd base – pun intended) and make it round to home base twice so wasn’t a massive burden to the team.
The best bit was, the league has a rule that if one team is destroying another (e.g. 20 to 0 after 20 minutes), the umpires will call the game early to save embarrassment. But after 4 innings each, we were winning 5-4. Nobody quite understood how this had happened, especially the really good team who seemed quite annoyed that a bunch of randomers were winning. They then brought there A-game and ended up winning 15-8 after 6 innings each just before time ran out, but this is apparently very respectable against a far better team when half of your team thought you were playing basketball not softball (I made this pun last night and nobody thought it was funny 😦
We were so happy at not being crushed, we went out after for post-match beers.
My favorite bit though has to be when a batter on the other team hit the ball behind him over the safety fence. Another teammate of his near me commented “you hit it the wrong way” to which I countered “he should have hit it over the other fence” (a home run – what you are supposed to do – I think). The guy then said “yea, ha! Who does he think he is, a Mets batter?” which I am assuming is a baseball joke, though I just did what anyone would and laughed nervously whilst nodding.