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Monday, July 18, 2005

Softball Diaries (Day 36)

Dear Diary,

I hate to open every entry with an apology for not having written sooner, but a lot has happened in my life since the last time I wrote to you, and as much as I enjoy playing softball (and writing on your handsome, non-judgemental pages) the distractions have simply been too overwhelming to allow my keeping steady correspondence. But what's the point in dwelling on the past, right? Onwards and upwards!

Yesterday we headed into a double header in Scarborough, riding a dubious wave of momentum (0-5 or something like that). But something in the air told me we wouldn't lose both games that afternoon; something electric, something tangible, something very real--or maybe it was just the 100% humidity and Toronto smog...I don't really know, but something *was* in the air. Honest.

We arrived at the park to find a rain-soaked field that was in *rough* shape. There were puddles everywhere and the entire in-field was a quagmire. The other team had just finished playing another game, and it was clear they were already conditioned to the mud and dirt. This conditioning allowed them to outplay us in the first couple of innings. By the 4th inning, our fielders started catching on to the topography of the messy field, and our hitters figured out where to place the ball. But by then, it was already too little too late, and despite a valiant effort, we lost the first game.

After devos and a bench-move, we brushed off the first game and turned our attention to the second game of our double-header against a team called the Blessings. Playing shorthanded with only 9 players to our 22, they definitely looked like a blessing to our weary band. In softball you take what you can get, and if that means beating an understaffed team with an injured captain, so be it.

We shot out of the gates like diarrhea victims dashing for the nearest toilet and got off to a quick lead. Things were looking up. But after a few innings, including two where we traded back to back mercies (7 run maximum), the Blessings got into the groove of things and looked like they weren't going to just roll over like diarrhea victims after dashing for the nearest toilet and finding it locked (okay look, I'm not good with similes, so you'll just have to deal with it, okay? Thank you.). We played to a tie after seven innings and were presented with the option to play a tie-breaker 8th inning. I took a quick look at the batting order and realized that I was up 3rd to bat should we decide to go for the win. My performance yesterday (I struck out in the first game, and earlier in the second one I grounded out) wasn't stellar and I hoped against hope that we would be satisfied with the tie (hey, it's better than what we've been getting so far this summer). But alas, the team thought otherwise, and after some inspiring pep talk ("Dave man, if you have anything, now's the time to let it out. No, I'm serious.") the tie-breaker started.

The first batter for us popped out, and the second grounded out. Uh oh. The average number of runs scored per inning in these games is somewhere between 2 to 4. With no runs, 2 outs, and the other team batting next, the atmosphere in the dugout was getting real tense real fast. I walked up to the plate with only one goal to get on base. I took a few deep breaths, recentred myself, and found my happy place. I was ready to go. I got my "killer stance" out and started waiting for the ball, my eye very much on the tiger. Then from behind me someone whispered, "uh...homeplate is back here man." It was the ump. I was standing three feet away from homeplate. Crap.

After that minor setback, I was a bit shaken up. My happy place was nowhere to be found, and my chakra--I don't even believe in any of this stuff!--felt like it was all over the place. The pitch came. I closed my eyes and swung...and...crack! I had made contact, but it was a terrible hit. I let out an exasperated sigh when I realized we were probably going to bow out once again. But wait...what was this? The ball landed in a puddle, and the opposing infielders had to waste precious time fishing it out--w00t! I ran like a sissy being chased by jocks at recess and got safely to first base :)

The next batter made good on the pitch and hit a solid one to the left rover. I threw caution to the wind and ran with febrile abandon. Alas, such feverish momentum prevented me from stopping in time, and I flew over second base. When I came to, I realized I wasn't touching the bag and crawled on all fours to stay safe. I stretched as far as I could, reached for the bag, and...got a face full of leather. I was out--in more ways than one. Let's just say I had a strong taste of iron in my mouth. My season, Dearest Diary, ended with a bitch-slap to the face. See you next spring.


Your Favorite Jerk


P.S.
The other team didn't do much better than us when they went up to bat, so we managed to eek out a tie game! Woooooohoooooo!!!! Good job, everyone on defense!

2 Comments:

At Monday, July 18, 2005 10:13:00 PM, Blogger Ames said...

Dude, the season isn't over yet - You still have one more game you can play! And how can you keep your eye on the ball if you close them while you are swinging?! man, you need more batting practice... :P

 
At Tuesday, July 19, 2005 12:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave,

it was inspiring to know that you bled for your team's tie. that's the kinda guy i know you to be. you didn't want the freebie tie, you wanted to pay for it with your own blood. musta been the devos.

phil

 

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