For those that have known me for last six years or so, my obsession with softball is nothing new. I love this game so much so that holy spirits have been taking a back seat from early Spring till late Fall for the last couple years (thanks to a dear someone who solved the mystery behind my last season’s slump) and my body is put through a not-so-rigorous yet unusual work out sessions. This Spring was no different – having moved to the East Coast for work, I had to find a new team to play with. I saw a flier advertising the local Softball Club during my first visit to the Fitness Center at work place and a staff member even charted out a detailed plan to improve my throwing / hitting skills. Dear Bucky even sent a glorious recommendation letter to the league mentioned in the flier:
Weeks and even months passed waiting for The Call and finally when I had given up any remaining hopes of playing at all for the season, I heard a kind-hearted gentleman speak to someone enthusiastically about a softball in the work-place cafeteria. Needless to say, I had to poke my nose (shamelessly) in his conversation to check if he knew of any league/team that was looking for players; and true to his words, he sent an email to the league the same day.
Game #1 – NVA Nads Vs Stray Macs: Following the league’s website, I realized there was a game scheduled in Middletown the same evening. Figuring it wouldn’t hurt to watch the game, I showed up and acted as a catcher during batting practice. Little did I know, one of the teams, was short of players and were happy to recruit me. My batting was pretty bad (2/3 with no RBI) and fielding (starting at 3B and finishing at 2B) left a lot to be desired. NVA Nads beat us pretty bad (17-8). May I could blame it all on the work-clothes I was playing in and the lack of play-time for almost 10 months?
Game #2 – MRT Vs Stray Macs: Having dressed up in sports-clothes, I had no excuse to play bad in this game. Our dear manager put me up in a some what familiar spot in the batting order. May be it was humidity or some other unknown factor, every time I hit the ball, it seemed to come off of the sweet spot. I got a double to start off, then a 2-run triple, then an inside the park grand slam and then a single – to complete the Full Cycle. Icing on the cake was being walked intentionally during last at bat [I am sure thinking about some PERL scripts/syntax I had discussed with buddy Kevin played its part as well]. Never had I had a full cycle at bat (it was getting dark and they probably couldn’t see me – just like Bucky had mentioned in the letter), never had I had an inside the park grand slam (or grand slam of any kind) and never had I been walked intentionally. Although my personal fielding skills (in the out-filed) still left a lot to be desired, rest of the team defended well, pitched excellently to beat MRT (a team from higher division) 19-17 in an exciting fashion
Game #3 – NVA Nads Vs Stray Macs: The game got off to a bad start and we gave up 22 runs in the first four innings – mostly due to simple mistakes repeated a multiple times. But our plan to catch up on them worked to near perfection – we shut them down for the last three innings and scored consistently to be trailing by (only) 7 runs in the bottom of 7th innings. To be part of the 7 run rally with 2 outs was very exciting and but equally lame was the overall finish to the game – we needed just one more hit (which we knew we would get) but the game was called with score tied at 22 apiece.
Just like the teams that I have played with in Upper Michigan, I had plenty of fun (made a lot of noise and almost lived up to Bucky’s recommendation) with Stray Macs and post game celebrations were equally entertaining. As much as I wish to have played more than just three games, I am equally glad that the season didn’t go down the drain completely. If – for whatever reasons – I am still here the next season, I know a team that I can play with