Several years ago, we had stopped to see a friend at her place of work and she asked if Sweet Husband and I would be substitutes on her softball team? We looked at each other, sorta shrug our acceptance and told her we would see her on Sunday. Our friend told us the time and place, this was gonna be fun wasn’t it?
Once we got home we got out the balls and mitts, throwing the ball back and forth, knocking the dust off of all our softball skills. We needed the practice, alot of practice. I can catch pretty good, but I can’t throw worth beans. As long as there’s a cut off person (maybe two) I would be fine. Way back in the dark ages when I lived in Portland I was on a co-ed softball team. We basically sucked, but we had fun. We were more of a drinking team that got together for softball in order to relax. Sweet Husband played a lot of softball when he was younger, much more than I did. In addition he did some coaching of smaller kids. The coaching sounded like a bunch of fun, especially looking for random kids that decided to climb trees instead of play their position in the outfield. Hello, little person, that’s a totally different sport.
It was a beautiful warm day, the birds were singing, the kids were laughing and spring was in the air. We arrived at the field and were introduced to everyone. They welcomed us, but looked at us a little suspiciously. Did they think we were here to take their positions and displace them? Uh, no! I would actually have to care in order to play softball full time. We were here for the fun. Bring on the fun!
As on most co-ed teams, there is a shortage of women players, so I was notified that I would be playing right away. I shot a panicked look toward Sweet Husband but he was busy chatting with Sweet Daughter.
“Hey, you’re up.” I hear from someone shouting behind.
“Me?” I manage to squeak out.
“Yeah, you’re up”, a bunch of people state in chorus.
I’m thinking, shouldn’t I have played out in the field first? I fumble around for a bat that feels good. Cripes sake, I haven’t hit a ball in about a decade or more. I didn’t think I would really get any play time, let alone a chance to bat. I was just here for the fun.
I step up to the plate, digging in for a good stance. There are some serious grooves on the left side of the plate, where other batters before me stood. I tell myself to be patient yet immediately swing at the first pitch. I connect with the ball with the intent of placing it somewhere between the short stop and second base perfectly out of their reach. But that isn’t what happened. I connected with the ball, driving it straight into the ground approximately 3 feet in front of me. YIKES, I hit the goddamn ball, now I gotta run. Remember that groove that I was standing in to get a good stance? Um, I didn’t. My wheels started churning and I caught a toe in the groove, on the way to first base, causing me to come down hard on my left side. I fell flat making some god awful “auuughhhh” noise as my left knee took my full weight. My knee had swollen to the size of Rhode Island before I could even roll onto my back. I laid in the dirt, listening to my breathing. The silence of the crowd was beyond deafening, it was extinct. I needed to get up quickly, I had drawn the game to a complete standstill. I was obviously out…in so many ways. I got up and limped around the fence to my family, brushed my dusty pants off, hung my head as we headed to the car. We didn’t even say thanks or goodbye. I never wanted to see these people again. It wasn’t far to the car, but by the time we got there my knee was now as big as the state of Idaho. I needed to get some ice on it and the quicker the better.
I’d heard somewhere that frozen peas worked well as an ice pack. Well hey, lookey there, it’s a grocery store. I truly have the Sweetest Husband. He ran into the store bringing back several bags of frozen peas for my Continental size knee. Ahhhh, sweet pea relief on my knee.
I fought the swelling and bruising for several weeks and eventually went to the doctor to have x-rays. Nothing was broken, unless you count my ego, but there’s no cure for that. I still feel a rush of hotness when I think of that day and realize that one doesn’t really die of embarrassment. But I think I was close.
And that folks, is why I will not be playing softball at the family reunion this summer.