Played my first game today, around 2pm in the Florida sun. We did some pregame practicing, tossing the huge bouncy ball around and grinning goofily to ourselves. How hard could it be? They roll the beach ball at you, you belt it, run, jump on each base as you pass it, and then hi-five your teammates all the way down to home base. Easy!
Reality was a different thing. I was short stop, which meant I sort of hovered between second and third base, alternatively crouching with my hands on my knees, or standing with with my hands on my hips, trying to look effective, potentially dangerous, mean and lethal. Our kicking turns were very short because we’d always go out in about two minutes, each kicker locked down before they got to first base, so invariably I’d be short stop for long expanses of time as the other team ran home over and over again.
Not that we didn’t have heart! But we tended to spin and fall down in the outfield when a ball was lobbed high, or fail to catch the ball when it was belted straight across the pitcher’s mound, or try to tag out the opposition and miss as they raced past us. Once the ball got past two of our catchers, and then rolled out the open gate at the back of the field into the street. We were that good. I never had a high lob come in my direction, but I grabbed the ball a couple of times as it rolled towards me and rocketed it to either second or third base, usually ten second too late.
But we had fun! Despite losing, we cheered as if we were winning the whole way. When our teammates fell over, we yelled support and jumped around in the dugout like chimps. When I reached first base on my only kick, everybody rolled around shrieking in an orgiastic frenzy of ecstasy. When I reached second, the whole place went nuts! People were tearing their shirts, flipping cars, knocking down fences! Maybe I’d get to home base, and it wouldn’t be a shut out! Grinning like a fool, I stood by my base, and then BAM! Somebody slammed the ball into my chest. I staggered back, confused. What the hell?
“You’re out,” said the second baseman. She was an incredibly intimidating and short Asian girl. All business. I carefully explained to her that the pitcher hadn’t yet rolled the ball to the next kicker. The game hadn’t started up again. In effect, the heat had made her crazy. She stared at me with pity. Apparently you have to stand with your foot ON the second base the whole time. The fact that I was a foot away from it meant that I was trying to steal base, or something, so–tough chicken.
Dammit! Even though we ended up losing 5-0, we clearly had the most fun. The most adrenaline, the most screaming, and most importantly, the most beer. So! Next Sunday is my next game. Who wants to bet that I’ll make it all the way home?