Class, what have we learned today???
We have learned that Karyl is not meant to be a champion softball player.
I met my friend Debbie for lunch today since I had to go all the way south anyhow to ask for a copy of my OB-GYN record from the naval hospital. Debbie works just one exit away, so I figured I’d stop in and grab a bite with her. During lunch, she asked me if I wanted to go to her softball game that night. She and her husband belong to a co-ed team made up of sailors from her husband’s sub and their wives.
Then she dropped the bomb on me. Could I play tonight? Else they would have to forfeit.
After finishing my errands, I came home and investigated the situation. I have a glove, yes, but it’s a youth baseball glove. Too small for softball. I found the one pair of sneakers I haven’t yet put away, and changed my shirt.
OK, I’m ready for softball.
I haven’t played softball since my sophomore year in high school. I am of the fluffy variety, as KitchenLogic would say. Do I look like I would take any more PE than was required for my diploma?
That would be a “no.”
Even in college, I took Bowling for one of my kinesiology courses (my college was too pretentious to call it Phys Ed — instead we had kinesiology) and Folk Dance for the other. And since we had to put on a recital at the end of Folk Dance, I was able to satisfy my performance arts requirement after two semesters.
I am all about multiple credits for courses.
I had called my friend S mid-day to see if she wanted to play because she used to play in a league, and she loves the game. She wasn’t keen on playing, but I managed to talk her in to being my cheering section and unofficial photographer.
She took one look at my glove and my sneakers, and flung her cleats and her well-worn large softball glove at me. I’m so glad she was prepared. I think I ran better in the cleats, and I know the glove worked better as well.
Thank God we have the same size feet.
I was put into right field, which is a good position to play when you don’t know what the crap you’re doing and most of the hitters are right-handed. I only got a couple of fly balls my way. I really thought I was going to catch one, but the center fielder (or right center fielder — there seemed to be four outfielders, which confused the crap out of my baseball brain) raced in from his position and attempted to snatch it. He didn’t catch it either; I wish he’d let me try for it.
I was informed of my place in the line-up, which was two behind Debbie and just behind this guy in a red shirt. At the last minute, they changed it so now I was behind a guy in a blue shirt. Yeah, confuse the already confused non-player.
The guy in blue came up to bat but was thrown out. So now it’s my turn to bat. Except that was the end of the inning — time to go back to right field.
Then followed the longest half-inning in the history of softball. And I know it was because I was so damn nervous about the whole thing! Would I hit the ball? Would I just swing at three pitches and look like a fool? Would everyone laugh at my obvious lack of skill?
I swear, that half-inning lasted twenty minutes. I think the other team scored something like five runs. All I could think of was, “I’m next up to bat. I’m next up to bat.”
Finally the half-inning was over, and it was my turn to bat. S had given me some awesome advice — take the first one or two pitches, see how the pitcher is throwing.
Pitch one — I’m thinking to myself, I’m going to take this one. Just let it float on by. You can do this.
But holy cow, it was coming right for me! In a good way!!!
So I swing. And I miss.
Pitch two — Take the ball, Kar. Just let it go on by.
Again, it came right for me! I can hit this!!!
Swing. And a miss.
But then pitch number three, somehow I connected with it!
Right back at the pitcher, but hey, I hit it! I bolted for first and was thrown out. But I hit it!!!
After another couple of innings, I was back up to bat. This time I struck out. However, I did sit back on a couple of pitches that were way inside, which earned me several calls of “Good eye!” from my teammates.
There was a bit of confusion as to whether the game had ended. My team was back up to bat, but then when we got to three outs, for some reason we didn’t head back out to the outfield. I was attempting to find Grace and keep her away from the kid with the Butterfinger (did you know they have peanuts in them???), so I wasn’t really thinking about the game. Finally Debbie heads back onto the field, and of course, I followed her. I got halfway to my position when I get the news the game’s over. We’d been hammered, but I tried my best.
I’m also proud of myself for sucking it up and doing it. Just to get out on a softball diamond, where I’m not comfortable, and making an fool of myself. I have social anxiety issues; I hate going places where I don’t know anybody, and I especially hate doing things where I feel like an idiot and I have an audience. All those years of piano recitals exacerbated my problem instead of helping me with it.
I did find out I’m not alone with these sorts of issues, though, which makes me feel a lot better. I thought I was just being a weird dork for being so shy and unable to do these sorts of things, but no, there are more people like me out there!
It’s a comforting feeling.