For It’s One, Two, Three Strikes…Screw This

Posted by admin - 27/04/11 at 05:04 am

I’ve had a very accidentally athletic month. To start with, I ran a 40-yard dash for charity and not only covered it in 5.55, but also raised a lot of money and food for The East Texas Food Bank. The next weekend, I walked a mile while wearing women’s high heels, also for charity.

After that my feet hurt for a week, but I accepted it gladly since it was for a good cause. I was riding so high on my forty-year-old minor athletic achievements, I accepted when my wife asked me to play softball on her company’s Corporate Challenge team.

The last time I played a game of organized baseball, I’m fairly sure I rode my bike home afterwards so I could watch “Three’s Company.” Still, I thought I’d throw in just to help out.

To begin with an explanation, the Corporate Challenge is a local event where area businesses sign up for events like softball, dodgeball, horseshoes, and other sports, then get disappointed when no one remembers to show up for the games.

It’s supposed to be a purely amateur effort of course, so I showed up, borrowed a glove, and root root rooted for the home team, or at least the team that provides my wife with insurance.

In our first game, we won 5-4. Since I don’t work there, I was very comfortable with coming in as a sub. Flash the leather, ground out, and drink a Powerade. That’s all it took.

Because we won, we got to/had to play another game, an hour later. From there, we got delayed for another hour because of a problem with the field. Then the previous game got extended, so we waited a while longer. It was just long enough for all of us to forget the thrill of victory, and settle in on the agony of how hot it was, and how much our feet hurt.

In the second game, we played against some local company that actually has a softball team. This means they have actual uniforms, and pants, and women who played softball in college. Or at least have attended an Indigo Girls concert at some point, and can really drive the ball.

Our team, on the other hand, was composed of actual humans. We had people who have jobs, and kids, and lives, and were obviously at a disadvantage against a team who all actually owned their own gloves and bats.

Understandably, they shelled us. Their shortstop’s gear and sunglasses cost more than my car.

Third inning, I was due to sub in. We were losing somewhere in the vicinity of 17-1, and our only run had come from the guy I was supposed to replace. His name was Colt, or Rip, or Edge, or something else ridiculously macho, and he brought his own spikes. That was plenty for me, Colt McManlyrod should stay in the starting lineup while I concern myself with cheering, sweating, and pretending we had a chance.

The game wasn’t exactly a defensive struggle. There was no scoreboard, but as far as I could tell, we lost 54-37.  We weren’t doing well. Our 5’2″ catcher had already taken a softball right in her mouth, and our third baseman had a wicked hop skip his glove and go off his bare hand. Five minutes later, his hand was purple and swollen. It looked like Grimmace waving good-bye.

We came back through the lineup, and I had the option of stepping in for Colt Van Jagger again. I stood up from the bench, and I spoke out loud to no one in particular.

“Fuck this.”

Yes, right then and there I weighed my options, and decided it would be far better to just let Colt Von Edgington go back into the hopeless effort of the game.

Yep, fuck this. It’s not exactly the “never say die” attitude of a World Series champion, but it seemed to serve me fine.

In my younger days, I would have hung in there until the final out, sacrificing my body in a variety of ways for that win. I never had that much athletic ability, but I always had that drive. Now, nope. I weighed what there was to win against what there was to lose, and came to a decision.

Yep. Everybody quits.

“Well, Lance Armstrong didn’t quit,”  those of you clad in your yellow “LIVESTRONG” bracelets may be saying. “And he won eleventy straight Tour de Frances.”

True. But he didn’t win every stage of every race. He knew what he was good at, and he saved his strength for those parts of the competition. And there are plenty of other things in his life he’s quit on. He’s not also an Eagle Scout, or a concert pianist. He’s been divorced. Should we ask Sheryl Crow about his “never quit” attitude? He’s obviously chosen his areas to excel.

Choose your path. That’s all I’m saying.

— Reid Kerr also played dodgeball, where the chance of injury is much lower.

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