As I mentioned on Opening Day, I’ve been all psyched to play softball this season. I joined a City Sports Connection softball team this Spring, and I’d been both looking forward to and anxious about playing. I’ve been anxious because I haven’t played baseball or softball since high school.
So last Monday was my first game and it was brutal.
My goal was not to embarrass myself. I failed. Mercifully, they put me in right field where I forced myself to be acutely aware of game situations–okay, there’s one out and a man first and second, if it’s a pop fly, then blah blah blah, if it’s a grounder, then–so I wouldn’t make stupid mental errors. When I got up to bat, I hit a single and when the batter after me hit a single up the middle to the second baseman, I promptly froze and didn’t run to second and got tagged out.
Later, the only ball hit my way was a slicing line drive that was just barely fair and curved away toward the foul line. I took the wrong angle and just barely didn’t get there in time to keep the ball in front of me.
I wanted to crawl under a rock.
I knew I was not going to have problems hitting the ball because some time ago I went to the batting cages at St. Paul’s Rice and Arlington Sports Dome and could hit 75-80 m.p.h. pitches but that wasn’t what worried me. Not only did I have to worry about my fielding, then I also had to worry about keeping my head in the game. Baseball is a lot harder than football because you can’t ever not think and just rely on your athletic ability.
After the game, when I said goodbye to everyone, it was clear that I had my work cut out for me to gain the respect of my male teammates.
So today was my second game of the season but the first game in which I attempt to redeem myself from the utter athletic humiliation I suffered in my debut.
Happily, I succeded.
The one ball that came my way, I fielded cleanly and tossed to the infield uneventfully. With bat in hand, I got on base every time I stepped to the plate and I didn’t force any runners out. Most significantly, though, I didn’t make any mental errors running the bases.
During a game, I never consciously keep track of my stats or plays. If I made good enough plays, I figure I or someone else will remember it after the game. But the funny thing about today–and a sure symptom of my depth of my humiliation–is that I kept tract scrupulously of my stats: I had three singles, two doubles, two RBI, and I scored two runs myself.
I’d never imagined that one could be needy over sports!