I’m playing in a softball league with co-workers on Mondays. Bunch of out-of-shape guys too old to be playing a kids’ game. On Tuesdays, I’m so sore that I walk like an ambling wino. I was never good, but it’s frustrating because I’m better than this. I can’t throw – thanks to a shoulder injury acquired trying to catch Richie’s couch coming free-fall down the stairs during his last move – and after trying to, I can’t wash my hair with my right hand until Friday.
You might say “Well, why do you do this to yourself?” I’d say “because it’s fun.” But it hurts. A lot.
Except for one thing: In the second game, I sucked and had to pee the entire time. I led off the last inning and down like 14 runs, I decided to take out my frustration on the first pitch I saw, hoping to either hit it out (HAHAHA, I have no power) or a fly ball out so I can go to the bathroom.
I rip the first pitch, and it’s a deep fly ball to left. Not out, but over their heads. I didn’t see it, because I was sprinting head down as my team yelling “three, three, three.” I’m thinking “I’m going four, four, four, so I can go one, one, one.” I glanced up at the guy coaching third, just to see his reaction at me cutting third to know if there was going to be a play at the plate, but he was still looking to the outfield, I crossed home, slapped some fives and bounded up the stairs to the bathroom to take a giant whiz.
It felt great.
Sorry, that joke was tasteless. The home run felt great. Until my coworkers — four guys who have been paid to score baseball and softball games before – that it was a triple and an error, not a home run. Screw that. I was going all the way. If they made a play, it would have been at the plate. They were just getting to the ball after I had rounded second, so that’s a play at the plate, and since I made no hesitation, that’s gotta be scored an inside the park home run.
It was the first home run for me in an organized game since college. And that was just our spring softball tournament with no backstops. I don’t even remember the homer, I just remember telling my buddy Rich that “that’s my first homer since 1993.”
It felt even better when I went home and saw my childhood friend Tom online and told him “I just hit my first homer since…”
I consider Tom my brother. He was three years younger than me, and we played sports in the neighborhood every day. But we never were on the same team due to age. In 1993, I wasn’t good enough to make the 15-16 year old league, so was in the 13-15 year old league. But my team had players quit/get injured. Tom was one of the best players in the 11-12 year old league, and since both our teams wore orange, he got called up to our team.
I told our coach how good he was, but in his first game with us, he batted last and played outfield. In his second game, he hit second and pitched. Since the injury that led to his call up was to our catcher, I said “I’ll catch Tom.” Tom didn’t allow a hit in his four innings (the limit in our league). I pitched the last three innings, and we won on a one-hitter (I know, I blew it for him).
But that was also the game where Tom hit the ball a long way (no fences) and rounded the bases for a homer. And I followed by hitting a line drive six inches over the first baseman’s glove that rolled a long way and I rounded the bases for back-to-back homers (THAT one was probably a triple and an error, gotta love a mom keeping the book).
So when I sent Tom a message Monday night as he was up with his months-old second son, and said I hit my first real homer since we went back-to-back, he said: “Hahaha. I remember. That was awesome. On the orange team. You know, I played hundreds of baseball games, and that one is the only one I remember.”
As a proud ‘older brother’ for all those hundreds of games he did play, hearing that felt so unbelievably great, I could have gone back to the yard and played two.