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The company softball team

For the past several months, I have been subjected to a weekly recounting of every hit, every catch and every error the J&C softball team has made. This is because the reporter who sits behind me loves to talk about it. It’s gotten to the point where our editor, when he goes to ask what stories he has coming that day, starts off with, “Tell me about the game… and then don’t mention it again.” But it’s all in good fun.

At first, I didn’t tell anyone here that I used to play varsity softball in high school. In fact, the only year I didn’t letter was freshman year, and even then I played up from the JV team half the games. (My position was first, and my freshman year my sister was the varsity first basemen, so when she pitched, I played. Otherwise, I DH’d or sat the bench like a freshman probably should.) I probably wasn’t the best person the team, but I can put the bat on the ball and stop just about anything. But I haven’t played in so long, I never thought I would again.

Then, somehow, I let it slip during a conversation with said reporter that I had played in high school. He could not believe I hadn’t told them earlier. Apparently, they are always in need of female players who can, you know, actually play. (There’s a rule that half your field and every other batter has to be female.) Particularly female infielders are always in short supply.

I kept putting it off, thinking of reasons not to. (Hey, my mitt until last weekend was 350 miles away back home.) I attended a few games to support them when I could, but they practice on Monday and play Wednesdays. Half my Mondays and Wednesdays each month are spent trying to figure out what the school boards are talking about during their meetings. Education here isn’t conducive to playing in this league.

Finally, I threw my hat in as a sometimes player for the fall team. After I suggested the executive editor as a possible player, and she actually said yes (and is apparently pretty awesome, though I haven’t seen her play yet; but again, I’ve heard about it through the weekly game recap), I felt pretty much compelled. I had to join the team. So I did.

Tonight was the first night I could actually make it out to play. No meetings. Mitt in hand. I haven’t practiced in years. Once Abbey and I went to the batting cages, where I sucked at hitting the slow pitch balls — seriously, why are they so slow? and they come at a weird angle — and when I was home earlier this month, my sister and I threw the ball around. That’s it in nearly four years.

And know what? I had fun. I’ve made some good friends here, but even among my co-workers, I’ve mostly tried to keep my distance. I’m younger than most everybody, and I don’t know, I already spend way too much time there anyway. But it was nice to be around my co-workers not in the office or even out to lunch with the prospect of more work ahead. It was fun to be back on the diamond, and apparently, yes, it’s a bit like riding a bike: I’m rusty, but I still remember the mechanics and what to do in each situation. I struck out a few times, but my last few at bats I made solid contact. I made a few blunders, but I also made a few good plays. I even took one for the team — as in my bloody knee in the kitty-litter field so I could stop a throw that way in the dirt to first.

Like I said I had fun. Maybe tomorrow, I won’t grumble so much the fifth time I hear the story about the lightning that struck just behind our field and postponed the game, nor the amazing home run one of my teammates hit or how we beat the first team we played 15-5. And I’ll be back — the next time I actually have a reprieve from my school board meetings.

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