Monday, May 24, 2010
I joined my work softball team on a whim. Last Spring, while watching the softball games of various friends and family members, I thought how fun it would be to play softball, to be a part of a team, run, hit the ball, move my body. Someday, I told myself, someday. Well, when the email went out inviting employees to join the co-ed team, I found myself responding. I attended the team meeting and got nervous, big time. These people could play...one of the gals is one of the softball coaches at SUU (where I work), which isn't intimidating at all. I told them I'd try my best but that I had never played on a team before so please don't expect too much.
I got more and more nervous, especially because playing kept getting put off; one practice was canceled, I couldn't make the other one, two weeks of games were canceled due to snow, so by the time our first game rolled around, I was sick with nerves. I don't know how to throw a ball and it had been over a year since I'd picked up a bat. And, friends and family were going to be in the stands watching! Sam, my ex, came up from St. George and gamely played catch with me beforehand, giving me pointers and plenty of encouragement.
Once the game started, I had a blast - I knew I would once I settled down. I play catcher. In this league, catcher is given to the worst player on the team...all I do is catch the ball when the pitcher pitches it. If a play is being made at home, I step out of the way and let the pitcher run up to take care of things. I don't care that I'm the worst player on the team. It's better than being in the outfield for two reasons; 1) I can't throw the ball, so if I was in right field and the ball managed to make its way to me, I'd have to throw it in and would look absolutely ridiculous and b) I'm in the game - I may not have a lot of responsibilities, but I get a hand on the ball a lot, get to practice throwing the ball (to the pitcher), and I get to chat with the umpire. I love it.
How have I been playing, you ask? Not too great, but not too shabby. I've had a couple hits, a couple strike outs, and made it on base one...I walked. My goal is to get on base due to hitting the ball and then to someday actually score. They aren't lofty goals, but they're mine and I like them.
My team is awesome. I'm one of three Julie's, which we all find terribly amusing. The guys on the team aren't as scary and demanding as I'd feared they'd be. They're very patient with me, give me encouragement, and give me high 5's when I do something even resembling a good job (like when I almost caught a foul ball). As a team, we laugh a lot and have a good time. And, we actually do a fair amount of winning, which is an added perk.
Two years ago, I would never have contemplated being on a softball team. Oh how my life has changed. I'm actually living it instead of letting it roll by like a twig in a stream. I'm doing things that I always held myself back from doing because of my weight. I love that my body can run, not very fast or for very long, but the feeling of the various parts of my body working in harmony to produce this feat is tremendous. I love when I swing the bat and can feel the power of my muscles in my arms and back. I'm about as graceless as a horse on roller blades when I throw the ball, but I'm getting better, and sometimes, every once in awhile, I throw it correctly and I can feel the difference. My body works and I revel in it.
I'll probably never be the best player on any team, but I love playing the game. I love being active and part of something outside myself. I love the sounds of the game; the ball hitting the bat, the Ump calling Strike (unless it's on me or someone on my team), the cheers of the people on the bleachers, and the kids running around laughing and having a grand ole time. I love the way my hand smells like my glove afterward. I love that my mom and friends come to the game to cheer me on. It's so cool to get up to bat and to have them rooting for me, even when I hit the ball right to the pitcher. I love putting on my jersey (#32) even though it's just on loan and I don't get to keep it. I love that my previously white(ish) shoes are now dirty from the red softball diamond dirt. I simply love playing the game.