Long-time readers of this blog know that I have occasionally reported on my success -- or lack of it -- in softball. I have played softball ever since my graduate school days, eschewing baseball for a game more befitting the recreational player. Back in the late 1980's, I played on several teams in a summer. It kept me busy, and, truth be told, I was actually pretty good. However, the 1980's are a far cry from 2014.
Last season, I felt like I had become a liability (or maybe a bigger liability!) to the team I had played on for many years. But realistically, it was just difficult playing against guys who were, in some cases, almost 40 years younger. Sheesh -- I remember when I was young and could actually run. And some of the really athletic guys who were in their early 20's just absolutely killed the ball. Playing defense in fear is never good. So, I decided to retire from my old team. And actually, I was asked if I wanted to be put on the roster as a fill-in player in case the team ran short during the season. I never responded to this suggestion as I got really busy at work.
So what did I do? I accepted an offer to play on a team in the ... umm ... senior league. Actually, I told Dan, the captain, that I would think about it, and he put me on the roster. Dan is retired and obsesses about softball. He held a few practices, but I never found time to go. Then, last week was the first game. I looked at the lineup card, and Dan put me in right center field, batting sixth. What -- the outfield? I hadn't played there for years as I was too slow and have a crappy arm. Now in the senior league, however, I was one of the young guys on the team. Imagine that!
In the first game I came up in the first inning with the bases loaded and two out. Time to hopefully not be a chump to my new teammates. Surprisingly, I got a hit and drove in the first runs of the season. I went 2 for 3 and had three runs batted in. Not bad for my first game.
Tonight was game number two. I was shocked to see that I was batting lead off (a place usually reserved for fast guys!) and playing left field. Left field -- a place for guys who are good fielders and have a good arm -- ha! I told Dan "You realize that I suck." He told me "You won't drop more balls than anyone else, and at least if you do, you will be able to run after them." Senior league softball!
Well, I have something interesting to report: tonight I played the best defensive game I have played since prior to 1990! I caught six fly balls in left field, including one darn good backhand catch of a sinking fly down the left field line and a good running catch in left center field. I guess fear is a great motivator. I went two for four and now have a .571 batting average.
A funny story: I asked Dan's wife who was last in the batting order so I would know who to follow for my second time at bat. She said "80 ... He's 80 years old!" Ah, senior league softball!