Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wildlife network

Naturally, every softball game should begin with a positive mental attitude. Why, we could be set to steamroller through the first seven innings, causing our rivals to plead the mercy rule because their muscles had atrophied from sitting on the bench so long.

It is more difficult to maintain that attitude when you arrive at the pitch to find the other team in matching jerseys. With their names sewn onto the back. Even less promising was the fact they used a portable mesh screen to protect their pitcher from a fast returned ball. (They asked if we wished to use it. We felt able to politely decline). I found this last point particularly concerning when I was placed in short field, worryingly close to the action. I adjusted my fielding glove and wondered if it would noticeably affect my game if I wore it as a face protector.

Shocked as we were by this indication of strength, our defense during the first inning progressed as BP's oil clean-up efforts; slow and ineffectual. Nevertheless when no one died, our confidence picked up and we moved onto a spate of knocking out the first two batters. Sadly, we always followed this by allowing subsequent players a free range of the bases. Perhaps this was because we felt sorry for them. Perhaps it was because we got cocky. Or perhaps it was because we were physicists and there is no exact solution to the motion of more than two gravitationally interacting particles.

Our batting also showed promise. One of our players smacked a strong shot that sent the ball way into the outfield. This was bound to be a home run, no one could catch that. Well .... except maybe that guy.

"Damn you! We have your number!"

We meant that literally. It was sewn on the back of his team jersey along with his name.

Half-way through the game I was put on third base. This was fun for me, but a probable disaster for our score sheet. Still, I gamely walked across the pitch to take my place. Just behind me stood the base coach for the other team. He was a large guy and I felt briefly apprehensive until:



I looked back to see a hand extended to me containing a fist full of unshelled peanuts. It was tempting but I had this GIGANTIC HAND with my fielding glove. I didn't think it would do my popularity any good if I was trying to negotiate a snack when the action came my way. One base along, the batter smacked the ball into the earth. It bounced, rolled towards me and I scooped it up in my glove. I had the ball! It hadn't cost me a limb! How exciting.

Or it would be if I I had any kind of contingency plan for this eventuality.

Seriously, I had never expected to catch this. It had never happened before. Either I dawdled long enough or there was nothing new to be done for a shout reached me of 'Keep it!' followed by the pitcher holding out his hand. I lobed it at him. Hot potato!

Since that was quite enough excitement for one day, I retreated in the next innings to the outer right field. Two of my friends took centre and short field. A deer took outer left field. It meandered out of the bushes and started chewing nonchalantly on a tree.

"Someone get that deer a glove!" came the shout from a team mate.

Apparently though, the deer was reluctant to take sides. Either that, or it had seen us bat and deemed there was little need for a catching glove so far out. It snacked on the sidelines, TV dinner style, until we were back to batting. Our matches might not be quite making cable, but it is pleasing to know they are still reaching an audience.

No comments:

Post a Comment