Last December, I participated in project reverb, a reflective writing challenge meant to close out the year and prepare for the new year. One of the groups hosting reverb prompts decided to continue the reflection through the year and sends out a monthly prompt. The prompt for September for #reverb14 is as follows:
Team | Whether you love football or hate it, we’ve all done hard time on the sidelines or on the field. What is your best game time memory?
I’m trying to figure out if this is literal or if it is supposed to be figurative. No matter, I’ve got stories for days, I suppose.
If we’re taking the literal tack on the prompt, then it’s not about football. We’re going to talk about softball, and the hard time I did on a co-ed softball team in my early 20s. I played softball as a kid, grew up playing back yard baseball and generally loved the whole act/idea of throwing around a ball. That was until I got into a relationship with an uber competitive guy who had to win. At all costs. We’re talking couldn’t-couldn’t-lose-at-a-board-game-had-to-win-at-all-costs kind of guy.
When I stop and think about it, there were a lot of clues that the relationship probably wasn’t the healthiest one for me to be in, and the time that he cracked my femur with a softball should have been a flashing red sign that told me – get the hell away from this guy. But it wasn’t. Because I’m smart like that.
We were on a co-ed softball team with a bunch of the people that he worked worked with. Everyone but him was really there to drink beer. I think we were like in an “H” league or something – about as pitiful as pitiful gets. But not Mr. I-Was-Supposed-To-Be-A-Starting-Pitcher-Like-My-Brother. Make no mistake, he was a good player. They put him at short-stop and from that position, he could just about cover the entire infield, and he did a great job at the plate…almost always guaranteed a homerun. But. No one every wanted to warm up with him because he failed to recognize that this little recreational sports league was not going to be his ticket to the glory that he missed in his not-so-far-away youth. He threw the ball too damn hard. So hard he hurt people.
The team decided for some stupid reason that it would be a really good idea to play in a tournament. We all paid our money and when the appointed weekend arrived, just enough of us showed up. We didn’t have a full team, but there were enough of us to get on the field. Because no one would warm up with him, that duty fell to me. We were warming up with another couple from our team and the wife of that couple had asked me a question about cheesecake (I used to bake cheesecake. I don’t so much anymore). I turned my head to answer her, never thinking that my boyfriend wouldn’t recognize that I was distracted.
He threw the ball anyway, and the next thing I knew, he was yelling my name. I turned my head and got my glove down to my in just enough time to have the ball tip it.
The pain was so intense and immediate that I crumpled to the ground, wind knocked out of me, hurting so badly I couldn’t even cry.
By the time he and the rest of the team had made their way to me, the damage was making itself evident. Square in the middle of my thigh was a perfect outline of the softball. You could not only see the stitches in the seams but the lines in the stitches. It was rapidly turning purpley-black, and it took a few tries for me to get up. i couldn’t put any pressure on my left leg because it hurt so terribly.
Then our team captain dropped a wonderful little nugget of information on us. “You have to play. If you don’t play, we don’t have enough people to compete and we forfeit our entrance fee.”
The story gets better, though.
In the team’s infinite wisdom, they decided that the best place to put me would be at home plate, as catcher (so I wouldn’t have to walk to the outfield, you see. How very thoughtful of them). Catcher was my position anyway. Our team captain, the pitcher, promised that if there was a play at home plate, he’d make it.
Excellent idea. Until he saw how fast and how hard my boyfriend would throw a ball to make a play at home plate. Then he stepped out of the way and said boyfriend tagged me yet again. This time in the ankle. Of the same leg.
I really don’t know how I made it through the rest of that game and the next, where they decided to place me in the outfield where nothing ever happens and I wound up having to make a leap into the air to catch a ball, preventing a homerun. Landing squarely and painfully on that leg. Good plan.
I still have that glove, and I haven’t really used it since. It has survived multiple moves. I even still have a ball from that team. Occasionally I think that it might be nice for Sweet Husband and I to get involved in some sort of co-ed league – just for fun – because I think that he could actually handle something like that, particularly if I dangled beer-drinking in front of him. But that would require us being together in the same city…and I’m not at all sure that I really, really want to play softball again. I think I’m OK staying on the sidelines these days. I like to watch – and listen – anyway.
Now bowling on the other hand…I could so see us in a bowling league.