A few weeks ago, I played in a 50-inning marathon softball game, and that day reminded me of the years I spent loving the sport. Now that I have finally recovered from every muscle in me hurting and the insane face sunburn I got that day, I thought I should reminisce a little and share my favorite softball stories from my adolescence.
-The summer when I was thirteen was probably my favorite traveling softball season, not because of the games we played that year (I actually can't recall if we were even that good), but because I loved my teammates. It became a habit for us to get together and have sleepovers after nearly every game that season. Usually, at some point during these nights, the cards would come out and we'd raid the cutlery drawer so we could play Spoons. In case anyone's childhood totally sucked and doesn't know what that game is, it's this: you sit in a circle, with a collection of spoons in the middle and pass cards from person to person until someone gets four of a kind. When they do, they take a spoon from the middle, and everyone else then has to get a spoon as well. There are one few spoon in the middle than players, and the person who doesn't grab a spoon is out. Now, being fairly competitive teenage girls, this game escalated from a friendly game to a contest of strength and willpower. I would later refer to the game as "Full-Contact Spoons," as it became common for the first person to get four of a kind to grab a handful of spoons, and throw them away from the circle. Oftentimes they ended up on the stairs and underneath furniture.
I think we once even played in the hallway of a hotel we were staying at for a tournament, and people threw spoons all the way down the hall, and we most definitely did not stop playing when other guests had to pass by.
We also played in an airport a few years later, with pens instead of spoons. I don't think anyone got stabbed, though I can't verify that.
-When I was fourteen, my team qualified and played in a national tournament in Colorado. This was very important to me, because my sister had played in many nationals for the past few years, and this was finally my opportunity to do the same. (It would end up being my only chance- the general trend growing up was my sister's teams were more skilled, but my teams had more fun) Throughout the tournament, I pitched a fair amount, but didn't hit. (I wasn't very good at batting- turns out I would peak in two years for about two months. Fun fact.) However, for one game against a team from... Oregon? Washington? somewhere... due to some weird rule, I needed to hit. I was pretty intimidated and nervous, and my coaches' looks of, "Oh, shit" didn't really help. But somehow I made contact, got on base, and even scored a few minutes later.
Since that was my only at-bat for the entire tournament, technically that means I batted 1000. I'm a pretty big deal.
-Also, right after that game, a few of us went back to our hotel and went swimming in their pool. As we were hanging out, some other families came in and started talking to our moms. They said they were playing in the same tournament we were and they were from... Oregon? Washington? somewhere... and our moms talked about how proud and happy they were we just beat a team from that same state. It quickly came out that these nice people were from the same team we just beat... by quite a margin I believe. I swam away from that uncomfortable situation so fast I left a wake behind me.
-My high school softball coach was also a math teacher, and he dedicated half his classroom to displaying stuff from the softball team. This included 5x7 photos of each varsity player that took up an entire wall. My senior year, I had him for Honors Pre-Calc (and I was similar in math skill as I was in softball- well intentioned, though lacking in certain areas of motivation and ability). That fall, I was a member of the marching band as well, and a friend took a picture of me in my uniform before one of our performances, looking excited because I thought it was our last football half-time show (marching band gets exhausting after awhile and I was ready to leave the unflattering pants and fuzzy hats behind). The Monday after this was taken, I walked into Pre-Calc past my friends from the last class all laughing at me and see my coach, staring at me with a slightly crazed grin. He moves aside so I can see this picture, hanging on the wall and taking the place of my normal softball picture...