Sunday, September 09, 2007

To what lengths will YOU go? =)

To play or not to play? That is the question.

Friday afternoon, my coworker emailed all the women in our office and asked if we might be willing to play on his church's co-ed softball team for the next six weeks. They play one game every Sunday night, and were short a few girl players. He assured us it was all very casual, very non-competitive, a "just for fun" thing. All we had to do was bring a glove, otherwise, it was totally free.

Apparently there was something in the water that day, because I thought it sounded like fun, even though none of my other coworkers were interested. Me, the girl whose favorite sport is power-window-shopping. I called Hubby about it, who laughed, then realized I was serious and told me to go for it. I didn't want to do it alone, though, so I found a friend who said she'd be willing to play, too, which was a miracle because I believe she's actually even less sports-experienced than me. (Okay, so I bribed her with ice cream, but that's not the point) I emailed the coworker back and told him he had two additional teammembers.

Tonight was the first game. At 6:00, my friend Katie and I were there, dressed in shorts and T-shirts, gloves and water bottles in hand, ready to go. Our husbands sat in the bleacher and got ready to laugh at - I mean - cheer for us.

Before I tell you about the game's events, let me give you some quick background. I've never played sports. I mean, never. I homeschooled from 4th-8th grade, and the two years of high school when I was at public school (before homeschooling again to graduate) I simply went to school and went home. No sports. No teams. No cheering. Nada. Just wasn't my thing. I was the girl who grew up thinking dodgeball was the game they surely played in Hades, the girl who faked sick to get out of youth camp rec team, and played ref for a friendly game of volleyball at a friends birthday party. (Yeah, didn't know the rules, just didn't want to play and needed an excuse). I took up kickboxing this past year, and I love it - relatively good at it - but see, kickboxing is an independant sport and really involves little if any hand-eye coordination. As long as you land a hand or foot somewhere on the giant black bag, you're good. Hubby's been trying to teach me golf recently, as you saw in my previous blog, which is again, an independant sport. See where I'm going here? lol

So, Katie and I join the team in the dug-out and find out our church team name is "The Saints". (which later made a lot of sense, if you happened to catch the New Orleans Saints game on TV last week!) The co-ed team switches players out so at bat, the order is two guys, one girl, two guys, one girl, etc. Plus, all the men have to bat opposite-handed and the distance between bases is a tad shorter than regulation. I'm looking around thinking, okay, this might not be so bad! I figure, hey, if I stink at this, at least I can chalk it up to experience for future books. (Oh, the lengths we go to for our unborn characters!)

My coworker, the team leader, wisely puts Katie and I out toward right field. Smart man, there. Yet, since so many men were batting left-handed, they fired some at us. When the ball came my way, something magical happened, something that's never happened in all my 23 years of attempting to play team sports when forced in p.e. or at church - I didn't run away from the ball. I ran toward it. Turned out to be a foul, but I tried. People, this is HUGE. It set off some competitive spark in me. After that, I wanted to try. I wanted to WIN.

And I did try! I hauled after several of the balls that came my way - didn't catch them, they were all way over my head, but I actually ran toward them and made an effort. I felt alive. I. was. playing. a. sport. This was surely headline worthy somewhere! My first turn at bat, I swung once and missed. My second pitch, CRACK! I nailed a good solid grounder toward second. My feet took off toward first and somewhere in the back of my head I screamed at myself "drop the bat! drop the bat!" LOL! I did and continued hauling myself to first base, and made it. My jaw dropped and I actually turned to the first baseman and said "oh my gosh I'm actually here!" (Not kidding) He looked as if he didn't know whether to laugh or just go home.

The batter in line behind me hit one straight to the base and I got tagged on my way to second. My next turn at bat, I hit the first pitch...straight into the glove of the pitcher. I mean, BAM. I was out before I could even drop the bat and run! It was like "here, Merry Christmas!" Oh well. At least I didn't strike out! (which, might I add, several of the men were doing. hehe)

My last turn in the outfield, I was fired up and ready to go. Ready to play, ready to help. I screamed "bring it on" at one point. Hubby's stunned in the bleachers, probably thinking who is that competitive freak in the black gym shorts in right field? Well, the batter nailed one in my direction, waaaaay high toward the back fence. I started running for it, and everyone started screaming. My back was turned so I figured that meant "hurry". I picked up the pace and ran like I have truly never run before. I'm talking arms pumping, hands pointed, back twisting, feet aching, wind whizzing past my eyes RUNNING for the ball. Scooped it up and threw it in the general direction of the shortstop. It was too late by then but hey, I tried, and I knew I tried my hardest, so it felt good.

We ended up losing 6-2 but had a great time!

Until the ride home. I asked Hubby how I did. I told him to be gentle but honest, not just pacify me. He said "You did okay at bat, but in the outfield, you really needed to have run faster."

Have you ever seen red? Like, truly saw the color red floating in front of your eyes?

I have.

"Uh, that's as fast as Betsy can go." (You know I'm mad when I refer to myself in third person).

Hubby looked shocked, which just made me even madder. Here I was thinking I was a stinkin' Pegasus flying across the grass, and he thought I was runing in slow motion!! Grrr. (good thing I left the bat with my coworker!)

Guess I might need to leave it at future character experience after all. I'm going to finish out the six weeks, though. Why not? I can only get better, right? (don't answer that) I might even post pics later =)

So, this brings me to the question - what lengths will you go to for your characters or future books? What means of research will you submit yourself to at the sake of humilation, embarassment, agony, pain, etc. for your story? Any crazy experiences? Share 'em here!


Lori said...

LOL You are a pegasus! You are!

Georgiana said...

Hmm, I think I'd rather make my characters wimpy like me.

YAY for fun times on the field. You did good, and you're faster than what he said. Really.

I have no sports to my credit either. I tried volleyball in HS, but found that my delicate arms bruised easily, and I couldn't serve worth beans. I did do cross country--but like you said, INDIVIDUAL sport. LOL. And my whole goal was just not to come in last.

Delia said...

I believe you were a Pegasus!

And I couldn't help but laugh at the third person reference. Sorry.

Erica Vetsch said...

Way to go, Slugger! You'll show 'em.

I have seen red before...a misty veil like being in a darkroom bulb's glow. But I've been that mad...a few times.

I too loved the third person reference. Too Funny!!