|Me jumping up *and catching* a fly ball in right field!|
Yesterday morning, my coworker Katy came by my office and asked if I play softball. I think I laughed. Growing up, softball was the sport I didn't like because I wasn't good at it. Volleyball, basketball, track … all fun. Softball, well, let's reserve that to P.E. and college intramurals.
But Katy's team just needed an extra body; if they were short on players, they'd be forced to take an automatic out every inning. So I agreed and showed up at the fields in Mt. Juliet yesterday evening for a double-header. It was a great day for softball. Mid-70s, partly cloudy. A little windy, but not terrible. I warmed up and headed to my spot in right field.
Fortunately it was church-league slow pitch softball, so it wasn't highly competitive and everyone was there mostly to have fun. I was nervous; it had been at least four years since I put on a glove. I don't have cleats, but I found Nate's in the attic. A bit big, but better than nothing.
One of the reasons I'm not good at softball is because I don't understand where I'm supposed to be and when. If the ball comes to me, I don't know where I should throw it. I like basketball because I have court knowledge. I have no field knowledge. I watched the other outfielders to try to gauge how far I was supposed to stand from the infield.
Fortunately the other team only hit the ball to right field a few times. And a few times it went over my head. But twice, I caught a fly ball! First one standing; the second time I jumped up and caught it over my head. (See photo above, from Katy's husband. Try not to go blind from my whiteness and don't laugh at my form. Nate says I look like a ballerina!) Nothing sounds greater than the "whoosh–thunk" of a ball landing squarely in your glove.
I was at the bottom of the batting order, and only batted twice in two games. (The other team shut us out both games and I think the run rule kept us to three innings each game.) :) My first time up to bat, I didn't even know which bat to use, so I used a red one—the same one as the batter before me because it was already at home plate. One strike watching, then I swung—whiff. The next swing, I got a piece of it. Not enough to get it out of the infield, but I took off. Any success I have at softball is from natural athletic ability. I can't run long distance, but I can sprint. And I beat that ball to first base by a half-second.
Next time up to bat, I picked a black bat. A Louisville Slugger. Mostly because it was one of the longest, and it looked nice. :) First pitch, swing! Contact felt good, solid. I knocked it just left of second base and made it to first, no problem. Unfortunately the next hit was to shortstop, so I was thrown out at second.
It was a fun two hours. Loved being outside, loved playing on a team. Even if we didn't win. I probably won't be a regular, but it was fun to fill in. And today, I'm sore. Every muscle from the waist down; back and shoulders. Hurts in a good way.