Sports' great equalizer


Kris had his last softball game of the season tonight. It might not have been the last of the season, but it was a playoff game. And they were playing the #1 seed in the league.

Because Kris' team was in last place.

They won last week's game, their only win of the season. Know how they won? Yeah, the OTHER team scored a number of their points.

There's a no-homerun rule in the league to prevent players from just hitting the balls over the fence. The first one is a homerun, with all the scoring that entails. The second homerun is an out AND the pitching team scores your run instead. The third homerun is an out AND the pitching team scores TWO homeruns.

You see where this is going.

The other team hit four homeruns. At what would be the final pitch of the game, the player up to bat, who was later defined as "a moron," stood with the count 3-1, two outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd. He had previously hit one of the three earlier homeruns, and an earlier triple, so he was known as a power hitter. The score was tied at 20-20, many of those runs from (recall) previous homeruns for the other team.

All this guy has to do is hit a ground ball between first and second, or second and third. He can run to base and the guy on third can score. Game over.

What does he do?

Hits a homer.

Kris' team wins in exactly the only way possible to win that game. Second game to go to all seven innings, first win.

Update: Ooooooo! An eye-witness/participant account of the night!

So, Kris' team didn't really have a chance at winning tonight.

The make-up of the team has changed considerably throughout the season, though. Whereas it was originally all of Warren's coworkers and two token baseball/softball players, it was now all of Warren's ultimate or athletically inclined friends and two token coworkers. They played much better in the end of the season.

But, there still wasn't much hope.

Until we arrived at the fields.

The fields are always a little windy, because of the proximity to the Bay. Not a lot, but enough that watching the games is always a cold endeavor.

Tonight, however, we had WINDS. Winds that were blowing as near straight into the batter's face as possible. Power hitters were reduced to hitting pop-flies that landed just past second base, and not much past at that.

Wind: sports' great equalizer. Kris' team might have chance.

The first inning was played faster than you can wipe the wind blown sand out of your eyes. A fan for the opponents showed up at the bottom of the second inning, puzzled about why the scoreboard was incorrectly showing the second inning.

Three up, three down. Four up, three down. Four up, three down. Three up, three down. Neither team was scoring, both victims of the wind.

The game remained scoreless until until the fifth inning. I missed the scores in the fifth inning, as I was off tracking down a ball in the next field over. It was hit from our field into their outfield in the third inning, and, for some unfathomable reason, I felt compelled to retrieve it. Someone in the other field's outfield had thrown it in, so I had to convince the umpire that one of the balls wasn't his. I managed to distract him long enough a couple times, asking about the ball, that he didn't watch the game he was supposed to be umping, much to the mockery and ridicule of the outfield.

The final score was 5-0, with Kris' team losing. They played the full seven innings, going the distance instead of being crushed and losing with the slaughter rule. I suspect if the team at the end of the season had been the team at the beginning of the season, none of us fans would have learned what the "slaughter rule" is.

Another Kris softball game


Sitting here at Kris' softball, I'm entertained by the men and one woman playing the game. It's a much different group than the ultimate crowd: nearly everyone is overweight, slow. Yet it's very clear this group of people enjoy playing the game, probably asmuch as we enjoy playing ultimate, love their sport as much as we love our sport.

Or maybe not. Ultimate players are very much an insane, dedicated group of people.

The pitcher on Kris' team is really good for the league, which I think is the B league, maybe C, I don't know how many teams in each.

Watching Kris is pretty awesome. It's close enough to baseball that Kris is clearly having a good time, enjoying the idea of playing baseball, his one true sports love, again.

I read eariler this week an article about a 41 year old goalie who absolutely loved playing soccer. He played every weekend, during the week if he could, throwing himself around after the black and white.

His wife, on the other hand, hated that he played. She feared his injuring himself, and possibly making himself unable to work. His being the sole bread winner in the family of three, her concerns may have been valid, but insisting a spouse stop participating in the sport he loves, the activity that keeps him young, and alive, well, that insistence
sounds an awful lot like marital suicide.

Kris plays softball, and risks making his minorly injured shoulder a serious injury. It's his shoulder, it's his choice. I'll schedule the massages; I'll rub when I can; I'll always cheer him on; but I'd never ask him to stop.

How could I when I see the joy in his face when he throws that perfectly grounded ball?