Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How Much Do Grown-Ass Men Need Softball?

First, a note about the title of this post: Sports Illustrated just ran an article entitled "Dez Bryant Is A Grown Man." I thought it would have been much catchier had it read "Dez Bryant Is A Grown-Ass Man." So, yeah...

Anyways, I recently started fall softball just a week after my summer beer-league team lost in the playoffs. My multiple-season fetish with the big yellow ball puts me firmly in "Overweight 25-to-49-Year-Old" territory. And you know what?

I love softball, as do all of the 40-year-olds that squeeze into their high school baseball pants* and dual knee-braces on gamenight every week.

*Note: I do NOT wear baseball pants to play softball, and I think doing so is a disgrace to the great game of baseball.

Once I moved out of my parents' house after college, I started playing in the Woodlawn bar league, thinking it would be a great way to make friends.* But that first season turned out to be much more. My favorite moment occurred in the second game. The week before, my buddy Jim showed up wearing a cup, and we abused him. "You wear a cup to slow-pitch softball?" "I didn't know they made cups for the vagina." "I can't wait to chug a beer out of your cup after the game." (Okay, I just made the last one up.) Needless to say, Jim didn't wear his cup to the next game. And in accordance with Jim's surname, Murphy's Law interceded. As Jim tried to score from second base on a single, the throw from the outfield hit him squarely in The Place Where The Cup Wasn't. He sat out the rest of the game, cursing me and the rest of our teammates.

*I have some trouble in that area sometimes.

Since that first season, I've been hooked. I'm always amused by guys who talk about a play they made a few weeks back. Or better yet, a play they made last season. Or better yet still, a play they made when they were manning third base for their high school baseball team. Despite those innane conversations, though, some of my best chats with friends come over a few beers during or after softball games. That, above all, is why I love the "sport" so much.

So even though I consider myself a pretty grown-ass man (although not as grown-ass as some of the tubby middle-agers I've played against), I look forward to softball every week, the same way I used to look forward to my Little League games. I just find that pretty awesome.

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