Hermits Rock

Go to content Go to navigation

Pride of Place...

Emboldened by the tales of others on the field of play, of how they learned to love the game and become the best the could be, overcoming all odds (even if it means never losing), I will now make my own sports confession, for Augustine has taught me that it is good for the soul. I will now let you know what I do with my Tuesday evenings.

Last spring some guys from church were talking about needing to find enough men to man the softball team. Mind you, though most of us are from church, this is not church league… we play such imaginatively named teams as the S___Hit Birds and Balls Deep. In a moment of true insanity I said I’d play.
Our little team of misfits, just as imaginatively as the rest, is named The God Squad.

Other teams have several who played second and third string in forgotten state colleges and play short stop like Mikhail Nikolaevitch Baryshnikov piroetting across a darkened stage. Our’s is composed of many who played through Middle School, one who played some in college, one who had never played in his life, one who played during law school at UVA, and me. One of our guys, who talks a good game and knows the game inside out and ends each game pronouncing that he his going to hit the batting cages, throws the strangest balls ever; he bends his arm behind his head and releases the ball at the top of arc right above his shoulder, rather than in front of him. Needless to say, the ball always traces this rainbow arc rather than a straight vector. Two others can’t catch a ball thrown straight at them, and they normally play first. I will let others parody my play…

Suffice it to say, despite spending 6 of the 7 years of my youth ending in teen in the Dominican Republic, despite spending a year and half of my T-ball years in Nicaragua (both countries that, as the result of U.S. Marine occupation early last century, play baseball rather well), I didn’t play baseball except for one season in the 6th grade in Haughton, LA, US of A. The first day I showed up to practice, the kids made fun of my soccer cleats. Also that day, I missed the ball in the warm-up catch session. It glanced off the top of my glove and hit me right in the brow, swelling my eye shut. To make matters worse, these were all the kids with whom I’d been in honors 4th. (I had been knocked down to normal 5th over the summer.) The only time I made it to first was when I got beaned in the butt by the pitcher. Though I never made it home, it wasn’t my fault; I was stranded. Making it to third, however, was a slap-stick routine. Not understanding the third base coach’s instructions, I would slow up and head back towards second when he was telling me to come on and I would turn back around and head towards third when he was signaling me to go back to second. That was my one and only experience with games played with balls and bats.

ON the bright side, we’ve gotten better and better as the season progresses, or the teams have gotten worse and worse. (I tend to think the latter option is the case.)

Tonight, our little team of misfits was playing for pride of place. Were we going to be the worst or the second worst? That was the question. We’ve lost all five games… and the team we were playing has lost all five games. When I say lost… I mean utterly and hopelessly lost. I mean the other teams didn’t even go out and get drunk afterwards because they wanted to savor the victory. I mean they went to work and we became the laughing stock of their various places of employ. I mean God-fearing men, The God Squad no less, were reduced to swearing like the host of a late night cable show.

Here, our stellar record:

Game 1 22-7 L (Slaughter rule)
Game 2 18-7 L (Slaughter rule)
Game 3 25-5 L (Slaughter rule)
Game 4 Forfeit L (Neither team had enough players; it was a double forfeit, but we scrimmaged and still lost.)
Game 5 18-13 L (we had their short stop and they had an extra out each time)
Game 6 (tonight)

At a certain point I informed the guys that we should get T-shirts made up that said: The God-Squad: We’re counting on His divine intervention... and that we should take the field to Matthew Sweet’s song Divine Intervention when we are “Home…” and our “Away” shirts and song should be The God-Squad: Living on a Prayer... what else?

Like I said, we were playing for pride of place… were we really the worst team out there? They scored 6 runs in the first inning; we, 4. 5 in the 2nd; we, none. Nil in the third; we, 6. 4 in fourth; we, 2. And they 3 in the 5th, to our big fat goose egg to close out the game. We almost had it! But it’s tough to play 8 men against 10. Our outfield was a sieve.

Among my more spectacular plays was my tripping over second base and landing on the short stop, who had the ball and tagged me out. (Though I did make an out at home plate last week off a rocket thrown by the Left fieldman. And, I’ve actually gotten on base legitimately, despite not knowing how to place the ball and rarely doing anything more than poking it into shallow right, when I’m lucky.) I’ve played Right, Center, Catcher, and Pitcher. I’ve pulled both quads and hamstrings. I’ve skinned my knee and run into the fence giving my right ulna a deep bruise. It’s been fun.

Still, next Tuesday is another day; the last game of the season… who knows… a boy can dream!



That’s how I play racquetball: No chance in the world—but there’s always next week!

Speaking of injuries, I sprained (I hope) my foot last night. Stepped out of a dumpster and rolled it over. I heard a distinct “POP!” as I was falling. Let’s hope it was just a sound like cracking knuckles, only in my foot… (as of this morning, I can walk but gingerly).

dumpster diving just gets harder and harder when you’re pushing the ripe old age of 30…

did g at least get good loot out of the injury?
and what does evie think of her papa’s athletic prowess?

since we were just diving for packing boxes, i, personally, would have to say it wasn’t worth it—especially if this means there won’t be anyone to help me carry our really, really heavy futon into and out of the truck come the 31st.

oh, yeah, “looking for boxes”...every dumpster diver’s legitimate excuse!

yeah, well, i might have thrown g on the ground myself if it would have helped to snag something good. (just kidding, dearest!)

some guy wrote a little opinion piece in our local paper recently claiming that dumpster diving in our town isn’t what it used to be. supposedly, it’s a reflection on the state of the economy: people don’t throw out good stuff anymore; they actually need it. go figure.

As if your endearances could fool me: wife, I know thy name, and it is treachery! :)

Still, for your reading pleasure, Vernon Trollinger, “Dumpster diving isn’t what it once was in Iowa City.”

OKAY, OKAY, enough already…

I take the hint. My posts should be shorter, should be more about what I did last night rather than 20 years ago, should involve covert action in grimy and smelly places, should have more of a universal appeal, should have some sort of to local and global politics, and should not involve Hobbes at all. :P

Happy moving people… we will be in New Mexico at a family reunion while you are laboring from one apartment to another in your tornado battered automobile.

And, Mary, are you just three weeks away? Has summer in AR been kind to your state?

Oh, come now! We’re all waiting with bated breath to hear what Evie thinks of your softball skillz!

i think it’s painfully clear that we derail because we are, indeed, jealous of the Mad Skillz…the closest i’ve ever come to being athletic is my sorry asthmatic attempts at running, which, thankfully, involve only putting one foot in front of the other and not many people around to witness how much i suck at it.