September 25, 2006

The Slugger Pontificates

I tend to save my best softball game for the last of the season. I'm not sure why I do this, although I think it may be a sublimated desire to terrorize my teammates. They go through the whole season thinking, "This guy is pretty terrible." And then for one glorious hour, I kick it into overdrive and they think, "Well, he's not quite as terrible. My hopes are raised slightly for next season." And then the next season, I promptly head back into Sucktown, dashing their hopes and frustrating all those around me. Maybe it's the one week break we get between seasons: seven days off is all I need to revert back to throwing like a girl and whanging foul balls off the umpire's groin.

I bring all of this up because Thursday was our last game of the season. Since it was our last game, I need not say that it was also my last chance to show anything that might resemble a talent for softball. I also need not say that I was the DH, and supposed to save all of my skills for my batting. I also need not say that it was our last chance to win our first game of the season. I also need not say that we were playing the first place team, who I secretly suspect is the UT Austin men's baseball team. Yes, there were a lot of things going against us that night, but, like I said, I tend to perform slightly better than average for the season finales.

We can skip through most of the game. We're fighting gamely, I've hit a few singles, and we're down maybe 6 runs. That sounds like a lot, but for us, that's essentially a victory. Not only are we not getting embarrassed, but we've got a little rally going. All of the guys in front of me get on base, and I realize that if I could squeeze out a hit here, things get interesting.

It's the climax of the game, I'm up to bat, and many people are yelling at me: the scene is set for tremendous embarrassment. Well, I did my part on the first, whiffing horribly. I'm surprised I didn't accidentally throw the bat at the pitcher. The second pitch was slightly better, as I fouled it off. I've now got two strikes and the other team, seeing the fear in my eyes, start hollering like a bunch of yahoos. I start to get a little nervous, immediately thinking of just how lame I'll be when I strike out, when I remember something: this is the last game of the season. And in the last game of the season, no one out-yahoos Cody Powell.

The next pitch comes in and I whomp it well down the third base line. The left fielder dives for it and misses; the ball rolls to the fence. All of the guys in front of me score, and I'm haulin' oats around the bases. As I make my way to third, my teammates yell, "Go home! Go home!" I hang a left and barrel towards the plate. The catcher is large; he's probably 6'3, 250 pounds, and he's standing right in front of the plate. I then that I can just run around him a bit and tag home. Then, I see him crouch and pound his mitt. That's the international symbol for "Here comes the ball, I'm tagging this doofus out." I just kept running; that's my own personal symbol for "It's the last game of the season and I want my damn home run!"

Just before the throw slaps his glove, I dive head-first to the right. I slide right past him, under his glove, and slap the plate with my left hand. Then I quickly yank my shorts back up, as the force of my slide slid them down a little bit. I get up thinking, "Dear Lord, everyone just saw my underwear," but no one cared. I had just a grand slam. It was the first in our team's history, probably the first in our own history, and we were now 3 runs away from winning this, the last game of the season.

Well, the story kinda tails off from there. We only had one more inning and we ended up losing by 8, which is not so bad. I'll tell you what else isn't so bad: a grand freakin' slam, dirty dawg! I anxiously await my descent back into athletic crappiness.

Posted by Cody at September 25, 2006 8:45 PM