September 01, 2012

baseball brain.

Growing up, my parents had all six of their children signed up for some form of softball at one point or another. I remember going to watch my three older siblings play softball and thinking it was great -- although I don't remember much of the games. I was more interested in playing in the piles of field line chalk. Weird kid.

My turn came. I was willingly signed up for a local little league team that consisted of a bunch of distracted 8-year-olds. I don't remember much of this time in my life -- but think Brian Regan. Most of the memories I do have involve my coach telling me to pay attention because I'd be standing in the outfield doing this:

I was not destined to be a great ball player. About halfway through elementary school, however, my parents coerced me onto another team for a summer. I was not happy. I don't blame them, though -- I'd do the same if one of my kids spent the majority of the summer with her nose in a book and hating birthday parties.

Like I said, weird kid. 

That summer confirmed the fact that I was never to achieve greatness in softball. I dreaded Wednesday nights because a softball game meant:

a) Experiencing emotional trauma by continually striking out, or 
b) Getting a walk, then having to run around the dang bases with my clumsy pre-adolescent giraffe legs  while avoiding being attacked with the ball by psycho infielders, 
c) Watching the just-as-psycho outfielders close in on me when I stepped up to bat,
d) Standing in right field trying to force myself to pay attention,
d) Having to communicate with other people I barely knew. coughintrovertcough. 

I got through that summer determined to never play baseball again. Then I married Wayne.

Wayne loves baseball. He loves it with all his heart. It makes his eyes light up and his face glows... GLOWS when he gets near a diamond with his bag full of cleats and gloves and baseballs and water bottles. When he has a little bit of free time he'll come up to me with a face like this:

And ask if we can please please please play catch. I do like playing catch -- in fact, I've got a mean curveball goin' on. But to actually play a game of baseball -- well... that's, as they say, a whole different ballgame. 

Wayne's been on a city rec league all summer and has signed up for the fall league as well. I go every week and cheer noisily. That's an easy job. No running involved (though no longer pre-adolescent, the legs are still reminiscent of a giraffe's). 

There are weeks, however, where not enough women show up. Each team needs a certain number of women or else they forfeit. You'll be glad to know that despite my fear of organized team sports, during these not-enough-women occasions, I step up to the plate. 

Get it? Haha!


My summer experiences on the field have again confirmed that I am not a baseball star. Wayne and I have determined, though, that it is not because of insufficient athletic capabilities (though there's a lot of that lacking as well). It's mostly because I don't have a baseball brain. 

On our drive home from the diamond this week, Wayne asked what was going through my brain while standing at second base during the last play of the game from just before the pitch onward.

Suzanne's brain: Okay. Focus. Focus. One more out... what did I have to do yet tonight? I think I have to write that email to my mom for those recipes. I wish I had worn my sunglasses out here, I can't see much. Although they fall off a lot and that's just as annoying. I wonder if I can fix them? Hm. FOCUS. Argh. Focusfocusfocus. Okay. If the ball comes to me... um... whatever. It probably won't. My feet are hot. NO. Focus. Hocus Pocus Focus. Foooooocus. What a weird word. There's a runner coming to second if the ball's hit. Get him out. Probably. Somehow. Then throw it to first? There's the pitch. I hope that squeaking the car's making isn't the brakes. GAH! NO! NOT TO ME! NOT TO ME! heyIcaughtit!!! PUMMEL RUNNER COMING TO SECOND IN THE STOMACH WITH GLOVE! What the. I just ended the game! Hurrah! I'm not useless! Man I feel gritty. Shower? Yes please! 

Wayne at shortstop: Suzanne, you could have just touched the base, it was a force out. 

Suzanne: Oh.

Wayne says that when he's in a ball game, his mind is on overdrive, planning strategies and orders in which to throw the ball and figuring out what to do in the hundreds of different scenarios that could take place when that bat hits the ball. My mind... is not. I'll just stick to making baseball-themed birthday cakes.