Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Baseball Kerfuffle

When my husband was a boy, he was a very good baseball player.  Although, he told me that he decided to depart the sport when the pitchers got strong enough to really hurt people with the ball, but had not yet mastered the art of accuracy.

When I was a girl, I pretty much sucked at sports.  Although, I played them anyway.  In junior high, I participated in competitive basketball and softball.  I was also a cheerleader.  In high school, I was on the swim team, where I competed in the butterfly, although I did not actually know how to do it.  The coach made me do it because I was the only girl who didn't complain about swimming the 50 yard fly in a very, very outside lane.  I basically flailed and drank a bunch of chlorinated water the whole way.

But, back to baseball and softball.

When I was in the 8th grade, not enough girls in my class signed up for varsity softball, which meant that there could be no school team.  And if there was no varsity team, the league rule was that there could be no junior varsity team, either.  Thus, the very few 8th grade girls who were actually athletic -- in partnership with the numerous and very sports-oriented 7th grade girls who really, really wanted to form a junior varsity team -- begged us un-athletic 8th grade females to please, please sign up for softball.  A few of us kindhearted souls did agree to go along with this foolhardy plan.  That is how I came to be a junior high varsity softball player.  I played right field, where I pretty much prayed that no fly balls would come my way.  Although, one day I did find one hurtling in my direction -- and I caught it.  Much to my surprise.  It was one of the high points of my life because Maria -- the most extraordinarily athletic female at our whole school -- whooped and hollered and cheered for me for about 10 whole minutes.  "MARLA CAUGHT THE BALL! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT MARLA ACTUALLY CAUGHT THE BALL?!?!?!  MARLA, YOU REALLY CAUGHT THE BALL!!!"  And in case you are thinking that I am just plagiarizing the Peter, Paul, and Mary song here, let me assure you that I am NOT.  This truly happened.  So there.

Meanwhile, at a similar age, my husband was deftly running around the baseball field, hitting homers and catching flies and throwing extraordinarily aimed throws wherever they needed to be thrown.

Anyway, upon my marriage to my husband, I was vaguely aware of his baseball-playing past.  And he was vaguely aware of my softball-playing past.

One day, we were talking in the living room of our little newlywed apartment.  I don't remember how the subject of baseball came up, but it did.  And he started telling me about those annoying kids on the baseball team who couldn't hit or throw or catch anything and how they frustrated him to no end, back in his glory-days of 12-year-old Little League.

I burst into tears and ran into our newlywed bedroom and flung myself upon our newlywed bed, racked with 24-year-old girl sobs.  I think I briefly considered divorce.  For a fleeting moment, I could not imagine myself spending the rest of my life with this horrid male person.

Anyway, my poor new husband had absolutely no idea what had set off his new wife.  He probably figured that he had accidentally married a crazy woman.  He came timidly into our room and timidly asked me what was wrong.  I recounted my softball-playing story.  I told him that I was just exactly the kind of player who used to drive him crazy back in his jock days.  I told him something to the effect of, "You have crushed my soul and I will NEVER have your babies, you terrible testosterone-filled he-person."

Somehow, though, he calmed me down and we did stay married and have babies.  And he learned to be a more sensitive dude.  And I learned... Well, I'm not sure what I learned.  But, it must have been something valuable.

And Ben McKenzie should read this story.  In case he ever gets married.  ;-)

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