“Athletic prowess” will not appear in any attributes they may scrape up for my obituary. If it’s a team sport, I’m the one you want standing on the sidelines holding the purses and jackets.
I’m not even good at non-athletic games except for one Christmas Eve in the early 70’s when I became Jock of the House. Remember Pong, that first video game which probably now exists only in the Smithsonian? Santa set it up on our television that year and challenged me to a quick game to make sure it worked properly.
A very surprised Santa challenged me again.
I won that one as well as the next five…ten…fifteen games.
Santa decided the hand control he was using must be defective, so we swapped for the next dozen games. Turned out that it wasn’t the equipment that was defective.
Santa “once more-ed” me until 4am without besting me even once. By that time I was nodding off between turns. Almost forty years later, he still can’t understand how that happened. My competitive urges are non-existent.
Once I was asked to substitute on our church’s women’s softball team. They assured me that I was a last resort, apparently assuming that having an inept body in right field was better than no one at all. Meanwhile, they erroneously assured me that nothing ever happens there.
Daughter Pogo, an all-state center-fielder in high school, had agreed to play that day also. The captain issued all of us our t-shirts when we arrived and Pogo showed how to change t-shirts right there on the field without flashing anyone. I consider that a life-skill I may again find useful one day.
Right field couldn’t have been more popular if I’d set up a ball toss game with lingerie prizes out there. Almost every hit came my way.
Since I knew there was no way I was going to catch a fly ball, I stood back so far that I could lean against the fence. I remembered hearing that one is supposed to run up to the ball rather than backing up, so I’d watch it fall and gallop up to it, circling like a buzzard eyeing road kill. At that point I’d grab my prey and chuck it as a toddler might, elbow tight against my side, ball up by my ear. Of course my toss never went more than a few feet, so I’d have to run pick it up again and throw it a second, third, and even fourth time to get it to the pitcher. By then, of course, that was the only play because the batter had already rounded home and was back on the bench sucking on her Diet Coke. More than once I had to run backwards to retrieve it, not because it had been hit over my head but because I’d accidentally released it at the wrong time and thrown it that way. Lucy Ricardo would have tossed me from her team.
Dearly Beloved didn’t know I saw him out in the parking lot, doubled over with laughter, beating the car hood with his fist (until he proofread this for me.) He was kind enough not to sit in the bleachers.
Finally Pogo called me over. “Just stand there, Mom. I’ll cover your position too.”
After that game, the team chose to forfeit if there were no substitutes other than me.
If you think MY softball past is checkered, tomorrow you’ll hear about DB’s last game. . . and please, if you know a Neanderthal named Big Bubba, don’t tell him we’re back in town.