The funny thing about this softball season was...I wasn't looking to be a coach and I was made to be a coach, twice.
I was looking to play again this year...this time as a player without the "/coach" added on. To clarify this...last year, I was a player/coach of an adult coed slo-pitch team (with a mix of deaf and hearing players) and we managed to win just one game (when a team full of barflies didn't bother to show up). Last year's team was, at best, a mediocre collection of players. We had lost two games by two runs or less and 3 games by 5 runs or less to finish at 1-13.
When a very talented player joined the team in the final game of the season last year as second baseman and played brilliantly in tandem with me at first base, I realized with her returning next year we would be one or two good players away from becoming a respectable team. I am a great catcher, I am a very good pitcher that doesn't crack under pressure, and I am a decent infielder. I'm just like Crash Davis..."all my limbs put together are worth 7 cents a pound", but boy do I have the brains for the game.
Don't get me wrong...I am not all about winning. Yes, winning feels good (always!) but I would never try to win at anyone's expense. I *am* competitive by nature - I always give everything I have on the field and I always leave it all on the field. Most players, who came consistently to the games, always played their hearts out and I would take them over any talented player who doesn't care about the team.
The point is, it's just a game but I wanted to give the players a chance...more accurately...a fighting chance to win every time. I always put everyone in the game, even if it means losing the lead...even if it meant I wouldn't get to play. Growing up, I was always picked last or excluded from the games and I *hated* the feeling that came standard with being excluded or subbed for a better player. I vowed to never do that to anyone if I ever became a coach and I still haven't done that to anyone.
Here's what happened this year - I was supposed to play in a league 30 miles south with one of the last year's players becoming the coach but he took too long to register a team. You guessed it correctly - I was able to register a team in my league and again I was the coach. However, the majority of players from last year brought more players and the skill level was much better this time around.
I moved a player from her usual shortstop position to second baseman because she had trouble making the throw from there and I knew she would adjust to the "flipped" side. She adapted so well that she gained confidence in her game and she even went after players who would "lollygag the ball around". I promptly made her the captain of the team. Certain new players who instantly upgraded the skill level were put in center outfield, shortstop, and first base, becaming permanent fixtures along with the captain.
Me? I ended up not playing at all in order to accomodate the sudden influx of available players. I knew I missed being on the field, but I didn't realize exactly how much I missed it until I had to pitch on July 9th and again on July 16th. More on that in a future post, I promise. :)
And the "twice" part I alluded to at the beginning? Stay tuned.
Bonus points to anyone who caught "Bull Durham" references - I *love* that movie and it is the greatest baseball movie. Ever. No, not even "A League of Their Own" or "Field of Dreams". I loved the story about female players and "There's no crying in baseball!!!" and I played catch with my dad so I didn't have to "build it and he will come" which means "Field of Dreams didn't hit me as hard as it did with others. So there! LOL