Summer Kickball 2011 – Week 1

Greetings, readers.

You know that after a lull in posting, it’s almost guaranteed that my return to regular writing will be due to one thing: kickball.  Sure enough, here I am with the first post-game report of what looks to be a very exciting summer season.

After our forgettable spring season, commitments for the summer came slowly, even reluctantly.  A good portion of the Goddamnit Gerber gang decided to keep their custom-made t-shirts on the shelf this time.  Not even Gerber himself, the face of our squad (literally), would return.  Kudos, then, to Volpe, who organized the rest of us, ensuring that ZogSports would not be without our special brand of sportsmanship.  Yours Truly kept his place on the roster, along with other team elders Jill, Stacy, and Kish.  Our more recent acquisitions returned in full force: Amanda, George, Brandon, Tim, and Jeff.  Yet this wasn’t enough to field a team, particularly when considering our predilections for tardiness and alcoholism.  The Commissioner was going to have to infuse some new blood into this team of veterans.  As proven by a conversation I later had with our umpire, this was not a decision taken lightly.

However it was they made their selection, it appears to have been a perfect match.  We have eight new members on our unnamed squad.  Almost all of them were on hand for the season opener, and they fit right in with our band of lunatics (despite what any umpire may think).  I admit that it was a hard and fast introduction for the newbies.  A week prior to the game, they were already on the receiving end of a typically overactive and overly informative  e-mail chain.  They even agreed to join us for the beer and burger special at Green Rock prior to the game, which meant that we would be stuffing our faces during our first face-to-face encounter.  This takes  guts, ladies and gentlemen.  Seriously, it was like when they lowered that cow into the velociraptor pen in Jurassic Park.  Well, at least it was at Annie’s end of the table.

So after some friendly chatter, and an exhibition chugging contest between Brandon and Stacy, we marched off to hallowed Momma Johnson Park for our season debut.  While the rookies got the lay of the land from the ump, I scoped out the competition.  Our opponents were wearing their official forest green t-shirts, which was an appropriate color, since they were all the size of woodland pixies.  I suppose our turquoise uniforms were appropriate, too: loud, vulgar, and easily noticed from afar.  George made the batting order, and soon it was game on!

It was a tight game for the first four innings.  We had a constant rotation of pitchers who did great work.  We were doing all right at the plate, too, with tricky bunts as well as long line drives.  But somewhere around the fifth inning, we collapsed into our unusual comedy of errors; though I have to say, before we had these rookies around, our failures yielded less bodily harm.  Chet, one of the newbies, a giant Wookiee of a man, was determined to make it to home plate from where he waited on second base.  With the ball deep in the outfield, Chet rounded third…and then tumbled to the ground.  The big guy went down hard, but was able to get back on his feet and score before the Pixies could toss the ball in.  He had barely shaken out his strained hammie, it seemed, before Laura, another newbie, followed up an excellently placed bunt by face-planting on the first base line.  Further mayhem ensued when Stacy went to retrieve one of those chemical ice packs from the umpire’s bag, and crushed it within her She-Hulk grasp, spraying ionic compounds all over her and the already exasperated official.  So, by the bottom of the sixth (our final inning, due to all the time consumed by injuries, rulebook readings, and delicate reprimands), we were a sorry sight: sprained, bruised, and lightly burned, down 11 – 5.  But it ain’t over ’til it’s over in Momma Johnson Park, and we weren’t going to let a few additional physical impairments stand in our way.

One after another, our batters made it on base, and before too long we had tied the game at 11.  Jill was the last up, with two outs and bases loaded.  The winning run, Yours Truly, was on third.  I had considered just trucking home on the previous kick, but I know my own strengths and weaknesses well enough to know that such a gamble would have ended in an out, and possibly a concussion.  Jill took a swing, but the Pixie pitcher regained his focus just long enough to get her out, and the game was over.  Technically, it was a tie, but I kind of think we deserve the win, since we came back from such a deficit.  I doubt the league will see it that way.

All in all, it was a wonderful start to the season.  Our next game is Thursday at 7:00, so stay tuned to see how it goes.

Highlights
Record 0 – 0 -1
MVP of the Week: I’m going to give this to Chet and Laura this week.  They  both played so hard as to injure themselves in their league debuts.  Well done, rooks.  Strong first impression.
Weekly Not En Fuego Award: I’ll give it to Brandon, because he kicked the ball into the trees with such force that it punctured on a branch and deflated.  Although in some circles, this would earn him the MVP of the Week.
Quote of the Game: “Oh, wow.  That is loud.” ~ Rookie Susan, after witnessing a round of Brandon’s favorite game.

~ T

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