Game Ready

I was debating getting a new glove even before registration.

Last season everyone on my team kept telling me I had the wrong kind of glove for slo-pitch; that I had bought a baseball glove and that was why the ball kept popping out of my mitt when trying to catch a fly ball.

I thought they were just being nice – that the reason the ball doesn’t stay in my mitt is I can’t catch a fly ball.  After a few games and some really near misses, I started to see the wisdom to their logic.

Last season I oiled my glove after every game. I put a ball in it and wrapped elastics around it, and it still didn’t feel broken in by the end of the playoffs. But it’s only been one season, and it wasn’t like I was playing every inning of every game.

It’s not a great glove, but it’s the glove I wore my first season and I had planned on having a long relationship with it. I got over my fear of softball with that glove; I learned to catch a fly ball with it; I even had plans to write poetry on the inside of it like Holden Caulfield’s brother in Catcher in the Rye.

That said, I’m not a rookie anymore, so if I consistently fuck up in a game, my teammates won’t as forgiving as last year. I’m determined to improve my game by at least fifty percent this season, and I don’t want anything as silly as my emotional attachment to my glove to get in my way.

So I bargained with myself. I would get a new glove if I found a good second hand one on Craig’s List for under $40. And it had to be my dream glove, not some ratty old thing with bed bugs.

Then I tried on a glove in a tiny sporting goods store in Sechelt, BC. The glove had a pocket like a lacrosse stick, and it is “game-ready” in that the leather is nice and soft and really flexible. It was the last of it’s kind on the rack and it was $80, which I wasn’t prepared to spend on a glove.

“You know you could buy that for less in Vancouver,” my boyfriend told me when I showed it to him.

That’s what I had been thinking.

But what if I couldn’t? What if my coming across this one glove, in this tiny northern seaside town was destiny, like the sword in the stone?

I couldn’t stop thinking about that damn glove the rest of the weekend. I even used my phone to go online to see if I could find the same glove cheaper in Vancouver. I couldn’t.

We ended up going back to the sporting goods store one more time because my boyfriend was thinking about getting a hooded waterproof jacket for a hike we had were planning to take. There was one that he kind of liked, but it wasn’t exactly what he wanted for the price. I looked at the glove one more time, and felt I had become immune to its power of suggestion this time. It was a nice glove, but I didn’t need it. And yet it almost whimpered like a pound puppy when I put it on my hand. “Take me home,” it called out to me.

My boyfriend and I went on our hike and when we were done, I was so exhilarated and filled with fresh air, I told my boyfriend I had decided I wanted to go back to the sporting goods store and buy the glove—after we had a cigarette.On the drive into town I told him how I wasn’t sure if I was buying the glove because I needed it, or if I was on some kind of vacation spending high.

“I don’t really need another glove,” I told him.

“Look at it this way: now you have two and I won’t have to bring mine over from my house,” he said. That was when I realized I wasn’t buying this glove for myself; I was buying it for us. It’s good to have a boyfriend that understands my First World dilemmas and knows how to solve them.

My first practice with team is Sunday morning at 10:30 when  I’ll find out just how “game ready” my new glove really is.

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About garpinbc

Author of the forthcoming "Same Love" published by Lorimer, as well as the memoir "Foodsluts at Doll & Penny's Cafe", and the YA short, "Haters Gotta Hate".
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