I bought a new pair of baseball cleats since mine were starting to look like they belonged on Charlie Chaplin. I paid $30 for my old cleats, purchased in a mad dash with less than 24 hours before my first softball practice ever. I got what I paid for; by the end of the season they had ripped the nails off both big toes.
Sport Chek had one pair of the Nike cleats I wanted in my size. I’m more of an adidas queen, but adidas doesn’t deal in baseball for some reason—must be a European thing.
It was a real struggle getting the cleats on in the store; my feet were still killing me from Thursday’s game and I was wearing a thick pair of socks. I felt like one of Cinderella’s ugly step sisters trying on the glass slipper.
While I was at the store I decided to check out some bats. I had no idea how much a softball bat goes for. I was budgeting anywhere from $50-$75 and nearly fell over when I saw that they started at $100.
The only bat I’ve ever owned was a wooden one I bought after my apartment was broken into. I was telling an American cop friend of mine about it and he said, “Get a gun.”
“I’m not getting a gun,” I told him.
“Then I insist you get a baseball bat,” he said.
I don’t remember what I paid for that bat but I know it wasn’t a $100. I did feel safer knowing that it was near my bed though.
Our team had to set up the diamond for our last game, so we needed to be at the field by 8:15. Fry was nice enough to drive myself, Bomber, and her girlfriend whom I’ll call Cricket (after the sport, not the Sally Field character), and a player from Team Score.
I didn’t play sports as a kid, but I sure felt like one getting into that car with my vintage adidas bag. Bomber, Cricket, and I were up to our chins in equipment in the back, while the player from Score turned around in the front seat to show us the scar from when he took a softball to the face. Fry was the perfect softball mom, keeping his eyes on the road and asking where we wanted to stop and get breakfast. We settled on Tim Horton’s, just like in some home-spun commercial.
I haven’t been a huge fan of Tim Horton’s ever since I bit into a blueberry fritter and it was frozen on the middle. Always Fresh, my ass. The only thing Tim Horton’s is good for is washing down a cigarette. Which was exactly why I bought a bagel and a double-double.
I would like to get more involved with setting up the field this year. I’ve hammered bases in before, but I need to take a more active role in measuring out the base and foul lines. It’s not particularly difficult, I’m just really lazy first thing in the morning, but who isn’t.
The field equipment is stored in green sheds that are chained to the fence behind home plate. I’m always amazed they’re pristine as they are considering Strathcona Park’s reputation. All anyone talks about is the body that was found there a few weeks ago—and Miss WESA.
The league couldn’t have made setting up the field any easier. They have a rope measure with little tags that tell you where the bases go and there’s this cool paint machine that you push around like lawn mower to mark the foul lines. Painting the lines is my favourite job because it feels like arts and crafts.
Our games on Sunday were my best performance yet, although I’m still not playing as well as I had hoped by this point in the season. I got to base every time at bat but my hits are still weak so I have to run like the wind to make it to first. At one point point I overran the base so much I nearly ended up in the next field.
“You could have made it to second,” the first base coach told me.
“I can’t help it,” I said. “I’m a gazelle.”
Kidding aside, hitting a double would have done a lot for my average.
The best part of my day was when one of our best players, Bear, said my throwing has really improved. Bear is this hot muscly sweetheart. My nipples totally got hard at the compliment.
Our first game was against the second place team in the league, VanCity Lofts. The first couple of innings were rough on us; our pitcher walked a few batters and then we were the victim of a couple of home runs with the bases loaded.
We had some good hits and we were playing well defensively but we still got trounced. It wasn’t as humiliating defeat as it could have been, but it would have been nice if the score had been a little closer.
We played against Pacific Spirit our second game. I played outfield with Pacific Spirit’s coach last year; he taught me how to throw a ball properly and I was his back up dancer at the Miss WESA pageant. I still greet him with one of our dance moves. It’s weird playing against your friends. You want to win but you want to be nice about it.
The umpire was a retired-girl’s-gym-coach type. She knew all the veteran players by name and was quick with the friendly put-downs. The whole time I was behind the plate she would give me a play-by-play of every pitch and swing and then tell me about what she was going to do with the rest of her day. From the way she encouraged the rookies you could tell there was a part of her that wanted to be on that field herself
There was this one guy on Pacific Spirit with an incredible pair of legs and short shorts. Every time he was at bat I wanted to lean forward and lick his thighs. Cricket and I were talking about him in the dugout. She was impressed with his physical prowess whereas I wanted him to sit on my face.
“It’s nice that we have the full spectrum of admiration on the team,” she said.
Everyone played really well. Bear’s boyfriend made this amazing catch that looked like a slow motion sequence from 300. Manchester was really on her game at second base. Bear hit five home runs over the course of two games. And I made it through both games in the rain without getting my cleats dirty.
Later in the day there was a fundraiser for the tournament teams at The Junction. Ten dollars got you a beer and a burger. Our pitcher sang a song—and Googled the lyrics onstage. Bomber goaded Fry and Cricket into entering the Best Legs contest with her—Cricket won. And then a few people pooled their money together to win me a softball bat in a raffle—which I didn’t.
We were like kids at a pizza parlour after a little league game. I even had a bandaid on my knee to prove it.