I had to sit out Sunday’s game after my poor posture and lack of exercise caught up with me. About midway through the day on Saturday I started having severe muscle spasms in my neck. It got so bad I scared a waitress when I yelled out in pain as she was giving us the bill.
“Sorry,” I told her. “I have a bad neck, not Tourette’s.”
I’ve never missed a softball game; even my vacation last year fell on a weekend when the league wasn’t playing. Although I was walking around like I had a metal rod up my back, I thought keeping a heat pad on my neck would loosen it up enough to play, if only for a couple of innings.
My boyfriend was skeptical.
“Dude,” he said. “I’ve never seen you in this much pain before. I’m a little worried.”
Boy is he in for a surprise the next time I get hemorrhoids.
I tried to assure him I could play ball; I’ve experienced muscle spasms before and this was mild by comparison. I told him we only had a eleven players for Sunday’s game and I didn’t want to let the team down.
“I know from injuries,” my boyfriend explained. “You can sit out on Sunday’s games and let yourself recover, or you can play and risk sitting out three or four.”
I had planned on being stoic and taking one for the team, but then I opened the back door of my building and it felt like I was getting rear-ended, and not in a good way. The real tell-tale sign I couldn’t play was not being able to look over my right shoulder, which is important when you’re a left-handed batter.
“If you’re not going to play then you have to show up and cheer the team on,” Fry told me, as well as my boyfriend and every other person that ever played softball. It’s what you do, like going to church to please your mother when you really just want to sleep in.
It felt horrible telling Coach I couldn’t play. I could tell he was stressed because he was low on players and didn’t have time to find spares. Our team was just starting to get the season rolling. I don’t blame him for wanting to win a few games.
It was weird being at the field and not playing. I brought my gear in case they really needed somebody but I wasn’t sure if I should sit on the bench, learn how to keep score, or what. So I found a nice spot under an umbrella with a friend, sipped tropical flavoured drinks, and smoked his cigarettes. By the third inning I felt like a Southern Belle swinging on a porch in Savannah.
I didn’t realize how much visiting goes on during ball games. People are coming through on their way to and from games or killing time in between them. The talk of the field was Pacific Spirit, the last placed team in the league, beat the undefeated Team Celebrities by three runs. Oh how the mighty will crumble.
My team wasn’t doing so well their first game. They were playing really hard but it just wasn’t happening. There were a few good rallies and I thought they might be able to make a come back, but the other team always managed to get someone out at third. They lost, but they were in the double digits, which is good.
We had to change fields for the second game. Fry gave my friend his phone so he could play his sound effects app over his Bluetooth speakers. That definitely made the second game more fun, but I don’t think my team appreciated it when he played the losing horn from The Price is Right after someone got out at second.
By the top of the sixth inning it looked like my team might get through the game without an injury and then Cricket took a nasty tumble. Luckily a nurse was playing on the other team and was able to attend to her. They didn’t have to call ambulance but they carried her off the field. With no one left to take Cricket’s place, Coach called the game and accepted the loss.
I feel for Coach. He really is our drag mother. He keeps us organized on and off the field, and then makes sure we socialize after every game, win or lose. The least we could do is win few for him. It’s not due to lack of effort on anyone’s part—injuries happen.
I met up with a couple of my teammates at the Pumpjack after the game. I clinked a mug with our assistant coach and said, “You guys played great today.”
“No we didn’t,” he said, and then he listed off a whole bunch of things that went wrong.
“I thought you guys were amazing considering you didn’t have any spares and everyone is limping around the bases,” I said. Hell, our first base person had a heart attack last year.
He was having none of it. But thenI reminded him Pacific Spirit beat Team Celebrities.
“Anything can happen,” I said. “We’re only half way through the season.”
We have another game this Friday. My neck is still a little stiff but I’ll be able to muddle through. With all the injuries our team has faced so far this season, the pressure is off, all we have to do now is play.
I just hope I can remember that the next time I’m up to bat.