Batter up for Wreckreation League softball

I think it’s time for the police department to start doing something about these obnoxious people in dirty, smelly clothes who do nothing but hang out in city parks, sitting around drinking alcohol.

I am of course talking about recreation league softball players.

I used to be one. It was on a company team. I worked for a real estate firm back in the day when (get this) people actually bought houses in Grand Junction.

After some begging, our sales manager agreed to sponsor a softball team under the following two conditions:

1) We showed up to every game.

2) We didn’t embarrass the company.

Looking back on it, one out of two ain’t bad.

At least it was fun. We were all so excited to play that we’d arrive at the ballpark at least an hour early to warm up. And by warm up, I mean “drink beer.”

This didn’t help our results. Most of the time we’d get crushed and lose by the 20-run rule. Other times — when the stars seemed aligned and we were all in sync against a clearly inferior opponent — we’d only lose by the 10-run rule. Basically we had all the athletic prowess you’d expect from a bunch of inactive, overweight middle-age salespeople whose main form of exercise was walking to the copier.

I can’t even say we looked good in the process, because they put some fashion-deprived idiot in charge of the uniforms: me.

To save money, I had decided to skip the professional screenprinting and just iron the numbers on our cheap white T-shirts myself. Putting a bachelor in charge of ironing uniforms is like putting Michael Jackson in charge of a day care: There’ll be lots of wine involved and things can ugly real quick. There’ll be complaints and even a few lawsuits. Possibly a fire or two.

This all-night ironing job was a torturous process, so I really don’t want to dwell on it. All I’ll say is that it was the only season when my ironing injuries outnumbered my softball injuries. I also (true story) screwed up on the number “11” to the point where instead of an “11” our team ended up having two players who had to wear the number “1.” When I passed out the uniforms before our first game, the guy who received the second number “1” jersey didn’t find the situation nearly as humorous as I did. He must not have “warmed up” enough.

The point is that it was fun and we didn’t take it too seriously, unlike some of the teams we played in what was supposed to be a laid-back company league. We’d face muscular, hyper-competitive guys in stretch pants swinging $300 bats and trying to be 17 again. They were obviously ringers. They weren’t actual employees of a company team, unless the company happened to be “Bob’s House of Steroids.”

I never saw them sitting around drinking beer before the game. Instead, they’d stretch, and run sprints and inject each other with human growth hormones. I know for a fact that some of them were former college baseball players. All of them, however, were in top physical conditioning, whereas we had several players who would pull a hamstring — sometimes just walking from their car. One guy on our team even pulled his groin a couple of times. But that happened in the dugout, so we asked him to stop.

So why’d we even play? Company bonding, of course. Sometimes, gathering with your co-workers on the field of battle while facing a common enemy brings you closer together. Personally it never happened to us, I’m just saying it happens sometimes.

Plus we learned a lot, like how to work as a team, and how exercise is good for you, and how breaking your femur by sliding into third base at Canyon View Park is not covered by workers’ comp.

All of this is why I’m thinking about playing again. I’ve been invited to join a team that is clearly desperate for players. Even so, I’m sort of worried about injuries.

Before the first game, I definitely plan on doing a lot of warm-ups.

E-mail Steve Beauregard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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