Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Champs or Chumps

There's a co-worker at the big box that signs the bi-weekly paychecks that approached me several months ago while snow still tapped various street signs and sidewalks to play softball for a team mostly comprised of fellow cube dwellers who get 10% off their favorite store that you enter but cannot physically walk away with just the items on your shopping list.

"I'm retired" I told him in my best Kurt Russell playing Wyatt Earp voice

But, this was around the time stress in the house really started to fall off and better days were showing ahead. After a brief nod from the wife that playing again would be fun, and give the kids a chance to mock their father as he picked up a "sport" that let me touch the feeling he had growing up on the diamond throwing a ball from 60 feet 6 inches with hopes that the unfortunate batter wasn't maimed from the errand inside fastball.

Eventually with incentives of a virgin a day with bedside drink service for a year at the most posh Motel 6 he could find, I relented. He had played softball for 20 years without sniffing the smell of a freshly minted trophy or my favorite free t-shirt emblazed with the sport bar waitress panty-dropping words "LEAGUE CHAMPIONS".

This team was different from those he assembled in the past, players were recruited and omitted for a shot at fielding a team with a shot at taking home those wearable ego boosters that are important to no one but those who don them. The average height and weight for the batters 1 thru 7 was 6'2" 210 lbs. and six of those guys could hit home runs. Unlike teams in his past where a home run over the lengthy 310 foot fences came on a fluke 25 mph wind blowing straight out night, these guys could hit some when it counted, wind aided or not.

Fast forward to two weeks ago, the team goes 10-1, crushing most teams with one game remaining against a team who posted a 9-2 record. A loss meant no t-shirt, and a very sad co-worker. Immediately we fall behind by a few runs giving up 6 in the first, and fall behind 16-6 in the bottom of the fifth.

But, something clicked as the top of the order was up and both batters ahead of me got on and I managed to not screw-up my role and hit a ball that if you've ever split a fairway with length where the ball barely tickled the club, thrown the perfect spiral on a fly pattern, or shot from 3-point range and immediately headed back up court without looking because you knew it was perfect, that's how the ball traveled. The best feeling in softball/baseball aside from those parking lot beers after the game, is hitting a ball so the outfielders cement their feets and just watches the ball travel over their heads landing somewhere in the grain behind the fence.

A couple more home runs and hits, and we found ourselves winning 18-16 going into the last inning due to time constraints. They would blank and gruffy umpire would call the game since we were the home team and didn't need to bat as the field timer ran to zero and free swag makes this guy very happy.

The story behind this one, would you break up a team for the sake of winning just one time? In this case my co-worker didn't have to choose much as we were already friends outside the office along being friends with some of the added players.

But, a relavent question to this site... if the poker bloggers were to have a Dream Team-type event, would you find yourself choosing the team that would have the most fun. Or the one who is more likely to take home the bricks of cash?

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