No one in the world – literally, no one – was happier to see high school start more than I was.
There’s only so much baseball and softball you can take before you start having nightmares about little leaguers chanting “Three-two, whatcha gonna do?” or “We want a single, just a little single.” After three solid months of hearing those sounds coming from the dugout on a nightly basis, I constantly felt like I was in one of those Freddie Kruger dreams where the jump-roping girls are singing “One, two, Freddie’s coming for you.” It was frightening, really.
Thankfully, I can sleep again now.
But along the way, between night terrors and crazed parents threatening umpires who blew calls in 10-year-old softball games, I had a baseball-type moment of my own that featured very little chanting, yet still kept me tossing and turning in my bed.
I should clarify – by “baseball-type moment,” I mean competing in a men’s softball league. Since no Major League scouts have come calling lately (or ever), adult softball is about the only way to shed a little competitive energy and keep involved athletically as I, and my friends, get older. There’s golf and tennis, I suppose, but those are individual sports, and sometimes they’re basically just leisure activities. Playing adult softball makes you feel – almost – like you’re playing baseball again. It gets you fired up, and there’s the camaraderie of playing for a team. It all comes rushing back as soon as you put a glove on.
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I play in the North Kingstown league, but the Warwick leagues are very serious, and they send their results in to the paper almost weekly. If it wasn’t so much fun, there wouldn’t be tons of people playing it in towns and cities all over this state, and in states all over the country. There’s even a World Series held every year.
Simply put, adult softball is a blast.
Last season, some buddies and I put a team into the NK league with mixed results. We named ourselves The Moose (don’t ask – there isn’t a back story. We just liked the name), and promptly failed to secure a sponsor for the team.
While everybody else in the league was named after car companies or pizza joints, we were named after an enormous mammal that occasionally totals cars in upper New England.
So right off the bat, we were off to a good start.
We ended up coming in third in the regular season and were swept out of the playoffs in the semifinals in year one. This year, though, we were determined to take a big step forward.
We did well. We won most of our regular season games, finishing second in the league. In the semifinals, we won our first game of the best-of-three series, got absolutely killed in our second game and then bounced back to win the deciding third game.
That put us in the finals against Filippou’s Twisted Pizza, the top seed in the regular season and a team that had won its first semifinal game by some ridiculous score like 34-4. We were clearly underdogs (undermoose?).
So what did we do? Well, we scored 11 runs in the second inning of game one to take a commanding lead, picked up a victory and then came back two days later and won again, winning the title with a 7-5 victory.
Was it the same level as the U.S. hockey team shocking the USSR in the 1980 Olympics? Perhaps not, but we celebrated like it was. It was a little bit foreign – and awesome – to have that feeling once again of athletic achievement, as trivial and unathletic as the achievement actually was.
Since that day, two full weeks ago, the championship trophy has sat in my apartment, but I expect that we’ll soon start passing it around like the Stanley Cup. It seems like the logical thing to do. The excitement still hasn’t worn off.
I think the moral to the story here is pretty simple – you’re never too old, or young, to enjoy the benefits that come along with competitive sports. I cover sports for a living, and I see the good that comes out of them. Occasionally, I play them too, and I also get to be a part of the good.
And the best part is, my team doesn’t know a single chant.
Kevin Pomeroy is the assistant sports editor at the Warwick Beacon. He can be reached at 732-3100 and firstname.lastname@example.org.