Every American male loves to compete. When we were younger, we had different sports in high school. That evolved into intramural sports in college. That was when we were still in shape and our joints still had all the fluid in them. But what to do when you graduate and get a job and a gut? Where do you go when you no longer work out and by in “shape” you mean that you can fit into your pants. Why, you join a softball team of course!
Welcome to Men’s D league and Team Beer. As the league implies, there are 3 other divisions that are better than us. We make no bones about not wanting to practice and warm-up. We realize who we are: A bunch of over 30 has beens who have enough metal in our leg braces to build the Golden Gate Bridge. Yes, we are out of shape and way past our prime. The south shall rise again!
Our first game was this weekend and it didn’t fail to live up to expectations. Our wives and girlfriends came and they have a motto for the season. It’s not a good year unless someone goes to the emergency room. Keeping on that vein, we lost both our starting pitchers before the first inning was over. Busted ankle and a hyper extended knee. It’s funny when the wives come out to watch. They have their own little world out there that scares me.
They have a rule that they break all new wives in with. In the event of an injury you do 2 things. Either go get the car for the trip to the emergency room or get some ice. Never, ever, go on the field. I wish that I could say that there was some mantra or reason to this, but instead it is from lack of concern. Usually when one of us go down I can hear a “Oh lord, what did he do?” from the bleachers. They realize that their husbands are not in shape but can’t give up the glory days. It is a more “I told you so, you fat old bastard” kind of attitude. In the course of our playing we have had several stitches, a broken arm, and one softball to the face. That last one hurt but it was very cool to watch. We are a little sadistic.
We actually have one wife that brings the actual score book to each game and tracks our stats. This scares the crap out of me because I know it may be used as cause for my dismissal. And you can’t bribe her, I’ve tried. Yes, you may have just hit into a double play which sums up your 0 and 4 game but is that reason to get rid of you? Yes, and she is a meticulous record keeper. I imagine her home is covered with snapshots of our faces and our stats posted underneath us. She thinks “Well, Johnny is in a slump, time to send him out to pasture.” Poof, you’re gone. That is how our team slowly evolved form the Expo’s of softball to the Yankees. A lot good friends gone, a lot of good friends gone, I don’t like to talk about it.
Our game style mirrors our conditioning, which is non-existent. I asked what one guy did over the winter break. His reply was “Smoke and sit on the couch.” Thus our team name: Beer. That’s how we roll. We are out of shape and not the least bit embarrassed by it. Sure, other’s can hit an inside the park home run but that fun has no equal to when a 275 pound man steals second on you. We rub that in without mercy. If anyone threw anything over the break, it was dice in Vegas. We have no shame.
Our first game was good, but not without it’s highlights. I was on second base because of my cat like reflexes. If the cat was dead. I don’t have the range of motion that I used to, mostly due to my glass-like ankles. I sprain them walking and the next day requires a tube of ben gay and ice. I was having a good game that topped off with my Sportscenter highlight. I dove for a ball, I imagine me in slow motion, the expression of victory on my brow. Full out dive, it was beauty. About half way through my ESPY nomination is when I noticed that my pants were coming down with each extra inch. Slowly, Mr. Peepers was coming out to play with the crowd. Undaunted, I made the play. The ump, and I kid you not, yelled “Out at second” and pointing at my full moon “and Out at his pants.” I mooned the wives. Several swooned. Team Beer in full Glory.
Our right fielder is also our team manager. He is not the greatest player, at his own admission. But he does something that is crucial to any good team. He is great at paperwork. No kidding, this guy can do paper work until the cows come home. He takes money, makes sure everyone shows up and is not afraid to make the tough call. Unfortunately, he plays like he is swatting gnats. He did redeem himself this weekend though. It was a high fly to right. He begins what I call the Team Beer Tap Dance. His feet start to go in all directions at once. Listen to the song “Humpty Dance” and apply baseball to it. That’s my boy. He comes up too quick, mutters an Oh shit, back peddles and closes his eyes. His arms shoot out and plop, he makes the catch. I have no idea how. God loves Team Beer, that is all I can think of. The whole team jumps for joy, panties are thrown from the stands, kids begin to buy his jersey, it is mayhem. He then fills out the appropriate form to apply for the minor leagues.
We are a very humorous team that takes no prisoners. We rip on each other more than the other team. For example, when two guys over 250 pounds get on base, we call that the Double Whooper, the batter is the cheese. We dare people to turn double plays when the manager puts all 4 fat guys back to back in the line up. He loves doing this, makes the whole team laugh. God help you if you strike out. Good for us, we do this quite often. I took a big whiff myself this weekend. No contact, eyes closed but followed by the huge grunt. The standing rule: I now have to buy the next round.
We actually have a few actual athletes on the team that carry the rest of us. It’s their temperaments that we have to watch out for. One guy throws bats. Even when he’s not angry. When he is, I duck behind my wife for the fear of a fungo being tossed at my head. You would think that this guy would be ejected. Nope. The only guy we have ever had ejected was the nicest, most straight shooting guy we have. He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke, he hits home runs, and he got tossed. The offense? He said bullcrap. That was the word. We have guys dropping the F bombs like it’s Omaha beach, but they don’t get tossed. Mr. Bullcrap got his though. He should learn to smoke during the innings as most of team does, it calms us.
No one beats Mr. Full Swing Bunt guy though, FSB for short. This happens to be my brother in law. He is not a small man and can look very intimidating when he swings. There is a big grunt and his eyes are closed. It’s like he’s swinging at a piñata with the blindfold on. The whole infield takes a step back only to realize a moment later that he just tipped it and the ball is slowly rolling three feet. Then the horses are off and it’s fun to see him try to leg it out as the defense fumbles to figure out what has just happened. It’s a whirlwind of comedy.
We won our first game, only two injuries that I am aware of. I’m stiff and sore but I remember that chicks dig scars and glory last forever. My daughter came over and I was excited to see if what she saw. Much to my dismay, she has been eating dirt the entire game. Then I realize she is the perfect mascot for Team Beer.