Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Second Childhood

Pictures for you

It came as something of a surprise last night when I found myself, after work, stopping at the local Shopko and, after a serpeginous route that took me past the sunscreen, bug repellent and little girls' sundresses (sale! $3.99 a piece--to replace the ones that have shrunk in the wash to Hollywood starlet length) standing in front of the baseball mitts, my real reason for stopping.

Me. Baseball mitts. Me. The one who spent her school years dreading the hours spent in PE, where balls were frequently thrown. Balls combined with poor hand-eye coordination, thick glasses and jeering classmates rarely lead to happy, smiling outcomes, except in trite family-oriented movies. Rest assured, there were no game winning saves in my PE history, only years of scheming how to have the fewest times at-bat or at-serve or at-pummelling as possible:

  • For softball, you make sure you are last in line to bat and, as able, discretely trade places with the athletic kids in line behind you who want to move up in line. It goes without saying that you go waaaaaaaaaay out in left field when it's time to switch sides.
  • For volleyball, you place yourself at the front of the net in the spot you rotate to AFTER you serve (I think it's front left).
  • For basketball, you pass the ball as soon as you touch it and never make eye contact with the person with the ball, so they don't throw it at you.
  • For dodge ball (the worst!), you get yourself hit as soon as possible, sometimes even faking it so you can go to the sidelines and, again, swap places with those who want to get back in, making sure you basically stay toward the middle-end (but not conspicuously at the very end) of the line.

I actually liked soccer, but we rarely played it. This was the '70s, people. Soccer (OK, yes. 'Football' for the civilized world.) was not played by middle-class, red-blooded American children.

So, back to standing in the middle of the baseball mitt aisle. I then proceeded to spend 20 minutes trying on all the sizes and models, finally deciding on that particular glove, above, being suspiciously examined by Mad-Kitty.

My very own first baseball mitt, at the age of 42. After I got home, we all went outside and played catch, liberally covered in bug spray, until Sara got unbearably cranky and Charles got tired. After years of trying unsuccessfully to ignite a passion for soccer in the small ones, we find that baseball seems to be our family's game. It goes without saying that I now love playing it.

Go figure. I still can't throw to save my life and I am at a 2nd grade level when it comes to catching and batting, but I'm having fun! with a ball! and coordinating the hands and eyes!

Never too late to indulge yourself or continue your childhood. I will draw the line at dodge ball, though. Some scars run too deep.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Jocelyn said...

Ah, look at you! We're in the midst of a season of softball, too, but our yard games usually have six bases and adults having to throw the ball at runners with eyes closed. No mitt for me, though. I throw and catch with the same hand (a lefty to the last).

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eeekkk!!! Diana with a lust for a ball game??? I used to pitch batting practice to her sister, but only managed to remove all desire to hit "the long one" from Gail. Keep up the softball/baseball urges and I will be out someday to play my usual Right Field where no balls ever go.

The Ole RF-er

2:49 PM  
Blogger moegirl said...

Way to go! I too, avoided the PE action (except basketball, where I lead my team in offensive fouls in 8th grade) I'm appreciating baseball more as I get older. I used to think it was too boring.

1:07 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

How fun for you!! I wasn't the athletic type either. I tried to play on my junior high school softball team but never took it serious enough to have any clue what to do. Basically I sucked and probably still do. Now ice skating I can still do and love love love it.

8:03 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I am so not the atletic type. I went to an all girl HS and gym was a little more taylored towards volleyball, sfotball and basketball. But around March when the teacher got sick of the whining we would play badmitton (Love it) and croquet!

11:00 AM  
Blogger Dumdad said...

Not only is your blog entertaining (it must be, you were one of the first blogs I ever read over a year ago and I've been back ever since), it is also educational:

"a serpeginous route"

I had to look that word up and it doesn't exist! But "serpiginous" does and now I know. Thank you, I must try to weave that into one of my posts one day.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Ditto on the ball phobia during the formative years. I am impressed that
you have overcome yours to enjoy quality outdoor time with your family. When I first started to read the post I actually thought perhaps you had joined a team!

10:54 PM  
Blogger Coffee-Drinking Woman said...

Volleyball, I adore. Softball, not so much. Pop flies make me duck and cower. I'm better at about shortstop, where the balls come straight at your face/knees/chest, and your self-preservation instinct kicks in and you actually catch the things, or at least bat them down ...

Soccer - I mostly played fullback.

dodgeball? Oh ugh. I walked into So Wonderful You Can't Believe It Daycare the other day, and a bunch of kids were in the big gym playing dodgeball, and I had horrible, horrible flashbacks

9:56 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

My husband and I played Slow Pitch for The Odd Couples Team and it was such fun even though I was no good at all! When I was in gr. 5, I was captain of The Tiger Tails team and we wore cool tiger tails on our belt loops from Esso gas... (Put a tiger in your tank! You're too young to know that ad!)

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Slick said...

Ha! You're right...it's never too late to indulge!

8:44 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

My way of dealing with softball? Teaming up with two of the more athletic people on my team to be third to bat and considered an easy out by the other team. They were so busy concentrating on me that my two teammates were able to get two home runs without any notice.

I like watching baseball but I really don't like participating in any sports. Except swimming and I'm not so hot at that. But I can dog paddle pretty decently.

I love your posts. And the picture of Mad-kitty is perfect.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous stepping over the junk said...

I like WATCHING baseball...softball I liked playing but had a love-hate relationship with it because I stunk at it.

10:57 AM  
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