Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I never would have been a contender

Iris Uber Alles is playing baseball.

She is probably as good now, as I ever was. The only consolation is that IN MY DAY there was no T ball, no softball, and to the best of my recollection, very little actual coaching. The only advice I remember was "Just let your bat meet the ball." (But of course I still closed my eyes and swung like mad at the first 3 pitches.)

Part of the problem may have been the mandatory nature of my participation. I was asked by maternal parent unit if I wanted to play baseball like my two studly brothers before me, who had clothed themselves in glory with their multi sport prowess.

I declined, and was signed up anyway. (For my own good)

My 45+ year old memories are limited, but include the following.

By observation, I realized I was the 2nd worse player in the league...until the worst one quit.

Some idiot, during a practice, decided to try me at catcher, where I took a pitch right in the forehead, knocking me out for the first time in my life. I'd like to think it wasn't the very first pitch, but I can't remember much.

Banished to right field, I was reasonably content, I lucked out and got assigned to a very good team, (The Cardinals!) which eventually went on to win the championship...without me. Because they had an extra player, when the previously mentioned worst player quit, I got sent to his team. Fate having a sense of humor, caused that team to be sponsored by the local mortuary, meaning they of course had black and white uniforms. They were perennially the worst team with the worst morale.

So who did we play my first game? Remember fates sense of humor? My old team naturally. Did the "coach" tell my old teammates ahead of time? No way! So I had to keep explaining why I was wearing the "wrong" uniform. My only fond memory of this time was that most of my old teammates were righteously indignant for me.

I played a couple of games before I decided that my brothers had used up all the sports glory for our family. (but I was wrong) Without even consulting parental unit, I called up, quit, and arranged to return the uniform.

Many years later, I got a job with Parks & Rec, and spent some time COACHING! "Just let your bat meet the ball". I did have a moment of glory when a game of slow pitch was arranged between the maintenance crews and the playground directors. I was the winning pitcher! (in slow pitch the idea is for the team to hit the ball) Maintenance had all these huge apes who would swing for the non existant fences. Our fielders would stand as far out as they had to to catch the balls. A bloop over the infield would have been a home run, but they kept hitting them long.

My oldest brother became quite a hero (linebacker) in High School football, and I was of a size that I had potential to be a good lineman, and based on my brother's performance I got a lot of pressure to play.

I joined the band instead. (First chair Alto and Baritone Sax)


  1. Hey I am right there with you. I did not have a stellar Little Leauge career. Getting thrown out from the outfield on at first and so on and so on. I only had fun my last two years, but I was in a lower level (Senior Minors) and playing against kids younger than me, but at least there I could compete. I think if I was still playing at that level I could still be crushing it. Good times.

  2. OMG, you were knocked out??? That is terrifying.

    You'd love Iris Uber Alles's league: there are no strikes. The coaches pitch, and they pitch and pitch and pitch and pitch and pitch and pitch and pitch until each child gets a hit. Some of the kids are actually very good, but some are completely disinterested (maternal or paternal units have signed them up). And then there's my child, who just wants to dance around and socialize on the field.

  3. Well it WAS hardball after all. I wish I had danced in the outfield, or at least felt comfortable enough to.