Monday, August 07, 2006
The softball league I play in on Sundays is a good league. The people who play in it are competitive but friendly. It's just about the perfect mix of those two elements.
I have been a player in this league for twelve years and I was a manager for nine plus of those years.
This has easily been the worst season of the twelve.
Yesterday was the absolute low point of the twelve years. My team, the B2-Bombers, forfeited both ends of a doubleheader. Out of a sixteen man roster, six players showed up by the start of game one. As I was going home, a half hour after the scheduled starting time, two more drove into the parking lot of Smith Field.
As you know by now, I have no life. I was at the field by 7:30 for a 9:00 doubleheader. I warmed up, did stretches, ran a little bit - all of the stuff someone who cares about his performance does earlier and more often when he gets to be 49. The second guy on our team showed up at around 8:40. By that time, the other team had 14 players there, taking infield and batting practice and throwing with each other.
What happened yesterday with the team is pitiful, but I'm even more so for caring as much about it as I do.
I can say with absolutely no question of being contradicted that I've spent more time working to make this team a winner than anybody else on the team, past or present.
I can say with no doubt, and no regret, that I have given everything I have had to give in every game. I may not be the most talented player on the field, but nobody has left as much of himself on the field as I have. Maybe somebody has given as much, but not more.
And I can say without a doubt that if I keep on writing this drivel, nobody will care. If anyone cared, they'd have been there yesterday. They'd have been there with at least time to warm up properly. The five guys, aside from myself, who showed up by game time are good fellows, but none of them were there in time to warm up properly, really. They have their reasons, of course, and probably good ones, too. Like, maybe they have lives...
But yesterday was still pitiful, no matter what.
I'm not the manager anymore, so this shouldn't eat at me like it does. Can't help it, though. I'm a team guy. Always have been, always will be. I'll tell you this - if I was still the manager, I'd tell every person on the roster that if they didn't show by one hour before game time next week, then they may as well not bother showing up next year. And if that left me with just me on the roster, so be it. I'd field an entirely new team.
This team should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. I know that, for the first time in twelve years, I'm ashamed to show up at the field and call myself a Bomber.
I've been on less-talented teams. I've been on teams that had hideous won-loss records. I've been on teams that finished last before. But I've never been ashamed to be part of a team before. This year I am.
I'm going to let everybody on the roster know about what I've written here. I'm not hiding my feelings from anyone. And every single one of them will have an excuse. Some of them will be legit. Some of them won't. But every single person on the roster will think that his excuse is legit. Whatever.
And if somebody thinks I'm an asshole, I don't care. I've earned the right to be an asshole. I've put more of my time and effort and sweat into this team than anybody else. Feel free to call me whatever you want, guys, but my conscience is absolutely clear.
If you want to answer me, don't use words. Don't just talk about it. Show up next week and reclaim whatever pride you can. I'll be there at 7:30, waiting for you.
But it might be the last time.