Posted by: husbandandfatheroffour | April 8, 2015

Almost 40, Girls Softball Coach, What Could Go Wrong?

Our minds can play cruel jokes on us sometimes.  Take for example one of the things my mind likes to do, as long as there is no mirror around, is to try and tell me I am still a young 25.  Usually I have to do something or look in a mirror for me to remind myself I am not that spry young 25 anymore.   Well last night was no different.  For those who don’t know me I will be turning 40 this year and I coach Sr. girls youth softball (ages 9-14), and that is where this story starts.

The field is soft and wet due to the rain we had off and on all day.  It is only about 45 degrees outside and practice is winding down.  The girls are cold but are toughing it out because I tell them if they can play when it is cold and wet then they can definitely play when it is warm and sunny.  I want the girls to get some more batting practice in so I go ahead and start pitching to them all the while harassing them while they are at the plate by telling them I am going to strike them out and how good the breeze feels when they swing and miss.  I get down to my 3rd to last batter and there is a runner on first and third.  I throw the first pitch and a big whiff as she swings.  On the second pitch is when it all goes down!

I release the ball and it is headed to the plate and will be a perfect strike.  The batter’s eyes light up as they see this ball come towards them and they know this is the one they are going to get a hold off and just launch it to the outfield.  As she starts her swing her form seems to be perfect and in line to crush the ball.  As the ball starts to cross the plate and the bat is coming around to meet it, the batter for some reason takes her eyes off of the ball at the last second causing her to raise her bat just a little.  As she swings for the fence the bat makes contact with the ball but instead of hearing the solid crack of the bat we instead hear a softer ping as she hits the top of the ball.  The ball falls in front of the plate and starts to slowly roll just to the right of the third base line in fair territory.  It only rolls a few feet before it stops.  At that moment is where my mind tells me I am 25. 

I look over to third base to see if the girl is going to try and score on me.  One look over and I knew she was going to run, in fact I believe her eyes said; “there is no way you will get me old man!”  I take off towards the ball at the same time she takes off for home plate.  As I get closer and closer to the ball my mind is telling me, “See I told you so.  You are young and agile and this girl is going to pay thinking she can score on you!” 

As I get to the point in my run where all I need to do is bend down and pick up the ball while in running stride to get an easy out, everything starts to go terribly wrong.  I start my bend downwards to pick up the ball and my mind says, “Oops I was just kidding, you are not young or agile!”  All of the sudden my body starts to shake and shudder, you know like on those videos of people doing motorcycle tricks and right before they crash the bike shakes violently and then they crash.  My feet suddenly start to forget how to go in front of one another as I am running and in fact the heels of my feet seem to miraculously start kicking me in the ass with every stride I was taking.   I was now becoming top heavy and my head seemed to be in a race with my glove to see who could get to the ball first.  I am somehow able to scoop up the ball with my glove but I am still heading down towards the ground and it is all becoming terrifying for me now.  My right hand can’t move fast enough to stop the fall and all of this is happening as I see the runner in the corner of my eye getting ready to go by me.  I have but only one option left!

By the grace of God I am able to get my feet to line up the way I need them too and with a mighty thrust I lift myself in the air to attempt a diving tag.  I thought, “Wow this is going to be a great play and a great lesson to the girls to never give up on a play.”  Well you know in the cartoon The Road Runner, in every episode there is a part where Wile E. Coyote is getting ready to do something stupid but doesn’t realize it until it is too late and there is that one second pause where he looks like, “Oh crap!” and then bam.  Yeah that was me.  With my outstretched glove trying to make the tag I realized something very important.  When I made that mighty thrusting leap the top half of my body was still heading towards the ground!

While I hung there in mid flight that one second pause seemed to be an eternity.  I had enough time to get my eyes to look up and notice that the tag wasn’t even going to be close.  The pause button seemed to be released just after the runner running by me looked down with a smile on her face and in Road Runner fashion said, “Beep, Beep.”  As I looked back down I am also pretty sure I saw an ant with a cardboard sign that read, “The End is Near!”  This was going to be bad!

My face hit the ground first bouncing up and down a couple of times like the wheels of a plane when it lands.  What’s ironic about that is that in a plane it is the back wheels that land first not the front.  Second to hit the ground with a mighty thud was my midsection.  As it hit, my slide across the sand started.  My face dug in hard and deep trying with all its might to slow down the skid.  I tried applying the emergency brakes but my arms thought they better served me flapping around in the air, like they were confused and thought I was trying to fly instead of landing.  Finally with a thunderous crash my knees came crashing down, sticking as if that part of the diamond had hands and where trying to pull my pants off of me.  At that time the thought did occur to me that just maybe I should have worn a belt as I felt them starting to slip away from my waist! 

With a final effort my head did its best and dug in as deep as it could and it worked.  All of the sudden the front of my body came to a complete halt and the back, well…Lets just say it was as if those hands in the diamond decided they didn’t want to pull my pants off so they let go allowing the back half of my body to slingshot forward.  In a split second I went from an out of shape 40 year old man to a professional body contortionist as my feet flew pass my butt and over my shoulders, moving back and forth as if they were waving to them as they passed by.  They finally arrived at their destination, the back of my head.  They stomped on it to make sure that my head was firmly planted into the ground and then immediately returned to their proper location.  For a few seconds I just lay there hoping I would wake up from this nightmare but no such luck. 

There was nothing I could do but to use every bit of strength and courage I could muster and stand up.  Once I was up and steady on my feet I started to spin around to see every player and coach looking at me with there jaws dropped and eyes wide open.  I looked down to see my jeans ripped, my shoe torn apart, and my clothes muddier than if I were to have let a pig wear them.  As I continued to look at everyone I preceded to spit the sand and dirt from my mouth.  I could tell no one wanted to say anything so I did. 

“She’s out!” and I dropped the ball from my glove like a boss.  I knew I didn’t even come close but no one disputed it as I wobbled off the field like a penguin because I was afraid if I moved any part of my body it would fall off.

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Responses

  1. O-M-G! I am laughing so hard and loud I’m sure the people in the next room are wondering what’s going on. I am laughing and crying at the same time. Oh Jeff, are you entertain me so much. You sure paint a vivid picture with your words.


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