Fair anger in adult league softball

The other day I was part of an adult coed softball game as the pitcher and to start this off… I LOVE playing softball and pitching, also. This particular league has double-headers every Wednesday so there were 2 games and when I saw who the umpire was, I committed within myself to just be cool. Go with the flow. Have fun. But this umpire is the most incompetent umpire I’ve ever encountered. Inconsistent, unaware of the rules, I’m sure he’s a nice guy, though. I had no idea the mountain in front of me was too big to climb. But let’s start with the first game.

Actually, Game 1 was fine. Mostly because I was playing outfield, just about as far away from him as possible. It could be that he made some shady calls but I was too far away to see the details of the plays.

Then we get to Game 2. I was moved to pitcher and in hindsight, I should’ve just stayed in the outfield. Being in the infield I was able to see up close his bad calls. The thing is, he was making wrong calls for both teams! So I guess he’s consistent that way?

By the end of the second game he and I (and the opposing team’s pitcher) had words and he asked the captain for my name. Darn it! I was so close to having a controversy-free night! I won’t get into the details of his incompetence because I’ll just get riled up again but what this post is about is the anger that rises up when things don’t go the way I think they should.

I went home proud of myself for the way I was mostly controlled in my conversations with him, instead of just being mean. Trying to define what it is that frustrates me so much is what I wanted to think about after the games. Am I just being too competitive? Am I cruel?? AM I NOT BREEZY ENOUGH?????? I discovered this: it’s not that the umpire is making decisions I disagree with (because that happens in sports all the time), it’s that he was making unfair calls and being disrespectful. I get super fired up when officials aren’t treating people or teams fairly. I’ve always been that way when it comes to fairness and cheating and good ol’ boy stuff. Now I’ll admit, I’ve been competitive my entire life and sometimes (most of the time?) the desire to win and be “right” can overtake my civility. I’ll be the first to admit it’s an ongoing problem but it’s getting better, I promise. The encounter with this umpire, though, wasn’t about me being right. It was about being treated fairly. The other pitcher was involved because in Game 2 he decided to act in a way that breaks rules of the sport but he’s one of those “good ol’ boys” that thinks he can get away with it because he’s friends with the umpire. I called him into a conversation with myself and the umpire and well, neither of them liked what I had to say.

But again, this isn’t about them specifically. I’ll wrap up by saying I’m happy with how I managed my emotions when usually I might get snippy and catty. This time was full of thoughtful, although perhaps not friendly, responses. It still ended with the umpire flexing his “official” muscles and the other pitcher telling me to go home to my mother’s basement. 🙂

Maturity all around.

I’m sincerely hoping this umpire is nowhere near the softball field next week but I’ll be sure to update if he’s scheduled to ruin more games.

-Out of the Wilderness

Volleyball Spotify playlist

Yesterday I posted a playlist designed for your softball games, but below is a list compiled for volleyball, either sand or indoor. While the softball playlist is mostly hip hop, rap, and a few rock songs (music to get you psyched up for homerun hitting, outfield catching, pitcher striking out batters, even in slow pitch), this volleyball list is designed to be chill and mostly relaxed. There is still rap, don’t get me wrong, but it’s about conjuring up good feelings, happiness, and it’s meant to be a compliment to the fun atmosphere that volleyball should be. Check it out and let me know if you have songs that should be on this list!

-Out of the Wilderness

Softball Spotify playlist

Are you in need of an awesome playlist for your sports team? Well, take a look at the playlist I put together for my adult co-ed softball team. The list is ever-changing, but I think this list is a homerun and will make you the unofficial DJ of your sports team. Check it out below or search for me on Spotify and find the most current playlist there.

For a list specifically designed for volleyball, check back tomorrow. This list is more about mostly chill music that’s perfect for background, good vibes.

-Out of the Wilderness

The challenge of being too competitive

I was pitching for my softball team earlier this week and everything was fine until the 2nd of a double header. In the first game, the opposing team’s pitcher was a bit flustered that a few of our hits were right back up the middle. You see, in those scenarios, it’s proper etiquette to make known to the pitcher a sense of penitence for the ball hit back towards him in a way that could cause injury. Basically, hitting it directly towards the pitcher is a no-no, a sports faux pas, an unwritten rule, one that seasoned players recognize and usually adhere to, or follow it up with an apology.

The second game starts and I’m pitching the ball to one of their batters, who happened to be their pitcher… the flustered guy. He lines one to me, shin-level, and I had to flail my body out of the way. No apology. No nothin! In that moment I felt the adrenaline rushing, not just for the hit, but for what it meant. He did it on purpose and no matter what level of competition, that’s not cool.

Did I let it go? Of course not.

So this is my problem: even at 40-years-old, I can’t stand poor sportsmanship and I take most things personally when there’s an attack on me or someone on the team for which I’m playing. Sometimes that’s just not a good idea! Relatedly, I also can’t stand laziness. This pitcher had the trifecta of things I hate: being a poor sport, lazy (he was smoking a cig as he pitched), and arrogance.

After his hit that nearly banged up my legs, I approached him on first base and asked him a simple question. “You’re not going to apologize?” His response: “Apologize for what?”

Sassy britches.

Maybe the title of this post doesn’t exactly reflect where the story went. It’s not necessarily that I’m too competitive, it’s that I expect everyone to be good. To behave. To treat others kindly. And it soooooooooooooo ticks me off when that doesn’t happen on the softball field, football or soccer field, basketball court, or ultimately anywhere a competition is happening.

The solution that I’ve come up with is just to do my best to harness my emotions, still defending myself or my teammates, but not let an opposing player, whomever he or she may be and whatever they’ve done, take me to that dark place where the rage monster lives. Because at the end of the day, we all go back to our homes and feed our dogs, or play with our kids, or turn on Netflix. Nothing gets recorded in American history and, in fact, usually no one besides those on the field or court that night will ever know what happened anyway.

But that pitcher was a turd nugget.

-Out of the Wilderness

 

On skateboarding, softball, and sillyness

It was one of those things where you think to yourself, “I have to do this. I must do this. I will do this!” And now, in hindsight, I should not have done this.

It all started on a warm Wednesday afternoon. The day before, on a warm Tuesday afternoon, I mowed the front yard, so naturally on the next day, I’d mow the back. It takes about 40 minutes behind a push mower I bought from my neighbor years ago. It’s a trusty little mower. I secretly planned to mow half the yard Wednesday, and finish it up on Thursday. Such a secret, I didn’t even tell my dogs! Because we’ve all seen how that can go.


Mowing only half of the backyard was partly due to conserving energy for 2 softball games I had that night, one at 615 and the next at 720. I know softball isn’t exactly physically demanding, but I still like to be energized for running, etc. Anyway, I ended up mowing the entire backyard, which wasn’t the worst decision I made that day.

While I was mowing, I thought to myself, “Hey, I should ride my skateboard to the games tonight.” Now we’re getting really, really close to the worst decision I made that day. Plus, how is riding a skateboard 2.5 miles in any way going to help me conserve energy? I’m so silly. I’m also stubborn, so now that the challenge was out there… there wasn’t really a chance I’d say no.

A couple of hours later I gathered my gear and went through everything mentally. I’d need a backpack, flashlights, water, phone. Check. I left the house and here’s what I realized by the time I arrived at the field 30 minutes later: It was mostly walking! The original plan was to walk the uphills, then ride the downhills and flat spots. Well, there were about 2 flat areas and the hills were steep and horribly positioned. They all seemed to end at an intersection. C’mon man! So I ended up walking up and down the hills.

I only had 2 close calls on the way to the fields: one where I did ride down a hill and needed to make a right, almost sliding into a car because I could barely maintain the turn with the speed I was going. The second was when I fell backwards, landing on my hands and rump. I’m sure someone saw this (I was in a neighborhood) but I didn’t hear any laughter. They were probably just being kind till I was out of ear shot.

I played the two softball games, and was pretty much dreading the ride back home, another 2.5 miles and this trip in the dark. I had a headlamp on the entire time, and flashed a Maglite flashlight when cars were near. So. Much. Walking. But I was determined to ride, so I sometimes pushed the board going uphill. I made it in about 32 minutes but my legs were toast!

Good news: I didn’t fall or have any near collisions this return trip.

Bad news: As I’m typing this post, pretty much every part of my lower body is sore. What a leg workout that was, and for future reference, you will not see me riding the skateboard on Wednesday nights from here on out! I’ll take advantage of the luxury of having a car to ride in, thankyouverymuch!

-Out of the Wilderness