I read in the Daily Announcements that the UTMB Coed Softball League will begin play the week of April 1, 2007, and will run through mid-June with a season-ending championship tournament. (Games are played on the softball fields across from the Alumni Field House, and you can get more information and registration forms from Scott Rein at ext. 76305 or Scott Saxon at ext. 25689. Deadline for registration is April 2, 2007.)
I help coach a Little League team of seven- and eight-years-olds. The kids teach me a lot about myself and about human nature, and one day I’d like to spell out a few of those wonderful lessons. But as the call goes out for UTMB’s long-popular softball league, one lesson sticks: some people are meant to play baseball/softball, and some aren’t. I think I fall in the latter.
It’s not a matter of genetics. I have an uncle who’s a member of a world-series-for-seniors winning softball team. They have a few players in their 80′s. He’s a youngster in his mid-60′s. I didn’t get any of his talent.
It’s not a matter of practice. A few years ago I was part of an office team that tried to be somewhat serious. We had a ringer on the team, the son of a co-worker who went on to fame in the major leagues. The closest I came to distinguishing myself on the field was escorting a colleague to our ER with a shattered foot bone. She was OK but my interest faded.
It resurfaced when my son hit tee-ball age. He liked it. I was being the dutiful dad, helping out, letting him experience the lessons of a team sport. In the process I realized how great all those little kids were, how after a long and hard day at work, they could still make me smile, still make me laugh and enjoy the fading light of a spring evening on the practice field, the feel of a worn leather mitt or the ring of a bat. The day is near when many of these kids will be able to throw better, hit farther, know more about the finer points of baseball. They’ll move on, and maybe I’ll be left with an itch to get my sneakers dusted with the orange clay of the infield.
A colleague mentioned Monday that kickball leagues were a big deal in other parts of the country. Now that sounds interesting, maybe a little more my speed.