Friday, May 6, 2011

Softball Wars of 2011...almost over!

Apologies for not blogging since December. I'm very busy in retirement (what's wrong with that statement?). Anyway, after a long-term sub assignment in the Special Needs class I love so much, Geri and I packed up the Prius, with her Kayak on the roof, dog Pepper in the back, and headed for Florida at the end of January. The average temperature in the month there was 75 degrees. Sorry guys if you were in the Mid-Atlantic during that time.

We left at the end of February at 7:30am, temperature at 68 degrees and reached North Carolina 10 hours later, temperature 43 degrees. This did not bode well for the Mid-Atlantic. We arrived home with excellent tans the next day...39 degrees!

Two days later I started my college softball schedule with a double-header at Coppin State University vs Connecticut Central University. Connecticut was traveling south in order to get better weather at the start of their season (haha). At the 4pm game time it was 38 degrees and we were playing a double-header. It got colder and colder and the ladies couldn't feel their fingers after a while. Neither could the umpires. Thank goodness for UnderArmour because I had four layers of that miracle fabric on and was still shaking during the 2nd game. At least behind the plate I had some extra layers on with all the safety equipment we wear. At the conclusion of that event it was 29 degrees and the 2nd game (wouldn't you know it) was a blowout, 8-run rule, but it took us 1 1/2 hours to get to the 5th inning. I never saw a group of college players run for the locker room as fast as they did.

Most of the other D1 games I did were fairly uneventful until I got to the April 13 assignment at the University of Delaware. Their conference pays a pretty good fee for games so the gas and tolls I paid didn't seem to matter much. However, during the morning hours it started to rain and continued raining the entire time I traveled to their stadium. They insisted on playing (their choice) so we started the game in the rain, which began its destruction of the field in short time. We stopped the game 6 times so the maintenance people could apply Turface to the field (drying compound) but to no avail. We finally called the game after over an hour of this mess when one pitcher proceeded to fling several fastballs at batters heads...uncontrollably! On the way back to Towson it stopped raining (after 8 hours). I received a call from Delaware's Conference Office that we would only be paid for one game because we "didn't hang around to see if a 2nd game could be played". Can you believe that?

Then there was the Ivy League assignment at Penn vs Princeton. I got lost in Philadelphia with the directions I was given and arrived at the site 20 minutes before game time. We were supposed to have a 3-man crew but there were only 2 of us. Somehow we made them happy. On the way home I was traveling behind a cement truck who proceeded to throw pebbles on my wife's Prius. It cost $50 to get the window repaired. Another momentous day.

I have to tell you about a game I had the other day which put a cap on this season. I do some high school games once in a while because I enjoy working with young players starting out. The game featured two private school girls' teams that shall go unnamed. I arrived at the field 50 minutes prior to game time, no one was there. 30 minutes prior to the game the visitors showed up. 20 minutes prior to gametime the home team began "sauntering" in. Their coach came up to me and stated that they were having a terrible season and that the girls were losing interest (they were 0-11). Therefore he was going to play the game with modified rules. It would be a 5-inning game with a maximum of 5 runs allowed by each team each inning. I tried to start the game on time but one of the home team players only had one shoe so we had to wait because they only had 9 players. We finally started. One pitcher was throwing a perfect 10-foot arc (it wasn't was fast pitch!). The other pitcher was an Eastern European exchange student and she couldn't understand the strike zone. At one point a girl at bat asked for "time-out" because she heard someone sneeze on the bench and she wanted to say "Bless You". We finally got to the fifth inning after 1 1/2 hours and the home team scored a run to break a tie. They were ecstatic because it was their first win. They screamed and jumped on each other in a pile. However the other coach wanted to protest the game because we stopped it at the 5th inning (his team was 1-11). Apparently he didn't pay attention to the "modified" rules stated in the pre-game conference.

Its lovely being retired and involving myself in all these joyous occasions!

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