You know how you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Yeah, it’s pretty much the same with the old guys of the world. They think they can do all the same things in their 50-year-old body as they did as a teenager. Like play softball.
This is the third year my husband has played softball. Don’t think I’m being cruel with my title. He’s the one who told me their team plays in “the old men’s league.” In his defense, he’s the oldest guy on his team this year.
Or maybe that didn’t really help my case *shrugs*
Every Tuesday night in August and September, teams of men gather on the recreational fields around the Hillsboro Stadium. They bring their gloves. They laugh and joke, tossing the ball around to warm up.
Some of them are still trying to fit into the baseball pants they wore in high school. You know the ones that are fitted like leggings? Not a pretty sight. Don’t they know those have gone out of style anyway? (Billy Joel would.)
Each week, the teams play two games. There are early games: 6:30 and 7:30 pm. Late games at 8:30 and 9:30 pm let them play under the lights. I’m a supportive wife (or I just want to get out of the house), so I go to the early games. This generally means dinner at a restaurant – another vote in favor of attending the games.
It certainly has nothing to do with the comfortable seating. Those aluminum bleachers have ridges on them that I can still feel beneath my portable (and stylish) stadium seat. It makes a 55 minute game seem to last twice as long.
My youngest son attended with me the first week. His commentary delighted and entertained. We both agreed that matching shirts were a thing. If you didn’t have them, you would lose.
Some teams have a crowd of spectators to rival the Giants. These ladies bring their own camp chairs and snacks for their army of children. I admire them. I would never have brought my toddlers to these games; I would spend all my time watching them – and that’s much easier at home.
My husband plays third base. “We’ve noticed the worst player gets to be catcher,” my son says. In little league days, that honor went to the second baseman. We watch him miss a line drive and overthrow first base. Maybe he’s the second-worst player in Old Man Softball.
The second week, my older son and his girlfriend sit at the game with me. Why not? We bought them dinner at P.F. Chang’s beforehand.
Not as many announcer-worthy asides at this game, but still plenty of conversation. Speculation about the ages of some of the players. Trying to match the spectators with the men in the dugout. Amazingly, there are a handful of people (aside from us) cheering for our team.
With scores like 33-3 and 16-4, it’s plain to see this isn’t the big leagues. It’s not even the medium-large league – unless you’re talking player size.
My husband has his moments. Catching a line drive, hitting in two runs and even forgetting where he put his mitt. While all these moments are memorable, not all of them are happy. Who wants to strike out or overthrow first base? Not my guy.
I’m thankful my husband can join in the fun. It gets him outside and gives me the opportunity to eavesdrop on a new crowd (always the writer).
Do you have a hobby or sport you’ve given up because it seems to belong to younger people? What sort of league would you form?