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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

End of the Softball Season

So today I learned the difference between "loath" and "loathe". How the heck did I miss that for all these years? And why do I keep discovering embarrassing gaps in my knowledge like this? Perhaps I need to start reading books... I hear that's where people learn stuff. One thing new readers should know is that you can click on the underlined text to link to something else... often a photograph.
But that's not what I came here to tell you about...

The real deal is that JCC softball is finally finished for the Summer... and though it ended in more of a whimper than a bang, it was an interesting year for me. This was a year that came with a lot of high expectations... I hit the weightroom in the off-season hoping to hit the ball with more power... And after a 8-0 start, my JFS team was supposed to contend for the title. Meanwhile the HappyHour team was sure to win their league championship. But alas, none of these things happened. I injured my finger in the first game (loyal Stave It Off readers will remember the litany of sports injury reports this summer) and never felt healthy all year long. Two of the last three games I actually played high on painkillers. I suffered a nasty shin injury mid-season, and limped through the final game on a pulled calf muscle. But the more intense part of the year came on a metaphysical level.

This year the JCC suffered league-wide sportsmanship issues. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to be as positive as possible, supporting both my own team as well as the umpire and the opposing players. I attempted to keep my focus on playing hard and congratulating effort wherever it came from, but I also spent a lot of time frustrated at my own sloppy play. I was also increasingly impatient with my teammate's errors and pretty angry about the lack of team skill parity within the divisions. There were fewer close games this year than ever before... most games were a blowout by one team or the other (which isn't much fun for anyone.) I don't know why I had so many frustration issues this year... probably because I wasn't healthy enough to just enjoy myself. Whatever it was, at least I felt proud of the way the season ended.

We lost our final game to a team we had just beat two days before. And even though we coughed it up in a frustrating way (mostly due to one terrible 15-run inning... "somebody please... stop the bleeding!") we never turned on each other, we kept a sense of humor, we kept playing hard, we honestly congratulated the other team on their goodplay and they did likewise. And when it was over, they bought us beer in what was probably the greatest single act of sportsmanship all year long. But why did they want to buy us beer? Because we were the best group of good-losers they played all year long!

So I'm sorry to any teammates who didn't get pictured here... you were great to play with this year. Hope to see everyone next year... Ned, Sam, Mike, Rachel, Lorraine, Lindsey, Joel O., Brave, Arik, Joel N., Eric, Selina, Renee, Kory, Paul and Todd.

And maybe we'll see another miracle... like Joel Neyer hitting a grandslam! As proof of this event, here he is exploding out of the box after his long ball stroke. _Photography



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