Batter Up!

The hard truths of soft ball. 

Words by Carly Heffernan carly1

Something’s different about me. I’ve changed since last we spoke. No, I didn’t finally find the courage to try bangs or use that Groupon for aqua kickboxing. I didn’t find my twin flame or start a charity for single people in their 40s. Let me be honest with you, gentle and attractive reader, I didn’t see anything breathtaking, read anything life-changing and I’ll probably never witness a birth.

What I did is something you may have done too. Something that seemed like a good idea at the time but by now has taken its toll. It’s left me a small, shaken and pretty badly sunburnt version of my former self. You know of what I speak. You know what I did this summer… I signed up for softball.”You’ll love it!” “It’s just for fun, it’s a beer league!” These are the devious deceits your
enemies—sorry, “co-workers”—will whisper in your ear until they have you and your $100 registration fee firmly under lock and key. Lies!

Let’s start with lie number one. “Love”? Love is defined as taking great pleasure in something. I love white wine spritzers. I love guys who dress like they own boats. I do not love softball. No one finds “great pleasure” in having balls fly at their face unless their organized activity of choice is an orgy. I’ve been placed at second base and must be in some devil-loving demon league; there are so many left-handed hitters I’m seeing more second-base action than a Super 8 Motel near a high school on prom night. It’s awful.

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 3.36.56 PMI have to stay in a semi-permanent deep squat, I get sweatier than a tween at his first boy/girl party, and after all that hellish commotion comes the worst part: batting. I look like an anemic childcontinually missing my birthday piñata at the plate. Nothing in the world is more frustrating than not being able to hit an oversized, neon green ball that a teammate is tossing as slowly and accurately as he or she can. Also, I think I’ve pulled my groin which sounds 100 percent sexier than it feels. So no, I am not loving it!

Then, the second lie: “Just for fun.” When I think of fun I think of me, a young Leonardo DiCcaprio and the Pizza Hut lunch buffet. I don’t think of being screamed at by a 45-year-old man who’s been barred from coaching Little League to “look alive out there”!

How could I have been so stupid? How could I have been taken in by those two seductive little words: beer league? It’s true, beer and balls sound like a winning combination for any summer Saturday but not at softball. Adding booze to amateur athletics is like adding speed to an auctioneering convention—it’s too much! By the third inning there are more F-bombs being dropped in the outfield than pop-ups, and I don’t care if they’re off the clock: it’s always weird to hear HR people cuss like 18th-century sailors. Dirt gets kicked, gloves get thrown and last week I saw a man ride a baseball bat like a horse for seven minutes straight!

I’ve only played three games but already my confidence is shot, my faith in humanity wanes and my groin is on fire in a terrible, terrible way. So learn from my mistakes gentle and very attractive reader, I’ve only made a few. Don’t talk to strangers in Windsor, don’t dance in public after five glasses of anything, and never, ever sign up for softball.

Carly Heffernan is an actor, writer, improvisor, and alumni of Second City Toronto. She was a member of the award-winning Sketchersons and continues to party onstage at various comedy venues. 

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