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Batter Up


Father’s Day is coming up, and I suppose it’s fair to give the guys one day too. I know most of you deserve much more than one day, even though no one besides the current governor of California has figured out a way to do the seahorse (males get pregnant) thing with humans. But actually that’s OK; to the gestator goes the spoiling, say I.
Anyway, my father’s retired and has more time these days for some of his favorite things, one of the top items being playing softball. Out there in the sunshine, on the green grass, playing with a good group of teammates – Dad loves it.
But since he’s started playing on the senior softball league, I’ve learned it’s not quite the simple pleasure you might imagine. What’s your image of senior softball? Charming, white-haired gentlemen slowly trotting around the bases, kindly shouting “well-played” to cheer on their teammates? Well, forget it. Senior softball is a snake pit.
Senior softball is like little league for retirees, but with some of the players themselves a combination of the worst traits of little league parents and seven-year-olds. The men and a few women get together twice a week for games, and this is serious stuff. You might think people mellow by the time they reach a certain age? Not softball players apparently. Some of those guys are there to win, win, win. You make a mistake, you stand a chance that someone will point it out in strong language. And this is all supposed to be just for fun.
My father takes his softball seriously too, but with good humor, and after playing on a few teams, he was transferred to a team he enjoyed very much. It’s a friendly, supportive gang, and the team members all enjoy playing together. But because they get along so well, they’re really torn when the end of the season rolls around.
You see, in this softball league, if a team has a winning record one season, other teams get to pick off top players to try to even out abilities (and I bet Ayn Rand would have gotten a novel or two out of this league had she retired and taken up softball there). So the friendly group is a strong team, and everyone likes to win, but if they win too much they’ll break up the team. This past season though they lucked out, coming in third, which is good but not high enough for team members to be picked off.
My father, though, got snagged by another team anyway. (He’s quite modest but I figure Dad’s a hot commodity in the senior league; apart from everything else he’s relatively young and thank goodness healthy.) Dad wanted back on his old team, but despite a lot of negotiating and talking among managers and league commissioners and questioning whether it was a legitimate trade and trying other routes and so on and so forth, it looked like he was stuck on the new team for at least a season or two.
Never fear though – there’s a happy ending just in time for Father’s Day. Another player on the new team came back off the disabled roster, sending the team over their player limit, and Dad – probably thanks to a little behind the scenes prodding from the nice team manager – is back on the team he wanted. So Dad’s playing with the family-like gang, which is nice to know when some of his real family is a long, long way away, and everything works out very well – and we’ll just have to not worry about next season until it comes around.
Hope you guys all enjoy your day. Happy Father’s Day.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 3:58 PM | Permalink

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