I pulled into the parking lot with my brother and Pandy in tow. We all grabbed our bags, water bottles and cleats and piled out of the car. We headed across the footbridge through the cool night air toward the dusty diamond. The overhead lights shone brightly on the grassy outfield and chalky outlines. Tonight was our first game. We were to be the feature game on opening night. Kicking off a league of 160+ players and showing em’ how it’s done.
It was opening night for Denver’s premiere kickball league and I was a team captain who, of course, was running a bit late.
My team was waiting patiently outside of the dugout for their uniforms (t-shirts) and my game plan. Thankfully somebody brought a pitcher full of Mai-tais and a case of beer and many on the team had since forgotten my tardiness. Minutes later I was in the dug out getting swarmed by friends asking what position they should play. Having been ill prepared, my instructions consisted of something to the order of “You, you, you, play somewhere in the outfield. You, you, and you pick a base. Freedom will pitch. If you don’t like your position, switch with someone.” I sat the first couple of innings out to make sure things were running relatively smoothly, posted the batting order, changed into my cleats and slugged a beer.
We played a heck of a game, and held a solid lead until the bottom of the seventh inning (the last inning in kickball) during which time our opponents switched their batting order – putting several heavy kickers up to plate in a row. This strategy worked, as two of the kickers were able to round their bases ending the game in a tie. As our opponents moped off the field we ran around giving each other high-fives, cheering, jumping and yelling. The stands also erupted in celebration with us, realizing our accomplishment. See, we lost every single game last season. And this year we started of by not losing. No matter how you look at it, we had already improved. A cause for celebration indeed.
I’m looking forward to another beautiful spring competing in America’s favorite playground pastime.