Softball is about having fun. That is precisely what is going on at McCaffrey Field at NAS Jacksonville this Spring
I can tell you from experience that these are days the players will remember
for the rest of their lives. The events at the ballpark will become discussions at work. Friendships will be forged. Teammates
will become life long friends. Girlfriends & Wives will be ignored. Marriages will be wrecked. Unless of course the ladies
come, have a cold one, cheer at the game and maybe keep the scorebook. Then they become "one of the guys".
"Tailgating is all about "getting ready" for the game. Some teams take batting practice. Some
teams talk about the upcoming game strategy. Some take it easy and have a beverage. Some teams have used some imagination
in getting ready for the game. Take for example, The NMC Bombers. They have come up with a little something to improve their
coordination. No - I am not talking about the beverages. The Bombers play a zany little game called "Corn hole".
Corehole is a game were a player tries to toss a bean bag thru a hole that looks a lot like.... well... like a Bayer
Aspirin ... if you know what I mean.
Other teams just enjoy some camaraderie. They talk about softball, about life, about beverages. Our countries
leaders would do well to go to a few ballgames where the problems of the world are solved, the meaning of life is discovered;
world peace achieved and cold beverages are consumed. In other words anyone who has not done softball pregame is missing
a great slice of life.
You get to have a nickname like ‘Wink", "Pop", "Dr Suess",
"Juice" or even "Superman".
There are no words to describe the excitement
knowing that very soon you and your buddies are going to play. To put a dead piece of cow flesh padded with cotton on your
hand, throw a grapefruit sized yellow laced sphere around a perfectly manicured fenced in yard with perfectly straight white
lines down each side. There, when your turn comes, you get to stand in a box, have an opponent softy serve toss you the big
yellow sphere where you can smack it as hard as you can with a $500 piece of carefully engineered aircraft aluminum.
crowds of fans, sometimes up to 10 and many times inebriated, will cheer your success, boo and hiss at your follies and have
no idea what the score really is.
This is a game that must have been made in heaven. This is a game
where the object is to hit the ball fair and run around and step on three rubber squares in order... inevitably to find your
way home and step on a plate. The idea is to go home often and go home more often that the other team.
professional little man or women in a perfect tidy little blue uniform is in control of the events. This person (some just
call them "Blue") tells you when the events start and ends. This person judges what is fair or foul. What is a ball
or what is a strike. He writes down everyone's name and keeps track of how many times you and your buddies go home. This person
is always right. This person has complete and total authority, Even if they are not right, it does not matter. What they say-
goes. If you are foolish you may choose to challenge their judgment, but humble yourself and use tact. If you do challenge
them then you must be respectful. If you do not show complete respect them they may humiliate you by "tossing" you
from the game. This, in effect, is banishing you from continuing in the events and exiling you from the premises.
These are very serious events. There is a hint of danger. You must pay close attention as the sphere is hard as a rock.
Your opponent gets to hit it at you and your buddies with a tool that makes it fly like a rocket. All you have to defend yourself
with is a little piece of cow hide and some cotton. A person could be injured unless they possess a certain level of skill.
So when you play this game I recommend that you relax.
A relaxed player is a better player...
many believe. Some team's coaches try to get their players to relax and not worry about making errors or mistakes. Others
try to use little humorous gimmicks to take some of the pressure off. For example the Dirty Birdz coach, Ruben Garcia, has
the player that was judged to be the biggest goof from the past game wear pink silky underwear on the outside of his softball
trousers. What a great concept! It is hard to be uptight when you are sporting pink silky underpants.
On this day, Coach Garcia has his pitcher, Louis Kimbriel, wearing the pink panties in their game with HSL42. Garcia
alleges that Kimbriel walked too many batters last game and was awarded the pink undergarments. Kimbriel wears the pants and
seems to accept the task for the good of the team. The team is relaxed, smiling and joking. They also are leading HSL-42 by
two touchdowns and an extra point. In any event the ballpark is a great place. There is fun, food, drink and great company.
Better than being in a far away land in a hole with a bunch of rag heads running around who want to kill you.
So Cherish your victories,
no matter how many or how few.
Enjoy these moments; they become part