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Who's On First?


"There is no whining in softball!" I said to my daughter and her teammates who were bemoaning the fact they were about to start the first of seven "stadiums" the coach had just sentenced them to run.

The coaches spent a lot of time shaking their heads, which I think showed remarkable restraint on their part.
I had no sympathy for the ladies who had, admittedly, just finished two pretty physical games in the first of a two day tournament. "Physical" being the operative word here. Mentally, they were out in left field, except, of course, when they were supposed to be. Missed flies, missed calls, running base errors; and those were just in the top of the first inning.

The coaches spent a lot of time shaking their heads, which I think showed remarkable restraint on their part. They (the coaches) had to figure out a way to correct the ladies' mistakes without damaging their psyches. I had it much easier. As scorekeeper, I just had to decide to whom I would give the error.

But to be fair to our fine young group of ladies, the other teams were definitely playing in the same league.

"This is like watching a baseball game under water," noted my dad while we watched the opposing team progress the ball slowly and painfully from centerfield to first base. Our runner did make it to first and would have made it on to second if she hadn't tripped over the base, landing flat on her stomach, foot just millimeters in front of the base. The gap between our runner's foot and the base plate allowed the second baseman to put our runner out.

"Kinda gives a new meaning to the whole Abbott and Costello bit,"
And that's pretty much how the rest of the game(s) went. Another memorable play was when the batter bunted (which in and of itself is pretty exciting because any suspected bunt causes a flurry of activity as the whole infield moves forward, screaming "BUNT"!) Unfortunately, this shift in positions left first base unattended, and our pitcher who made a beautiful catch as she started what should have been the classic 1 (pitcher position in scorekeeper talk) to 3 (first base position) out. So, with all of infield hovering close to home base, there was no one on first to complete the play. 

"Kinda gives a new meaning to the whole Abbott and Costello bit," I said through the side of my mouth to the coach. "'Who's on first?' Nobody, that's who!"

But with each game our girls improved, and we parents couldn't have been more proud. We broke out in wild applause, practically hugging and patting each other on the back the first time our right fielder actually caught a fly to make an out. Never mind the fact that up to this point (since every one of our team members was doing this) I thought that perhaps the rules of softball differed from those in baseball and one was supposed to let a fly ball bounce before catching it; and disregarding the look of surprise as our outfielder realized she had actually caught the ball, we knew this was a major breakthrough. Caught pop-ups, double-plays, and maybe even a home run or two were within reach.

But first there was a little matter of "stadiums." And for all the whining and whimpering the girls made as they trudged up the hill over and over again, I knew it would make them stronger (if it didn't kill them) and more mentally focused as they took their positions on our little field of dreams.

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