An Ode To The Fat Right Fielder

Scraped knees, a bruised and bloodied thumbnail, various aches in previously unknown muscle groups, regular bouts of devastating anxiety and self hatred, a compulsive need to repeat it all again the next week…diagnosis: softball.

I surely suffer from some sort of mental disorder that makes me constantly yearn to play softball, and yet at the same time perpetually causes me to get depressed by my many, many failures and frequently makes me question my worth as a human being. There’s an old adage in (real) baseball, where you should always maintain a stable disposition and never get too high or too low when you succeed or fail. Yogi Berra one said…

I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat, and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?

I wish I could think that way. Instead, nothing’s good enough. Especially in rec league coed softball with so many fat girls playing in right field…I should get a hit every at-bat, I should have stretched that single into a double, a double should have been a triple, a triple should have been an inside the park home run, an inside the park should have been over the fence, that line drive was too high, too low, a better fielder could have gotten to it, a better pitcher would never have thrown me that pitch, and so on and so on…I am consumed by visions of both my real and hypothetical failures, those have have already happened and those that have yet to happen.

I am not mentally wired for a game like softball. Even at its lowest, saddest, most non-competitive levels. This is a game of individual skill, unaffected by external circumstances or confronting players directly opposing you man to man. This is a game where you are put into completely isolated situations whose only variable factors are where the ball is in relation to you and the speed and direction of its travel…and if you practice enough you are able to make something positive happen, guaranteed, in every single one of those scenarios. It is a simplistic view of the game, that largely dismisses the very real effects of the collective team, skill of the opposing pitcher, and the strength of the defense behind them…and yet, you should still play at the same level and effectiveness whether your team is winning or losing, a well enough placed hit cannot be fielded, and a softball pitch – regardless of the hand that throws it – still mostly comes into the same zone at the same speed at the same angle. (I mean…this is softball here, let’s be real.)

Golf has a very similar appeal. There is only the ball and the course. Your tools are the club you hold in your hands and the Newtonian laws of physics that rule the limits of its physical movement. Everything else is you – you’re competing with only yourself to see how precisely and skillfully you can execute each move.

Unfortunately, golf is mad gay so that’s why I only play softball. (And golf is mad expensive, although for the type of cash we dole out for these composite bats and sexy batting gloves and supercool cleats…it could be debatable.)

At its most basic, simplistic level…softball is a game in which you succeed on your own merits, and your failure is yours alone. Which is why I am not mentally wired to play this game – I am driven in life only by shame and self hatred. Never by optimism or a desire for greatness. I only see failure. I am blind to success. A softball game only contains opportunities to fail – errors on the field and outs at the plate. It is not a desire to succeed, only a fear of failure that motivates me.

And yet…I cannot ever stop. I hunger every waking moment for the feeling of a line drive coming off the bat into the right field corner, even if I know it should have been hit harder, straighter, higher, lower. I hunger for a success that I know will never satisfy me.

I am the rec league coed softball zombie…and I will never stop.

The first rule of Zombieland: Cardio. When the zombie outbreak first hit, the first to go, for obvious reasons…were the fatties.

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Destined to fight the world's evil, The WAMBAG endures massive battles involving impossible stunts, races on horse-pulled carriages, and the desecration of enchanting medieval castles (all done with dizzying computer graphics). Not only does the eye candy keep on coming, the tongue-in-cheek writing and deep Transylvanian accents perfect the film with a dose of dark humor.

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