The cool thing to do when I was nine was to play summer softball. All the girls in my grade had signed up and I couldn’t be left behind. I got my neon orange jersey and my mitt and proceeded to dump them unceremoniously in the corner of my room.
You see, I was the chubby kid, the kid who would rather go to the library than the ball field. I was the little girl who liked cheese puffs so much that my fingers were almost constantly stained orange. And don’t get me started on purple soda…
But the seeds of self consciousness had already begun to sprout. I was so desperate to feel accepted by my peer group that I was willing to stand in the humid sun all summer (we’re talkin’ 100 degrees in the shade kinda weather) and occasionally participate.
To say I sucked at softball is such an unbelievable understatement that I chuckle now writing it. I was wretched. I was so bad that I played right field and was totally the fat kid who sat down and made dandelion bouquets. Oh and batting was even worse. After I hit the catcher the second time with my slung bat I stopped even trying. I still usually got on base though as it was really hard to pitch to such a short girl. So at least I had that going for me. I spent most of the summer feeling either grumpy because it was too hot, bored by the repetitiveness or hungry and wondering if the cool mom who brought Hostess cakes was responsible for snack that day.
I was so miserable by mid season that I wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of the summer in my air conditioned house watching MTV. I can’t remember if I ever asked my mom to quit or maybe I just knew she wouldn’t let me. Either way I stuck it out for the rest of the season and vowed never to play the sport again.
Fast forward 20 years. My oh so active husband is constantly moving. I still would rather lounge around and read while he has the nickname of Spiderman because he’s willing to climb anything (and he does with surprising success). My body has begun rejecting my constant slothness though and I mistakenly told him that I wanted to be more active. He’s wanted to join a softball league for quite some time and today we got our opportunity. Our friend’s team needed another boy and girl and the excitement in his voice broke me.
I don’t know if they realize how utterly awful I am, but they’ve accepted me all the same. I’m halfway excited, halfway dreading this risk. I guess old declarations sometimes come back to bite you in the ass.