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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Call Me Out at the Ball Game - First Practice

My colleague Tanara at the Official Opposition has organized an Alberta Liberal slo-pitch team - the Liberators. Desperate for some exercise, I signed up, despite my legendary lack of prowess at sports. Late this afternoon, we practiced together for the first time.

The very act of buying a ball glove a couple of ours before the practice was in itself enough to make me feel younger. I found myself looking forward to finding out if I could still catch or hit a ball.

I'm happy to say that the answer is: yes, barely. After some batting practice (during which I took a header into the grass and earned my first bloody wound and first grass stain), we organized a trial game.

I took up a position behind home plate, and actually managed to catch a couple of pitches and toss them back to the pitcher - Tanara again - somewhere in the vicinity of her glove. That's Avril, one of our researchers, at bat.

My first at bat was a qualified success. Our receptionist and pitcher Lisa hit in the shoulder and I took my base. A couple more hits from our team, and I found myself rounding home plate. First run of the season! If only this game counted.

(During one memorable game back in the 70s, I took no less than three bases thanks to errant pitches: two to the groin and one to the butt. This was fastball, too. It really wasn't worth it. I remember the pitcher's tears of remorse, and I still feel bad for him.)

Getting on base was satisfying, but I really wanted to see how far I could hit the ball - or if I could even hit it at all. My second at-bat would tell the tale.

Crack! A solid hit that pounded the ball between second and third. I launched myself toward first base!

Sadly, I was tagged out at first. My third at bat was an anticlimax; I struck out cleanly.

Tomorrow night we'll play for real for the first time. Practice was a lot of fun; I imagine the real thing will be even more satisfying, win or lose. Once in a while, it's good to use my body for something other than carrying my brain around. I'm sore all over, but it's a righteous pain, well-earned. I'm grateful that Tanara took the initiative to organize our team.

Here are a couple more shots of our other team members in action:

Team Captain Tanara McLean at third base, just before scoring a run.

Lisa Bowers not only brought all the balls, bats and bases, she's also a very good pitcher (I was the only player she hit) and batter. We will be unstoppable!

Rick Miller smacks a triple! I think it was a triple. He's my boss, so let's say it's a triple.

OUCH! Kim Dewar is struck by a flung ball at home plate! You can see the mark it left on her left upper thigh. The ball is just about to fall out of frame. Dramatic action in the closing moments of the game!


King T said...

Oh my, that Avril looks a hottie. And I'm liking Tanara's superhero pose.

I think you'll like baseball, Earl - especially now that you can demand that Sylvia dress up like Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham.

Sean Woods said...

Who took the pictures? They are quite good.

And good for you on joining the softball team. I think you'll have fun.

Also, I suddenly want to join the Liberal research team.