M. Giant's
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Wednesday, April 23, 2003  

Play Ball

Trash has joined her company’s softball team. Their first practice is Saturday morning, and they’ll be having games (or “meets,” as Trash charmingly called them) every Thursday night.

Trash hasn’t played softball in at least ten years.

Obviously a couple hours of shagging flies on Saturday morning isn’t going to get her chops back in shape. So she has to do a little practicing on her own time. But if there’s a way to practice softball skills by yourself, I don’t know what it is. So I’ve been enlisted to practice with her.

I have also not played softball in at least ten years.

Last night, we went to Target and stocked up on the stuff we need. Picking out the right glove was a little tricky for both of us, especially given the selection at Target. Trash had trouble because her hands are too small for an ordinary softball glove. A number of the baseball gloves would have worked—for baseball. But all the softball gloves she tried on either flopped to the ground when she lowered her arm or wouldn’t fit over the fingers of a fourth-grader. Or made her hand too big.

“It’s supposed to make your hand bigger,” I explained. “That’s a good thing.”

“Yeah, but this big?”

“Bigger than a softball, ideally.”

“What about this one?” she asked, reaching for a child’s baseball glove the size of a silver dollar.

My options were even more limited because not only do I have tiny little woman-hands, the one I wear my softball glove on has its thumb installed on the wrong side. I tried on every southpaw glove in the store, and chose the half of them that was least uncomfortable. Trash, oddly enough, ended up with a “youth” size of the same model because that one was at least small enough that she could keep it on her hand by gnarling up her fingers inside of it.

We didn’t have time to go to a real sporting goods store, okay? Don’t even start.

Trash also picked out a 22-oz. aluminum bat. I didn’t think to heft it myself until we were already in the checkout line, and I couldn’t “heft” it even then. Unless by “heft” you mean the motion you use to lift one of those little plastic swords that bartenders sometimes spear maraschino cherries with. It was like swinging five empty soda cans welded together end-to-end. With the pop tabs taken off.

“You need a heavier bat than this,” I said.


“You use a heavier pool cue than this.”

“I wasn’t sure.”

“You’re rusty. You’re not five. I’m going back and getting you a real bat.”

“Okay, but the very next size up.”

I ran back, and now Trash is the proud owner of a mighty cudgel that will smite an incoming projectile with all twenty-three of its ounces. I hope that kind of power doesn’t go to her head.

What have I forgotten? Oh, yeah, an actual softball. Don’t worry, we didn’t go to the park and mime throwing the ball around. Trash had it covered.

“Why do we need six balls?” I asked. We never had more than one or two in the garage at one time when I was growing up, and that was with three kids who played the game at one time or another.

“For when we lose them,” Trash answered reasonably. I could have pointed out that we haven’t yet burned through the one can of tennis balls we bought two years ago, but I let it go in order to address the more urgent fact that she was about to buy a bat that would probably get dented when dropped on grass.

Later, when we were taking frequent breaks from playing catch in the driveway with our stiff, creaky new mitts in order to repeatedly retrieve the first ball from the yard, the neighbors’ yard, the space under the deck, the garage, the trees, the power lines, the neighbors’ garage, and the neighbors’ dog, I had to admit she might have had a point.

Because we’re both rusty. I don’t want to use the phrase “throw like a girl” to describe my form, because it’s sexist and outdated. Trash, for instance, can still throw an underhand pitch with surprising velocity for someone who hasn’t done it during this millennium. However, I will say that when people use that sexist and outdated phrase, they’re talking about the way I throw. I could complain more about that expression, but I really don’t want people to start using the phrase “throw like M. Giant” either. So I’ll just shut up about that now.

Tonight we’re going to go to the park so she can practice hitting. Since there will be only the two of us, I imagine there will be a great deal more ball-chasing than ball-hitting. Especially if I don’t learn how to pitch in the next hour or so.

I’ll keep you posted on how spring training goes from here. I’d say it’s a success thus far; neither of us has been seriously injured yet.

posted by M. Giant 3:15 PM 0 comments


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