One for the Records
by Elena Krumholtz

 

    I am a softball wimp, but I nearly made the record books.  It was the summer of 1981 and friends allowed me to join their co-ed softball team.  I assume it was an act of kindness akin to helping elderly ladies cross icy streets.  Maybe they appreciated my wit and conversation abilities, because they certainly had never seen my complete lack of athletic prowess.  Or maybe they just needed a catcher, one who would play with no protective equipment.  I showed up for practices and it soon became apparent that while I was really no liability behind the plate, I was typhoid Mary when I stepped up to bat. 

    I would approach the plate and take a strange stance, elbows out, rear end out, and chin down.  I would slash at the ball and feel some pride when I felt contact.  That would quickly evaporate as I watched the ball dribble toward the pitcher.  The strategists on the team had a decent plan though.  They put me in the fourth batting position, the one normally saved for the teamís strongest batter.  He batted third.  His job was to be on second base when the dust settled.  If he failed in this assignment, I would hit into a double play when I came to bat.  You could count on it.  If he was safely on second, I would come up and produce the teamís first out.  I was very dependable.

    Mid-season we played a team that perhaps had been to the tavern before the game instead of after.  In an early inning I came to bat and was thrown out at first, like so many times before.  I trudged gamely back to the bench, a well worn path.  Then the rest of my team batted safely bringing me to bat a second time.  I stepped up to the plate and took a mighty swing.   Again I made the trip from first back to the bench having procured the second out.  I watched with growing consternation as everyone again successfully hit the ball and ran from base to base.  It was eventually my turn and I was about to make all three outs in one inning.  Surely that had to be one for the record books!  The umpire turned to see me walking toward the plate, as one to the gallows.  Swiftly assessing the situation he called an out at third.  He declared that the third base coach had illegally helped the runner back to base.  I am sure the coach patted him on the back or made some other insignificant contact.  My teammates began to puff up ready to let loose some choice words when they saw me standing there all befuddled.  They too arrived at the same conclusion as the umpire and quickly backed down.  In a fit of mass sportsmanship, no one was ready to watch a woman make all three outs in one inning.  I am almost sorry they did that.  I may be a softball wimp, but that would have been one for the records!

 
  Back to Stories