To some, co-ed softball is fun. An opportunity to spend time with friends, maybe co-workers, and share a few laughs and cheer each other on. Which is funny. Some people obviously don’t know how serious co-ed softball is.
If you’re looking to play co-ed softball for the “fun of it,” or to “have a good time,” you’re doing it for the wrong reasons (might I suggest co-ed kitten petting? Or everybody gets a medal for smiling?). Co-ed softball isn’t fun. It’s about winning. It’s about being better than the people you are playing against, who are probably out there because they want to have fun. You’re supposed to want to crush dreams out there. Make somebody’s day a little bit worse because you’re beating them seventeen to zero and it’s only the third inning. If anybody tells you otherwise, they’re not somebody you want on your team. It’s as simple as that.
Still, I see it all the time. Teams not being as serious as they should. Laughing. Not watching the game. Conversing about things other than how they’re going to approach Tina, the stud third-baseman from the other team who has been killing them at the plate with two doubles and a triple, in her next plate appearance (can you believe that?). It’s all rather cringe-worthy. But, at the same time, I see them and know that’s an easy W later in the season. I’ll take it.
It’s not always black and white, though. Sometimes teams look like they are there to play. Have a couple of guys and gals who look relatively athletic, even. It makes me feel a little weird inside, almost unsure about myself, but then I look harder and see some clear signs to their lack of seriousness and feel better once again. What am I seeing, exactly? A few things.
For starters, the team doesn’t have a single softball specific bag. A couple of gym bags, but those don’t even have a compartment for spare batting gloves or a can of chewing tobacco. Which is embarrassing enough, but that’s not all. They also only have one bat. ONE BAT. For the entire team. They pass it around and share it like Deb shared her birthday cake at last week’s office party, insisting everybody got a piece before I had my fourth. At this point, it goes without saying they don’t have batting gloves. I mean, how can anybody on that team expect to hit a ball over the fence, let alone out of the infield, when they have to do it with their bare hands, like they live in 1872 or something. It’s sad, to be honest. But I guess the world needs a few gazelles for tigers like me.
With that said, I’ll take this time to address a question I get all the time: if you’re so serious, why don’t you play in the “competitive” division? Which is, in my opinion, a pretty silly question. But I’ll go ahead and answer it anyway. Simply put, I want the wins. I need the wins. I don’t care how that comes across, it’s a winners mentality. You’re not going to get anywhere in co-ed softball—or life, for that matter, because the two are pretty interchangeable—if you don’t have it. Sure, I could play in the “competitive” division and challenge myself, probably play in a few close games and maybe even come across some people who are better than me. Scratch that, nobody is better than me. But somebody might get lucky and beat me, and I can’t chance that. I want to win and no, I’m definitely not insecure or anything.
Simply put, co-ed softball isn’t a game—it’s war. Are some people going to say I’m being too intense, or I need to chill out and take a good hard look in the mirror about what’s going on inside? Probably. But then again, those people haven’t won the co-ed championship four years in a row and been threatened to be kicked out of the league for throwing dirt in the umpires face, have they? Didn’t think so. And being anybody other than that isn’t somebody I want to be.