The Seriousness of Co-ed Softball

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.

A Conversation Between Forgotten Clothes

Wash clothes.

Forget about clothes.

Remember clothes next day.

Rewash clothes.

Forget about clothes.

It’s a vicious cycle. Maybe you put the clothes in the wash late at night and fell asleep before the cycle was complete. Maybe you got to doing something else, or nothing at all, and simply forgot about them. Or maybe you got invited to dinner with Cher. Whatever the reason may be (but mostly because you just forget), it seems to happen more than it should. But have you ever thought about what the clothes are saying while you’re away? Especially after so easily forgetting about them? As if they mean nothing to you? Like they’re a worthless bag of paper shavings? Neither have I. At least, I hadn’t, until my most recent mishap. That’s when I got to thinking. And, well, the result is the conversation that probably happens between articles of clothing when you forget them in the wash. Be warned, though, it might not be entirely clean.

[1 minute A.C.C. (After Cycle Completion)]

Sock: I’ll never get tired of how refreshing that is.

Underwear: That spin cycle was a bit of a doozy though.

Shirt: Yep.

Pants: Yep.

[5 minutes A.C.C.]

Sock: Hmm, it’s been a few minutes. I wonder what’s keeping the human? Oh well, we can wait a little longer!

Underwear: I’m pretty sure this is how humans feel when they step out of the shower before grabbing a towel. It’s terrible.

Shirt: Speaking of Towel, where is he today?

Pants: I heard from Scarf that the human forgot him in the bathroom. Left out to dry, as they say.

Shirt: Pity.

Pants: Indeed.

[20 minutes A.C.C.]

Underwear: I don’t get it. It’s not that hard. Put us in the wash. Set a timer. Or just don’t forget—there’s a concept for you, you two armed, two legged, old rake! And then transfer us to the dryer. It’s so easy my mother could do it—and she’s a thong!

Shirt: Oh get your panties out of a wad.

Pants: Nice.

Sock: Easy now, guys! We’re all friends here!

[1 hour A.C.C.]

Underwear: Are those footsteps?

Sock: Keep it together, man! You’re losing it!

Underwear: No, I’m serious. I think I hear footsteps. WE’RE IN HERE YOU TREACHEROUS SWINE!

Shirt: He’s lost it.

Pants: To be fair, he does spend a bunch of his time face to face with human private parts.

Shirt: Good point. I bet he’s seen some stuff.

[2 hours A.C.C.]


Sock: Come on, Underwear! We need you to hold it together! Everything’s going to be fine! We’re all going to be fine! [cries a little. Or maybe just has something in its eye]

Shirt: Where does he get his insults?

Pants: I don’t know. They’re pretty… shitty.

Shirt: [laughs] Nice.

Pants: Too much?

Shirt: No, I don’t think so. Well played.

[5 hours A.C.C.]

Sock: You know what, maybe Underwear’s on to something. Maybe the human’s not who we thought he was. Maybe the world isn’t such a pleasant place where everything works out the way it’s supposed to because you try your best and play by the rules.

Shirt: We’re losing Sock.

Pants: I know. Soon he’ll be… in-toe-lerable.

Shirt: [laughs] touche.


[24 hours A.C.C.]



Shirt: Hey, Pants, what do you think Sock’s favorite sandwich is?

Pants: I don’t know. Probably something without cheese. He seems like a guy that would try to save some calories by not getting cheese.

Shirt: I could see that. Either way, I bet he always gets a footlong.

Pants: [laughs] Nice.

[26 hours A.C.C.] — [Door opens]

Sock: We’re saved! There is a God!


Shirt: Wait a second. Is that what I think it is?

Pants: It is. Hang on, everybody.

[Human tosses in detergent, starts cycle again]

Sock: [voice quivering] I don’t know if I can go through that again…

Pants: It’s like we’re in some weird shampoo twilight zone.

Shirt: What?

Pants: Rinse, wash, repeat.

Shirt: [laughs] Nice.

Underwear: F@$K.

9 Little Victories

Big victories are cool, too. This isn’t me trying to diminish those achievements, and if you just got a new position as NASA, congrats. Very cool stuff. Can you talk to someone for me? I’d just like a tour. You know, see a rocket or two. Talk to some people. And who knows, if all goes well, maybe it could lead to a position in the human relations department because the chemistry between the staff and I would almost surely be out of this world. But I digress.

Back to the point. Little victories are all around us. In fact, if you look hard enough, they happen every single day. Some days you need to look harder than others, but I assure you, they are still there. So this is me acknowledging a few of the little things that have an ability to make a day, turn a day around, or simply make a day a little better. String enough of ‘em together and, well, life will start to look pretty sweet.

1. Putting together a lawn mower. Sure, it was an easy assembly, just unfold it and screw in a few nuts and bolts type of thing, but still. You put it together. It doesn’t matter if it started or not.

2. Finding a roll of toilet paper when you thought there wasn’t any left at a time you needed it the most.

3. Getting green lights all the way home from work. OK, that last green light had been red for a fraction of a second and you might have held up traffic a little while also giving one domesticated badger the scare of his life, but in the end nobody was hurt.

4. Getting a hug from somebody you care about. If it was from your significant other who you told not to touch you because they had just showered and were soaking wet and you were wearing your nice work clothes, even better.

5. Finding a pair of matching socks in the dryer.

6. Installing a doggie door on the proper end of the door. You know, the one closest to the floor. It may not sound like a big deal, but a couple of days ago you installed one on the wrong end of the door. You know, the one closest to the ceiling.

7. Buying a candy bar at the store for $2.57, which you find to be a bit steep, but you go for it anyway because you want it and it’s going to be tasty and, quite frankly, you deserve it. When you pull out your wallet to pay, you see a few dollar bills hanging out in the weird—typically vacant—space that they fit so perfectly in. Wait a second, you see you have change too. Two quarters, a nickel, and two pennies, to be exact. Oh my gosh! That means you can pay with your three bills and handful of coins and actually get one bill in return. So not only do you not have to swipe a card, but you get rid of the heavy metal rattling around in your wallet and get one new, crisp dollar bill back. (If that doesn’t do it for you, you did get a candy bar.)

8. Hearing a song you like on the radio. You don’t usually listen to the radio, but lately you have been because you took your iPod or whatever it is you listen to music on out of the car because you wanted to start running. You ran once. Now it seems you have misplaced the music playing device. So really you have no choice but to listen to the radio. Which, on this occasion, works out well, because you hear a song you actually like.

9. Making someone smile.

(Authors note: One of my favorite books is Little Victories by Jason Gay, a sports columnist for The Wall Street Journal. This isn’t me trying to rip Jason off, or pay homage to, or anything like that. The article stands on its own. Or at least slouches. However, I didn’t want it to look like I was trying to pull a fast one, so I figured I’d make a note of it. This is that. Also, if you’re looking for your next book, you could do a lot worse than Little Victories.]