Tonight, the Chuckheads went into battle. Por que? For the title that rightfully belonged to us. We're 12-0 heading into tonight's tournament. This is for all the marbles. I ain't going out like no Cobra Khan. I'm straight up Miyagi in dis muddah. We came to wreck.
With a first round bye (which I actually count as a win making us 13-0 coming into tonight), we wandered into the dust bowl that was Southeast Softball Complex at 7:00. 45 MPH wind gusts awaited us as some area storms blew north. I show up in my contacts and, as I sip my customary pre-game beer, I'm thinking to myself that there is no way in hell I can play in my contacts. I call my lovely wife who is now about a mile from the ballpark and ask her to please go get my glasses. She happily obliged. The game before us concluded with good ol' Dwaynes Quik Auto getting shown to the door by some team I've never seen. I still don't know who they were. We took Dwayne's dugout to face, uh, let's just call them the red team.
I'll make this game short so we can get to the next one. The "next one" insues that, yes, we won the first game bringing us to 14-0 (or 13-0 without the bye that were owed from our outstanding season performance). It wasn't too close from what I remember. I played right which no hitter could accurately punch it to tonight with the killer mouth-full-of-dirt wind. Victorious as we were, we knew that more awaited us. The championship game and this is never a gimme. To be honest with myself and the guys who might be reading this, I thought this was the end. I mean, I've been playing with some of these guys for a while now and it nevers ends on the up. We're always walking away going, "Hey, c'mon fellas, it was a good season. We got nothing to be ashamed about." You know the speech your grandpa used to give you growing up.
Trey (who's last name I'll never know and if I know, I'll never remember) mentions before the game to someone that "these guys are gonna fight." Apparently he played this team, we'll call them Roto Rooter, in his Friday night league and they're notorious for playing dirty.
Now, one thing my grandfather always taught me was sportsmanship. I never get heated about anything. In fact, I'd probably be considered less of a man because the last thing I want is to EVER dodge a punch because I'm slower than syrup and if you want to hit me, you'll connect it. Being that I'm not so good at violence, I know I'm already at a disadvantage, but we got some big boys on my team. Maybe if worse comes to worse, they'll get my back because I punch like a Sally. There. You happy? I said it. Now please leave me alone.
Roto Rooter, as we'll call them, shut is down in the top of the first (yeah, that means we're the visiting team) and then hang a quick three runs on us in the bottom of the inning. No biggie, but we can't get down to these guys. Take it run to run, out to out. Or, like I always say to myself, "Put it in play and hussle like hell's on your heels."
It's back and forth for a while. The wind is still whipping us like a your daddy's leather belt and it's starting to take it's toll in exhaustion. Simply standing it and keeping from falling over takes effort. It just beats you like a dog. Like any softball game, errors are made on both sides. Playable balls roll to the fence. It's a part of the game. It's not a slight on anyone--it's like trying to catch a volleyball with a pair of tweezers sometime.
All the while, these dudes are, indeed, playing dirty. They'll push you, hold you, trip you, knee you in the groin, block the basepath. But, as ambassadors for Chuck, willing or reluctantly, you take the high road and let it slide. We're here to kick some ass and go home. At one point, Looney got gunned down at home and the third baseman runs all the way down the line, gets in Looney's face and yells, "That's what you get, homeboy!" Now, I don't know what happened, but I knew what was boiling was a super explosively emotional situation. Looney, like a true sport, tucks his head and walks to the bench. I speak to the ump briefly saying, "Number 22 is getting kinda mouthy. Can you please keep an eye on him? I just don't things to get out of hand." He obliges and I thank him. Well, that's all good until people in the stands, who have been drinking all night, start talking. I know, for a fact, they were giving David an earful as the third base coach.
Just need to make a note about something that happened to me on the field. I'm at second base and the field ump looks at my shirt and says, "Is that (expletive) Chuck Norris?!" I laughed my whole way across home plate.
Regardless, time expires. Roto Rooter, as we'll call them, has last at bat and they're down 14-26 to the Chuckheads. How we hung those 26 runs would take weeks to detail. We'll put it this way, it was a battle simply of epic proportions. In the process Angry Tim maybe tore his hammie (suck it up, holmes) rounding second so he's riding the bench like a bronco. Big Bad Brad joins me in the outfield: a superb coaching move, if I may say. Sampras to third. Okay, we need three outs to seal the deal.
Well, one thing leads to another and the runs start to tally. A 12-run lead shrinks to eight. Then to five. And the long-lived rule of softball starts coming into play and that is "No lead is safe." You gotta play every out like you're down by two because, without fail, things will get interesting. Well, with a man on first, a hard grounder to Manham (he's also known as "Mayhem" or "Mahan" on the day he was born) pulls it out what dirt was left on the field after three hours of sustained winds and underhands it to Holcomb at second. We've got two outs. Now, if memory serves correctly, they were now down by four runs. There's another grounder to Manham (it all happened so quick I'm not even sure if it was him--might have been Sampras) and it's fired to Steve at first who with the runner sliding into first (another something my grandfather always told me not to ever do) and it looked like we got him from my vantage point. The ump comes up with his hands ready to make the call.
I ran faster than I did all night to celebrate with the boys. That's it! Game over! We're the champions! Undefeated!
Wait, hold up. Roto Rooter, as we'll call them, disputed the call saying that Steve wasn't on the bag. We all clear back waiting for the final ruling. Both umps come back with call. Both ruled the runner out at first.
Alright, let's drink some beer, right? Not yet. We're getting in line to congratulate our opponents. Now, Matt's in front of me and as we're about half-way through the line, I hear Matt say, "You need to stop talking (expletive noun)," and, without hesitation, I hear a voice from the other side say, "What, you (expletive adjective) (expletive noun)?!" Matt whips around (dude, I didn't know you had it in you) and I immediately put myself in the best place possible for a pansy like me: between Matt and ol' boy. I push Matt to the dugout only to be passed by about four dudes from the stands unloading onto the field and running to what sounded like a melee behind me. I was thinking, "It's gonna get ugly. We need to just get the hell outta here."
Well, I'm gathering my stuff and the yelling continues. Now, it's in the dugout. There's some shoving, a lot of words I'll choose out of decency to not repeat and everyone's getting wrapped up in it.
To put it short, it got a little hairy there for a second. And to think that my mother was upset that I didn't tell her sooner about the tournament so she could up and witness this. She'd tell me I need to take up a new hobby like stamp collecting or bird watching (of course, with my luck and history, I'd suck at bird watching--see earlier post right here on the Spectaculah). Not the kinda place you'd like to have your mother at after dark.
Let me tell you, they deliver the trophy over to us and this thing cuts the sky. Amazing. I think we'll pass it around like the Stanley Cup. I'll put it on my mantle for a week. My lovely wife we'll understand.
David insisted that we all walk out together to ensure we all made it out of there alive. So we did. With beer, trophy and soggy ballcaps in tow, we made our way out of there. I saw some guys waiting out in the parking lot as we left. I'm praying everyone made it home last night. If not, I'm sure I would've heard about it by now.
It's been a good season, folks. We change uniforms, make some key additions to the team, we play like true sports. It's all in how you look at it. If you're out there to have fun firstly and not take yourself too seriously, good things will come. And even if that one good thing is you got out and played some ball, that's enough in the grand scheme of things. I like winning like everyone else, but speaking as a Sox fan, losing builds character and if your head's in the right place, you can do no wrong. But let me tell you:
Winning (expletive adverb) rocks.
I'm proud of our team. So much, I'll go ahead and run through the names real quick: Flip, David, Steve, York, Manham, Holcomb, Looney, Trey, Big Bad Brad, Simpson, James, Matt (are you trying to get me shanked?!), Lance, Harley, Angry Tim, and of course, our beloved Kool Aid. Hopefully I didn't miss anyone.
Also, I really need to thank the supporting wives/girlfriends/significant others and that guy that always shows up with Looney and drinks too much beer. We didn't draw very big crowds like the other teams, but I'll be damned if, with Chrissy, we weren't the loudest.
Man, this is bordering on a Jerry Maguire moment. Wolfmother's about to come on Jimmy Kimmell. Must make sure to catch that performance. Best way to cap off the evening.
Oh, I suppose I'll do a few people a favor. If you ever have some brown stinkies clog up that toilet of yours. Or perhaps, you used one too many sheets of the paper and it's mess of brownies and paper, don't call Roto Rooter. Do it yourself. I like to be resourceful so I'm posting a quick breakdown of how to loosen the cruel stool and flush 'er down. See below, but don't call the Rooters. They're mean and don't deserve your hard-earned and heavy-taxed cashola. Especially the third baseman.