Right off the bat, I want to say I was pissed. I missed Rosie’s whole softball season. I had visions of sitting in the stands and rooting for the Devils. Pictures of Rosie at the bat. Pictures of Rosie at Shortstop and Second base and sometimes Third. Hell…I might have even brought the trumpet to play CHARGE!!!. I wanted to make a memory.
With typical only-child-poutiness in full bloom I made it quite clear that my feelings were hurt. With typical Tweener attitude Rosie made it clear that I should suck it up.
In my best imitation of mature parenting I gave sucking it up the College Try.
Then Rosie showed up at Prisoner Exchange with what I first thought was a tennis bag.
On second look, it was her softball bag.
“Why did you bring your stuff”, I asked.
“We’re going to play.”
“Okay…practice. You can help me practice.”
“Practice? The season is over.”
“For next year.”
You can’t beat Tweener Logic. So training started at 1400 today. We went up to Hershell Truck Field (The Big Baseball Diamond). On the way it was determined that we did not have a softball. Further discussion reveled that the potential to find one at the field was about zero this time of year. We stopped at our friend’s and asked to beg, steal or buy a ball. Although she offered two bucks, the softball was a present. Back in business. When we got there, no one was playing but a few kids were hanging out in the outfield. We went to the dugout. She then unzipped this bag of hers and behold, her bat, her glove and her own batting helmet (Red, One Each). Holy shit. Her own helmet.
I explained that in the Stone Age, the teams provided the bats and helmets. She said, “Not anymore.”
Rosie at the bat and me pitching without a glove. I haven’t done this since 1989 and I didn’t pitch then either. My pitching sucked so bad that a Tweener named Joseph asked if I needed a catcher. “Uh….um….yeah.” Ten more pitches and I get one close enough for Rosie to chance a swing at it.
“If this was a game you would’ve walked me by now”.
I focus and put one in the Zone.
Crack! Solid hit past the stunned pitcher. At this point the Batter and the Catcher notice there is no one in the outfield and the Pitcher isn’t going anywhere soon. They sprint to the ball. Joe gets there first and relays it to Rosie at Short. She fires it at me who screams like a Girly Man and jumps out of the way.
It sucks when you have to field your own hits.
At the next bat she BUNTS!! Holy shit! I missed that one too. But the total honesty, I might have tried for that one, had I been wearing a glove. No wait. Wrong side. Glove or no glove, Dad sucks.
I suggested we switch sides. Rosie heads out to left center. “Can you do this?” she yells. “YEAH!!” I yelled back as Dad took a mighty swing…….and missed. I got it handled. The second swing, a grounder right at her. Rosie’s turn to look stunned. I imagine she’s thinking “Holy Shit he hit it.” She runs it down and fires it back. I chase it down. Joseph returns and offers to catch again.
Rosie doesn’t miss another. Including a line drive that she stopped and caught but not without me hearing a “WOOF” come out of her. I let Joseph hit for a while. Three more and Rosie calls a break.
We sit in the dugout and sip water and talk. She admits that I really need a glove and that I hit better than I pitch. She inspects her bat closely to see if I had damaged it. It passes muster. She brought her sweatshirt and visor (for sunny days). They have the Devil’s logo on it.
I mentioned that maybe Little League last year was too early. “Nah”, she says, “I don’t care for baseball.”
“Why do you like softball better?”
“It’s the pitching.”
I asked her if it was fast pitch or slow pitch. It’s fast. She said she likes softball because there were different styles of pitching. She tries to demonstrate the differences there in the dugout but there wasn’t enough room. From outside the dugout she aims at me and throws.
She fired an underarm rocket into the boards at the bottom of the dugout.
“Like that”, she says. Unfazed by the pitch as if it’s as normal as normal can be. Then she demonstrates a stutter step throw that sails high over the dugout.
“I need to work on that one.”
I’m thinking, “Wow?”
Walking back to the car, Rosie says:
“There, now we have a softball memory”.