I was nervous about standing in front of people and throwing the ball.
I should have been nervous about standing in front of people and throwing the ball correctly, because as I stood on the mound (after the umpire had to show me how) and threw ball after ball, and walked runner after runner, and watched as they scored run after run, and then trash-talked me from home plate, I desperately wanted the inning to be over.
The only pitcher-legitimate part of me were the sunflower seeds in my mouth.
Most of our team met each other for the first time last night, which is indicative of how often we've practiced.
Yet somehow we entered the field confidently and thought we were going to win.
After my 50th consecutive pitched ball, it became apparent we were not the all-stars we considered ourselves 8 1/2 minutes prior. Reality struck - we are most likely the team to not be seeded and not make it to the Dallas state softball tournament.
I didn't pitch after the first inning because I wanted to spare myself the embarrassment. If I'd have been on a Little League team, I'd have been forced to pitch through my discomfort, but such is the glory of being on an adult softball team. You can kinda make your own decisions. So before anyone could object, I grabbed my glove and trotted off towards center field like that was exactly where I was supposed to be.
The next person up to bat hit a line drive directly to my face, and while I barehanded the ball into my glove, I remembered that's what gloves are for - to handle fast-traveling balls so that the bare flesh on my thumb wasn't stinging and bruised later.
The members of our team are diverse. Some have never played, some have never batted, others thought we were in the World Series, and directed the outfielders into their positions like they were a glorified air traffic controller. While I was playing third base, he kept trying to nudge me over, but I ignored him. I know how to play third base, and that was clear when again, a line drive was nailed right to me, and since I wasn't about to throw my entire body in front of the moving ball, I stuck my foot out to stop it. Someone from the opposing team's dugout yelled, "Nice job, third base," and I'm taking it as a compliment - not sarcasm.
I think our entire team's attitude about the situation was reflected in our left center-field's words, as he bobbled a fly ball and let it drop:
"I'm still getting a feel for the game."
He yelled it with his arms spread open in a shrugging motion. Everyone heard it.
When the game was over, and we'd lost 19-4, we gathered quickly to discuss when our first practice would be.
It's Sunday. The day before Monday, which coincidentally is the day of our double-header.