I was standing in the short- stop position on a beautiful, starlit night in Delhi at a woman’s softball game at the American club. I had my glove on, grit and determination written all over my face, crouched, ready position just like our coach said. I was ready to pounce on the ball if it came my way. And for those who may not be aware of the importance of the short- stop field position, let me clarify that it is a very important position to field at, and generally the best athlete on the team gets to play at that place…. just saying:)! I guess, I also should admit, we ALL had to play ALL positions during the game.
Sean got me into softball primarily to stop a nagging wife from grumbling that he was spending way too much time playing sports. He has this terrific ability of making me feel like I am making all the decisions but when I take a moment to reflect on things, I figure out, I am doing exactly what HE wanted me to do all along. I am sure he will give you lessons on this if you want any! Works out great for him! So he decided to entice me into joining the women’s softball team in the American Club in New Delhi. I am moderately athletic, I had given birth six weeks ago and was carrying a substantial amount of baby weight which I was desperate to lose. I gave in.
Having played some and watched a lot of cricket growing up, I thought, how difficult could softball be. I thought wrong. The bat is a stick, not a paddle, you hold it up over your shoulder at a precarious position, and you swing as the ball comes your way. You miss mostly, and swing around. Not you! You may be fantastic at it, its me! I used to swing at air and go around 360 degrees before coming to a stop. Hilarious really.
We practised a lot. The coach was very patient with me and helped me learn the nuances of the game. Since I was somewhat athletic, I got the hang of it pretty quickly. I played an inning, came out to nurse six weeks old Sahana, handed the baby back to Sean and ran back in the field to play. People saw me and exclaimed ‘This is what women playing ball is all about!’
On this particular night, I was pumped. The field was green and beautiful, the overhead lights transformed the night into day, we had a decent amount of beer guzzling crowd cheering us on. I had a good feeling we were on to something. The best batter of the enemies sauntered in to bat. The captain yelled, ‘She is a hitter! Take a step back all!’ We backed up some. I relaxed a bit, since I knew the batter would hit it either out of the ball park or hit it so hard, the outfielders would be scampering after the ball. This one would be an outfielder’s problem. We, in fielders, were safe! I desperately wanted to gaze at the dandelions growing nearby, but decided against it so as not to get hit by the ball!
The pitcher looked around, saw us in our uncomfortable, crouching, ready position and pitched her first pitch. Ball! For the non softball lovers, that is a bad pitch. She got ready and pitched her second. And the batter let it rip. At the resounding crack of the ball hitting the bat, I moved mainly out of instinct. There was a loud roar from the spectators. I was frantically looking around me running hither and thither looking for the ball, till my team mates ran towards me with joyful faces. What the heck? Why were they zeroing in on me instead of fielding the ball, the batter must be running all four bases now and scoring. The women started thumping my back congratulating me while I screamed, ‘What is going on??? Where is the ball!!!’ A few seconds of silence, before the captain lifted my gloved hand, and showed me the softball safely nestled in my glove! I had caught the ball and got the batter out, and I had no clue! I looked up to see the batter walking back to the dugout. Instead of feeling the joy, I felt like an idiot!
The next bit, I heard from my husband, who almost threw the baby up in the air, when I instinctively made that awesome catch…. without my knowledge! When I picked up the ball, a couple of beer drinking men shouted, ‘Did she f***ing make that catch!!! That is unbelievable! Wow!’ Then, when they saw me looking around frantically for the ball, having no idea that it was in my glove, they said, ‘What is she doing?’ At this point, Sean’s jubilation at having such an athletic wife, albeit clueless was dying down a bit. He turned to the men and said, ‘She doesn’t know she has the ball!’
‘Huh? How do you know?’ They asked, obviously puzzled.
‘I know…. she is my wife!’ My loving husband responded!