Tuesday, August 19, 2008
And They Kept On Playing
Last week I decided to spend some quality time with my Dad before I head off to Hong Kong for a year. I went to watch him play with his softball team, The Amigos, part of a northern New Jersey senior softball league.
My Dad has been playing softball for a really long time. I remember going to watch him play when I was five, and since I wasn't really into sports back then, I brought my dolls along with me. So I thought it would be fun to tag along once again and cheer him on. The Amigos are all 60-75 years old, and they are still playing ball. They were so excited to have a fan come (I was the only spectator) and watch them play and take their pictures. They talked to me about their children and granddaughters in between kicking some butt against Union.
In senior softball, your team can only score a maximum of 5 runs per inning. I guess this helps keep the games more interesting and competitive. Sometimes they only play 5 or 6 innings a game if one team is winning by an insanely large lead. Some players could only bat, and they had pinch runners to help them out. There were also a few hits and fly balls that some of the older players just couldn't run fast enough to catch, but I loved the camaraderie and good will between teammates and between the teams.
My Dad hit four home-runs that day, and almost ran down his teammate in front of him as he rounded the bases. Oops! His teammates kept joking that he was showing off for me. After two games, the Amigos were the undistibuted champs. Sal, the team manager held a brief post-game meeting and then I took a team photo on the bleachers. We headed off to the car. I felt like the proud parent for once, and joked with my Dad I'd take him for ice cream. But it was only 12pm and we had not even had lunch yet. Early bird rules apply even to softball.
I would love to someday make a documentary about a senior softball or sports team. It just seems like such a great subject for a movie. I love that despite their age, the players still make a commitment to pursue the things they love in life. I'll have to file this away in my list of projects to do.