It’s our last game of the season, and we’ve got only two guys on the field at game time. We need four or we can’t play.
Usually this wouldn’t be a huge problem, as another team might give us grief for not having enough women but would also likely just go ahead and play – and expect to totally stomp us – if we don’t have enough men. But there’s a young woman in a yellow t-shirt (Balls to the Wall, I think) who’s acting as some sort of league official today. And she’s being a hardass about having the right number of people on the field. The 6:15 game that’s going on, neither team has enough women, but they’ve decided to play anyway. But yellow t-shirt is trying to stop the game. There’s lots of arguing.
We need to find some guys.
We’re lucky, though, that the game is delayed for other reasons. There are workers erecting all these tents on the Mall where we play, so we’ve only got three fields for the eight games going on this evening. With a full complement of four fields, there’d be four games at 6:15 and four games at 7:00. As it is, our 7:00 game has to wait for another 7:00 game to play before we can play. And that gives us time to find some guys.
Kate is our hero in this, stopping random young men walking or jogging by our field, asking them if they want to play. And she actually gets two guys to volunteer. The second of the two is Brian, whom I meet briefly and then don’t see again, not after Virginia’s husband Patrick shows up, making Brian unnecessary. The first guy Kate grabs, however, is Chester, and he is a total star.
Chester makes protestations at first, about how he doesn’t know the game like we do, hasn’t practiced like we have, doesn’t have a strategy like we have. So we explain that it’s like baseball, except that you kick the ball. Then we explain that we’ve never practiced. And we explain that we have no strategy, except, well, “play kickball.” So he’s perfect.
Making small talk, I ask him what he does for a living, and get this. He’s a pilot. He graduated from Indiana State University with a degree in aviation technology, and now he flies. How cool is that? Well, sadly, like a lot of pilots, he doesn’t actually fly. He looks for work. I tell him that I always look at and write down the N-numbers on planes on which I fly, and he’s excited that I know what an N-number is.
Our game finally starts. I’ve got my video camera with me, and I’ve been interviewing the players, to match up later with footage of them actually playing. Neither Ben nor Julie want to be on camera, although Ben doesn’t declare such until after the interview starts. I also interview actual fans who have shown up to watch us play: LaFaundra and her daughter, and Stephanie’s two friends, Lindsey and Hannah. Lindsey later takes over camera duty and shoots us while we play. Chester tells the story of how he was born, at home.
We play a decent game, although we lose, to Recreational Hazard, who are generally nice about it though. Chester makes spectacular catches in the outfield. And then he kicks a home run, driving in another baserunner along with him. Another time he catches a pop fly out in left field, then personally comes hustling into the infield to tag the base runner trying to get back to first base. Elisa pitches well, but she tries to give up at one point after somebody kicks a home run on her. Stephanie tries a few pitches, but Elisa eventually returns.
I get up to bat twice. The first time I fly out to shallow center field. The second time I get on base, but later I’m forced out running to third. As usual on defense I play catcher and introduce the opposing team players at their first at bats. After the game I drive Tiffany, Kyra, and Kate to the bar, and then head home.