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Note to self: Adult softball leagues are for losers.

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I got pink-slipped from my softball league last Wednesday.

I'm actually not sad.

I’d missed a bunch of games because of work. When the league started, I requested off every Monday and a handful of Wednesdays so I could attend each game. As work and life got more and more hectic though, it was hard to justify spending my only night off playing softball and not with my girlfriend or doing much needed errands.

So I simply stopped requesting specific days off. If I could make the game, I could make it. If I couldn’t, I couldn’t. More often than not, I couldn’t. C’est le vie.

A couple of weeks ago, my team’s organizer texted me and asked for me to return my jersey. My fill-in hadn’t had anything to wear for a couple weeks and he thought it would be nice for him to feel like a part of the team. I could identify with that, so I handed it over.

A couple days later I got a text that said, “Wanna play 2nite?”

As usual, I was working that evening. I decided to be honest with him so I wrote back, “I would say count me out for the season. I started bartending and my schedule’s been messed up for weeks.”

What I got back was truly idiotic, sad, and pathetic. It effectively ended my playing career in the Isle of Palms softball league.

From a 30-something-year-old who’s married, has children, and a full-time job, I received: “Dude I already did, but thought you might of been off and was being nice. But I won’t bother you again. Way to commit!”

I shouldn’t have been surprised. This was a beer league, yet many of the guys on my team treated it as seriously as a heart attack. I’m honestly not bitter, but it’s definitely going to be cathartic for me to rip my die-hard teammates in the coming paragraphs.

Adult softball is designed to be an escape. When one steps on the field, work, family, and personal problems are supposed to fade away.

For them, however, even softball’s no longer an escape.

These guys are so weathered that they can’t even let go for two hours and play a child’s game.

At practices I would try to get to know my teammates. I’d ask about their kids, about work, and about their lives, but all I would get back was some mindless, uncontrollable drivel about a $250 softball bat cracking and how they were going to North Charleston for a tournament the next weekend. They offered nothing outside of softball. And that never changed.

They’d go up to home plate every time and act like it was the 9th inning of a World Series game and they were down by one run with two out and a man on third. More often than not, they’d press, strikeout, hit a long flyball, or ground out. They beat themselves up and went into slumps.

The “off” guys were the worst fielders because they punished themselves after making a bad play. Instead of brushing it off and saying “Shit, it’s just a softball game,” they’d beat up their gloves and yell into them. The next time a fly ball came to them, they dropped it. Instead of left field being something like an adventure, the position became a miserable and lonely microcosm with so much opportunity for failure.

Each game was an internal battle for my die-hard teammates.

One of them grounded out to end the game. He took his water bottle, threw it against the fence, and then beat it with his bat.

It was sad to watch, yet I couldn’t help but laugh.

Each time I played, I had the time of my life. I was Ichiro Suzuki at the plate three times a game. I was BJ Upton making putouts in right-centerfield. I felt the dirt accumulating in my shoes as I ran the bases. I felt the wind blowing as a ball came inch-after-inch closer to my glove. I felt the beautiful sting of the bat as I grounded out to third base. I heard the pop off the glove as I hit the bag.

Here’s hoping I don’t turn into one of “them.”

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