After our team’s first kickball playoff experience, some of the players wanted to dump the contents of their cooler on me. It was a kind gesture. Luckily for me they stopped before dumping the football-sized chunk of ice on my back.
Considering how we played, they probably would have missed. The final game of the season was a first-round matchup with us against the gold team that had defeated us twice and scorned us in a controversial reffing decision. It was 90 degrees with a heat index of about 200. We had the sun in our eyes. Our opponent nearly forfeited before getting a full squad at the last minute.
All year the first inning has been our inning. We’ve scored most of our runs in the first inning. This time, we managed only one. I thought we might be in trouble. After my friend grounded out in the second inning, the ref at first base gave us some kicking advice. Keep your head down and point your foot where you want the ball to go. I was able to make contact and not man bunt.
The defense was letting us down tremendously. Every fly ball was an adventure. I forgot to go after the lead runner and we were down 6-2. I thought that our grand adventure was over.
In the bottom of the fourth, we tied the game. For a team that averaged three runs a game, getting four runs in a frame was magical. Sadly, the baserunning errors started. Our 14th person in the lineup hit a deep fly ball. It went beyond the outfielders. Problem was, he rounded first base and missed it by five feet. We yelled and he kept running. After he crossed the plate he decided to go for round two. Sadly, according to the rules he had to go back. He was out.
In the sixth we trailed by a run. The lead guy got a single. The other team yelled “go to second”. He did, and the outfielder ran all the way to tag him out. Our best kicker came up and would have knocked him in. I hit a sharp grounder to second and eventually scored the tying run.
It was the seventh inning, the final inning of the game. I had consumed three pints of water and would later drink half a gallon of fluid to catch up. We got two outs right away. Two drops and three throwing errors later, it was 9-7.
There would be no dramatic rally. Our lead guy man-bunted but that was it. We gathered and quickly got in the shade. I have a beach trip starting tomorrow so there was no time for a quick beer. I’m glad the season is over, since we weren’t going to win the threepeat next week and I don’t want heat stroke.
It took me nine weeks to figure out how to kick a kickball correctly. Nothing is beyond my capabilities now.