DSC02504“How did we manage to play kickball in 3rd grade without 45 pages of rules?” Katie had just tossed the bound book onto my desk and sunk into my side chair.

“Well, Maddie, according to Doris, the city league coordinator…”

“You are on first name basis with the coordinator?”

“Don’t interrupt me. And yes, she is a very nice lady with a hard job. Apparently, City League Kickball teams can be quite unmanageable. And they all think that they can play this simple children’s game without 45 pages of rules.” Kate picked up the fidget stick from my desk and played with it. “Doris said everything was fine and they didn’t need 45 pages of rules until last year.”

“Did someone get hurt and sue?” I figured that had to be it. The City Attorney, being who he was, would then say no one could play without 45 pages of rules and six various waivers.

“No, last year the District Attorney’s office fielded a team. And a group of defense attorneys did as well. Needless to say, if the district judges can’t keep them in line, you know that the high school aged umps that work there in the summers were toast.”

That would be something to see, Dale Lewis, the District attorney, arguing about some call at home, with Rick Delgado, arguing the other side of the call, and the poor 18 year old ump texting for help. Then it occurred to me that I would be witnessing the same types of arguments. “They aren’t playing in the same division as us, right? Randy said we would be rec league. They would all have to be A or B league, they are too competitive for rec.”

“All in our league. Doris said that she tried to talk them up a division, but they said that their admin assistants would be playing, and they weren’t as competitive.”

“Did you warn Doris?” I had my share of run ins with the District attorney’s office admin assistants. Meek doormats, they were not.

Katie put the fidget stick down and stood up. “Randy is feeling optimistic. He said we can place side bets – if we win, we get to cut down on visits…”

“He can get away with saying that, and I get labeled as sarcastic?”

Katie laughed, “Well, I can’t personally attest to this, but he has a penis, and you do not.”

“Tell that to the performance enhancement spammers that sent me 30 emails a day.”

“Anyway, first game is Thursday, 7pm. Randy wants us all there by 6 to warm up.”

I glanced at my calendar. “I’m in Austin for training. If they let us out at 4:30, I might be able to make 7:00.”

Katie shook her head.

“Hey, Randy isn’t my supervisor. I volunteered to play to get to know everyone here in the office. I will do my best to get here in time, but do I tell my supervisor in Austin I have to leave early to play kickball?” That wasn’t going to happen.

 

But, the good team player that I was, I spent the extra money on the toll roads (because you know the state of Texas won’t pay for me to use them) and hurried home with just enough time to change and get to the city park. Randy glanced at his watch as I jogged over to the field at 6:45, but said nothing. The team had to have at least 5 men and 5 women, and a quick count told me that I was needed, so Randy wasn’t going to run me off.

The other team was assembling on the other side of the field.

“We are playing White, Godfried and Sanchez,” Katie said. “One of the local law firms for rich people.”

“For rich people?”

“We won’t ever see these guys. They do wills and estates and business deals.” Katie was shaking her head. “Look, matching Under Armour shirts and shorts. I’m surprised they are not all wearing matching running shoes.”

I looked over. They were all wearing silver and black shirts, definitely more high-dollar than the tee shirts that we pulled out of the storage room from last year’s Adoption month. But none of the players looked comfortable in sports clothes. They looked like they would rather be wearing Armani, the men and the women. I shrugged. “Oh well. Maybe they are saving the matching shoes for the playoffs.”

Randy started shouting out instructions. We were “batting” first and I was number 2 in the line up. Randy was the first batter and he kicked the very first pitch in a gentle arc behind the third baseman. No one could catch it, and Randy sprinted to first base. Upon getting there, he put his hands on his knees to catch his breath. Randy’s idea of exercise before this fiasco was to walk to his car to go get fast food.

I was next. I walked out to the batter’s box of the softball field thinking that this was too much of an upgrade from playing kickball in the street in front of the neighbor’s house, or the rutty field at my elementary school. I looked up at the pitcher and said out loud, “Shit.”

“Need a moment?” the catcher asked.

“Uh, no, I’m fine,” I lied. Standing on the pitcher’s mound was Evan Segrest. My exe’s roommate from 4 years of college and two years of law school. Best man at the wedding. My exe’s choice for godfather of the first born child, if that had come to fruition.  And, the man who lent his apartment to my exe for his affairs. Plural.

The ball rolled past me and the ump yelled, Ball 1.

In the weird world of City league kick ball, I would only get three pitches total, no matter balls, strikes, fouls, whatever. I kicked the next two foul and headed back to the dugout.  I could hear Evan laughing to the short stop as I slunk back to the bench, and felt my face turn red.

“What happened?” Katie asked as I sat down.

“The pitcher, he was my exe’s best friend. I didn’t even know he lived here. I thought he would still be in Houston.”

“That’s Evan Segrest, some hot shot they got from Houston and he’s on the fast track to partner. He moved here because his wife’s job moved her here.” Jake sat down next to me. His partner worked in the DA’s office and he always had good lawyer information. “She works for one of those college religious groups, you know, God has a wonderful plan for your life?”

I knew exactly which group. I knew his wife and knew her before she was his wife. But she didn’t think I was good enough for my exe and was a bit put off I didn’t ask her to be a bride’s maid. But that was ten years ago. I took a deep breath.

The inning was over and we took the field, and I was lucky enough to be out in left field. I kept thinking about the song about the little kid picking flowers in the outfield and praying no one would kick the ball my way. So of course Evan kicked it over my head, so that I not only had to run thirty yards to get it, there was no way I could throw it back in time for anyone to get thrown out. Evan had a three run homer. I hated him more.

Did I mention we hadn’t scored at all yet? Randy came up to me before he went to bat.

“Just relax. Kick it just past the line so he has to run up for it and we can both run to bases.”

I looked at Randy, there was no time to tell him my tale of woe. He went to bat and once again found his way to first base. I walked up to the plate and took a deep breath. Randy pointed to the line and mouthed, Relax.

“That’s it, just relax,” the catcher said behind me. A lot of help he was.

I looked at Evan who started the ball rolling toward me, slower than he did for Randy. The condescending smirk on his face infuriated me. I took a step toward the ball and imagined it was his face.  I kicked it as hard as I could and there was the sound of my foot hitting the ball and then, a surprising splat. I ran to first as fast as I could then turned to see where the ball was. It was on the ground at Evan’s feet. He was surrounded by his teammates and then I saw blood pouring out of his face.

I was beginning to like this little game, especially with it’s litigation-proof 45 pages of rules.