Plug! Two of my poems were featured in a local library’s literary magazine. This was my first publication. I will link it here. I hope you all check it out!
At some point in your adult life, it’s likely that you played in a league for some recreational sport. This summer marks my wiffle ball team’s 10th season (My ninth. I Jay-Z retired back in 2008) and I have played sporadically in slow-pitch softball. I also am one of the chief organizers for my clique’s Ultimate Frisbee games which, while not a league, has been around long enough for people to fall into a role. And that’s what I am exploring this week. Here are the 5 people you meet at a recreational league sport.
The Gym Class Hero
You’ve probably known this person for years. They were always the first to ask when we’d start playing dodgeball. They took every gym event with Olympic seriousness and, even though they didn’t play a team sport in high school, insisted they would have been a great footballer/futboler, volleyballer, or chessmaster if those coaches had opened their eyes. You probably haven’t seen this person in a while, so when they show up to the field/place of play you recall the ‘coulda been a contender’ rants they gave after running a sub 7 minute mile. You’re unsurprised and a little bit excited to quickly learn that they don’t have the spring in their step they apparently used to have if they ever had it at all. But don’t fret, because at the first strike-out, dropped pass, missed free throw, etc., they’re quick to retort. “If I was still in high school, I would have made it.”
The Intern Referee
This person is not an actual referee/umpire/judge. They come and play whatever sport you’re playing every weekend and for the most part are perfectly fine. They happen to know just about every rule for the sport you are playing, but instead of speaking up when rules are violated or when they could actually make a difference, they mumble these violations to themselves and go as far as to complain when the rules are broken. “Well why don’t you say something?” You think and perhaps say. This person, trying their best to be apathetic, replies, “Ah, it doesn’t matter. Let’s keep playing.”
You can probably find this person holding a binder with several pens on them at any given time. You can find the commissioner easily because he or she is the saddest person in the league. Their fun and games has turned into work, and this was never supposed to be work. This was supposed to be a desperate cling to youth at best. But the people demand a league and they demand a person to run it, so they put on their crown of thorns and run things as best they can, much to the chagrin of the players for one reason or another.
There are two paths the Gym Class Hero could take. They could take the route above as most do, or they just might be good at whatever sport they’re playing. Most people that end up being good at a recreational league sport are nice people that just want to play, but there’s always going to be one diva emerging from that pack. The league sport becomes a part of their identity which becomes fuel for their ego. These people might be faceless in their everyday life, but put them on the mound, pass them the ball, or whatever sports term fits your lifestyle and they become more than John Doe the accountant. They are great and people can see them be great, even if it’s just fellow teammates and whoever they’re playing that particular week. What makes them different is that, at this tiny amount of recognition, they turn into insufferable people. They’re Michael Jordan on an atomically small scale. The tragedy to them and comedy to others is that no one will know them outside of the league.
Someone Who Is Totally Not Me
This person who I can say isn’t me is a decent player. He(or she, but likely a he. Again it isn’t me) has their good games and their bad games. When it’s good, they’re cool as a cucumber because it’s just a game and who cares? Namaste. But when the going gets rough a rage builds up in this hypothetical person who isn’t me. The other team is capitalizing on my frustrations. They’re not showing it but they’re mocking me I just know it. Sorry, they know it. Not me. Finally the rage builds up until I (they) can’t perform. It’s just a fucking game and who fucking cares??? The game ends and this person reluctantly shakes hands and storms off, annoyed. I’ll have you know I am a published poet. They say. Although it is a coincidence that I have also said that.