Apart from a 4-year stint as a coxswain on the rowing team in college (go Heels!), and an 8-year career as a teenage equestrienne, I'm not exactly what you would call an athlete. Running, biking, rowing, swimming, skipping, hopping? All good. I don't excel, but I'm fairly consistent in the "mediocre but dedicated" category. I am, however, almost completely hopeless at all sports that involve balls and/or sticks of one sort or another. Soccer? Dear lord. You're better off playing man down. Basketball? In addition to my totally shrimpy size, I still haven't quite gotten my head around what "traveling" is. Lacrosse? My first instinct is to run screaming. Softball? Well, here's an interesting story.
In graduate school, I have been lucky enough to have fallen in with my own kind. That is to say, people who generally are not very good at sports (although we do have a few standouts), but who enjoy playing anyway, even if we lose 25-3. (That's an actual soccer score from last year, if I'm not mistaken. Let me repeat. SOCCER. 25-3.) Our history department has been tremendously successful at getting intramural sports teams organized. Our soccer team, the Subalterns (sorry, it's a history joke), have lost every single game in our glorious athletic career, except for one extramural game we played with the Chemistry (?) department last season when most of their folks didn't show up, so we put a lot of our extra guys on their team, and then beat them. But it was sort of like beating ourselves since we'd loaned out so many players. Still and all, we'll take a victory any way we can. Last week, our softball team got thrashed by the Classics department. Classics. Now that, my friends, is humiliating. If we can't beat Classics, who can we beat? Will Philosophy destroy us, as well?
Yesterday, however, was a red letter day. A day for the history books! (Ahem. I beg your pardon; another history joke. Very punny.) A day in which History athletic events have finally emerged from the doldrums of defeat.
The game? As you might have inferred from the first paragraph, it was softball. The team? The History Department's co-ed team, "Publish or Perish: We're History." God, history jokes are awful. Our jerseys have a picture of Abraham Lincoln as a Zombie. Very very unspeakably bizarre, yet strangely wonderful. Anyway, you know what happened yesterday?
Wait a minute, that's not good enough. We TROUNCED the other team. Wait a minute, that's not good enough, either. We TROUNCED the other team, which happened to be the KINESIOLOGY DEPARTMENT. Kinesiology. These people do athletics for a living, and we tanned their hides. It started off with a 6-run inning, and we never let up. Wham! To left field. Whap! A line drive past the shortstop into the outfield, and the bases are loaded! Run, run, run! Wheeeeeeee!!! Eventually the umpire invoked the mercy rule when we were up 14-2, and the game ended there. Oh, the shouting, the cheering, the stunned stupefecation, the disbelief, the utter joy of winning! We are at an almost total loss to explain this athletic prowess, and completely unconvinced that we'll ever be able to repeat that fine moment of synergy, but it was grand. Just grand.
In the excitement of the moment, I forgot to take pictures, but I snapped a few in the aftermath. Here's some of the kids on the field, fresh off our victory. See how happy we look?
And here's some others, celebrating in fine old fashion with beer after the game.
We may not be athletic wunderkinds, but damn, we're good looking.