Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rough Night For Veteran Ballplayers

Sunday night I seized the opportunity to watch baseball history unfold as R.A. Dickey, recently off two consecutive one-hit starts for the New York Mets, started against the New York Yankees and CC Sabathia. It had the potential to be a great pitching duel. Alas, the "ace" starters "dueled" themselves to a 5-5 tie before they were both relieved in the 6th inning. Dickey's scoreless inning streak was ended at 44 and 2/3rds innings and his chance for a third consecutive one-hitter was dashed when Nick Swisher smashed a three-run homer. Dickey ended his game with a slide into home where the catcher tagged him in the face despite the fact the catcher wasn't holding the ball. So the 37 year-old Dickey scored, but was roughed up a bit at the plate in multiple ways.

After a leisurely meal of pizza, burgers and root beer, followed by a couple innings with the boys trending towards boredom, I gave them each $10 to play video-games in the arcade. I watched a couple more innings until the aforementioned duel was concluded, then deciding I had no vested interest in which NY team won the game, I left to see how the boys were doing.

They had a stack of prize-tickets half a mile long. They were playing an electronic jump-rope game that rewarded them with loads of tickets if they were able to avoid stepping on the pressure-pad while the "light rope" was near their feet. With all the tickets they won, they were able to each get a yo-yo and they also got a mini basketball hoop and ball (for indoor use) a mini football with foam arrow-feathers attached and some candy.

Then, despite the fact I promised them we'd bowl, the boys amiably agreed to play hacky-sack instead to  save a few bucks.

That turned out to be the most fun of the night. Our goal is to get as many successful passes as possible with the recipient touching the bag before it hits the ground. We achieved a new record of 5, since acquiring the hacky-sack on Saturday.

As the veteran hacky-sack player in the group, the boys relied on me to act as a stabilizing force and catch passes from one, control it and pass to the other. Unfortunately, like Dickey and Sabathia, my skills were not at their best that night.
Nevertheless, the boys were entertained when I ran after a long-shot, lunging with such force that my anchor foot was made to skid over the ground and lose traction.
Imagine a letter 'K' that is six and a half feet long and 220 lbs, with it's flat side toward the ground and a little elbow poking towards the asphalt. That is the position I was in the moment after losing my grip on the ground and just before flopping on it again like a fish.
Jamey and Arthur worried over me a bit; asked if I was okay and offered to quit for the day. Not wanting to set the example of quitting after a "superficial" injury, I rallied forth (after a bit more writhing on the ground, holding my elbow) and we played more, with the boys admonishing me to resist the temptation to chase down the really wild ones (while I dreamed of the chance to chase down another, thus demonstrating I could do it without falling this time.)

Later, I asked them what it looked like to see me flop. Jamey said it was really funny looking and that he had to hold-back from laughing when it happened (Arthur agreed). This surprised me a bit, because I imagined it to be a spectacular crash, not a humorous one.

So, I got roughed up a bit too, but despite the bruises and scrapes it was great fun and a great "boys night out".