Sunday, July 30, 2006

Waiting... Waiting...

What a good weekend!

When I got home on Friday night, there was an email for me from one of the folks at the Possible New Job. They were requesting three professional references. Now that couldn't not be a good sign. My references, carefully chosen, are the former director of operations at the woodshop where I work, my number two guy at the needle exchange in NYC I used to run, and none other than Senator Sunshine. With two of the three--the former director of operations is a pussycat and a huge fan of mine--the Possible New Job can count on an unvarnished assessment of the best and the worst of me.

And that's my perspective. I want them to be able to make the best decision possible for the organization. Although I'm hoping, of course, that includes hiring me.

Oh man. I want this job.

On Saturday, it was all about softball. The Ball Breakers have made the playoffs! Hope against hope, we managed to pull it off. The way the playoffs work is double elimination. You keep on playing until you lose two games, and then that's it for you for the season. The first team facing us was the Hellcats. We love the Hellcats! They're a great team, all about having fun like we are, and they work hard. But then, we were going up against Fusion. Fusion is the second best team in the division. Every time we were scheduled to face them, we got rained out. So we had no idea what we were up against. Except that if anyone were betting on the game, the smart money would be on the Fusion. And finally, we were going up against Super G. (Ech.) Our opinion of Super G is colored by the presence on their team of this... this... guy. He's abominable. Now, you want to support your team from the bench. For the Ball Breakers, that means making some noise from the bench, calling out words of encouragement. "All the way May!" "Base hit, Buddy, Base hit!" "You're a hitter!" That kind of thing. But the Super G guy seems to spend the other six days of the week thinking up these rococo cheers for his teammates. One year, there was a woman on his team named 'Luna,' and every time she was up at bat there was this chorus of "Luna! Luna! To the Moon-a!" and there was more. It went on and on. And on. And on.

We managed to pull it out against the Hellcats. And had a great time doing it. At the end of the game, when we lined up and went down the line wishing them all 'good luck,' it was heartfelt. And the obligatory cheer, "Good Game Hellcats!"... We meant that.

Because of construction with the Battery Park Underpass, I was late getting to the fields in Prospect Park. (The guy in charge of the BPU reconstruction must have a meth problem. I've been through it, and it's gorgeous. They're done. But there's this guy, totally tweaking, "No no no! I want you to use these dental picks to clean the grout between the tiles! And look at this gravel in the roadway... Sweep that up! And soembody please make sure that the wattage is identical on all of the! And there can be no bugs in here at all! Do I make myself clear?") So I didn't get to play against the Hellcats.

But I was on the roster for the game against the Fusion. I was EP, so I wasn't in the field, just in the batting order. My first time at bat, I relaxed, got grounded, two balls went by me, I think a strike was called on me, and then the ball just came floating towards me, perfect. This was mine. I swung, I connected, and it was a great hit. I haven't hit the ball so nicely in a game in a very long time. Tragically, the guy at bat after me didn't get such a good hit. But still, I'm fast as hell. But since his ball landed about ten feet from second base... The shortstop threw the ball, but the second baseman bobbled! I slid! (Well, I kinda slid. I dropped to my butt, both legs extended. And I swear, I hit the base (sending it sliding away from me) before the second baseman caught the ball and tagged the base. But, alas, the umpire didn't see it that way. As I got up and headed back to the dugout, I realized that dropping to the ground on your ass hurts. Ow! I'll spend some time in the off season practicing sliding.

My hits after that were good, but not great. But I managed to get on first every time, got a nice rbi, and had the exhilaration of running across home plate.

And... And... We beat the Fusion! We worked like hell for that. It truly was the Ball Breakers finest hour. Even our coach got close to teary eyed--as if he had a human heart or something--when he told us how proud he was of us.

And gosh. There we are. Four months ago, we were pretty much strangers to one another. There were a few guys such as myself from last year, but mostly, it was all new guys. And we had it hard early on, not knowing each other, not being sure that when you threw the ball in from the outfield that your cut off man would be able to catch it. Which might, in part, account for our lousy record in the first half seven eighths of the season.

There's this odd quality to softball. You have these experiences--pulling it out at the last minute, making it through a tough loss, coaching, encouraging--and even though it might be completely novel, it's somehow familiar. Familiar to be sure. They're experiences shared by anyone who's ever competed. I have no doubt that gladiators in ancient Rome could relate.

Last but not least, there was our game with Super G. (We decided the "G" stood for "Gonorrhea," and soon we were calling them "Super Strain." As in, "We must defeat the Super Strain!" And the guy was as annoying as ever.

Okay okay okay. Cutting to the chase. We lost. They beat us. But totally not by much. The score was like 5-1. And the last time they beat us, the score was something like 33 to 4.

And guess what! Since we were playing in Prospect Park, the jewel of the People's Republic of Brooklyn, and easily accessible to Manhattan, UnFortunate came out to cheer on the Ball Breakers and join in the general festivities. Afterwards, he walked me to my car.

Man, lemme tell you. I miss Brooklyn. Even though I lived there it was during my relationship with the Awful Ex, I sure loved Brooklyn. And I have to admit, being there sure felt like a visit to home.

On the drive home--and this is totally why I love roadtrips--I had a really great idea of what I could do if indeed I get the Possible New Job. I mean, it was truly inspired, if I do say so myself.

Had a meet-up with a guy from Worldleathermen that night at the Bike Stop. He had just driven down from Syracuse NY (which he somehow thought was a hop, skip, and a jump from Philadelphia), and I was beat after all that driving and softball, so it was little more than a 'hey how goes it' kind of thing.

Today, I managed to get the kayak loaded onto my jeep. And I'll sure need it with the impending heatwave.

And tomorrow it's back to work. And somewhere out there in the world, there will be phone conversations about me. And a decision will be made.

Meanwhile, I wait.

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