Itís Friday night, time for a softball showdown between the Bible Boyís and Bernieís Brewery. Surely God is on our side. I know nothing about softball, but my husband lives for these games. I usually come for the food, which I chow down on while watching the team run around the bases and, well, I donít know what else they do.
On tonightís menu is buffalo wings with bleu cheese, my favorite. Thereís a commotion going on as the game is about to start, and itís almost loud enough to distract me from my wings, but not quite. Out of the commotion walks my husband, headed toward me with purpose. I stuff the last of the wings into my mouth, just in case he wanted some.
ďHoney, weíre short a player. Iím drafting you.Ē His eyes plead with me, and I almost consider doing it. ďAfter you finish chewing, of course.Ē
I swallow in one big lump. ďI canít. I donít know how. Isnít it a menís league?Ē
ďDoesnít matter, theyíll make an exception.Ē He leans in close, ďWe really need you.Ē I try to remember if ďobeyĒ was part of our wedding vows.
The rest of the team looks at me expectantly. The crowd is sparse, or surely they wouldnít pick me. No one ever picked me for anything sports related. Last one to be picked in gym? Me.
My tummy gurgles, and Iím not sure if itís from the food, or from nerves. The game gets underway, and our team is first at bat. Iím not first up, but close enough. I havenít done this since junior high, and I stank at it then too. Itís my turn to bat.
The pitcher, Bernie, throws the ball. I close my eyes and swing with all of my strength.
ďStrike!Ē the umpire shouts behind me. Thanks.
Bernie crouches and prepares to throw again. This time I vow to keep my eyes open.
Help me Lord, I donít want to look foolish!
I grip the bat as the pitcher throws the ball. It makes a beautiful arc in the air, and as it races back to earth, I swing.
I donít realize that Iíve made a connection until I hear my husband yell, ďRun!Ē I take off for first base and get there with time to spare. Donít ask me how. I donít think my husband has ever seen me run. I probably look dumb. But he is a gift from God, because when I look up heís jumping up and down and swinging his hat around and yelling a lot. It takes me a moment to hear him shout, ďKeep going!Ē
It feels like a bad dream, the kind where no matter how hard you try you canít run fast. Except itís not a dream; I really canít run fast. But like I said, God must be on our side, because I make it all the way to third base.
The next batter up looks like a pro, and Iím not sure why he didnít go ahead of me in the first place. Heís chomping hard on his gum, and I know he means business. The pressure is on me to score, but this Bible Boy looks like heíll pass me up in an instant.
He swings, and the ball goes flying straight toward Bernie. My husband is yelling at me to run, the rest of the Bible Boys are cheering, and about this time Iím wishing I was still eating my wings.
I go as fast as I can, which isnít saying much, but it looks like now that Bernie has
gotten a hold of the ball, heís coming toward me. I feel my cheeks jiggle as I run, and I hope I donít look as bad as I think I do. I dive to the ground, just like Iíve seen them do on TV. Dirt flies everywhere, and I feel the rocks scraping my belly as I slide. My husband cheers. Like I said, God must be on our side, because when the dust cloud settles I look up at the umpire and see that Iím homeÖ.safe.
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