Mandatory Fun: Game 2

It’s been a year since our first ever kickball game as a company, and a lot has changed in that time. We’ve got a new team, a new name… and some awesome new shirts, courtesy of Jane.

Our name this year is Mandatory Fun, which is a play off of a phrase used by Chris C in one of his company-wide emails. I forget the original context, but the email spoke about some required function, and his phrasing was something like: “This will be a fun (mandatory) event.”

When we took submissions for names and the votes tallied out, this is the name that won.

I missed the first game last week, when I was out out on vacation. Actually, I was stuck in traffic, driving back into the city near the start of the game. I technically might have been able to make it home, then out to the game… but that would have been craziness. I was tempted to… but made the better choice of decompressing at home (and getting ready for another family trip, a few days later).

Call it nerves, but all throughout the day today… I was super nervous. Not sure why, but my stomach was full of butterflies in the same way that it used to get, back whenever I was to do a speech or get in front of a crowd. I guess I was nervous about playing again, after a year off. That feeling kind of ebbed halfway through the game, once I got a few innings under my belt. And it fully went away, after we got to the bar (the second time we went to the bar).

Here’s us, hamming it up for the camera waiting for our ride to Skinner Park. L to R it’s Nisha, Tim, Alexandra, me and Chris. Photo courtesy of Utopia.

Walking to the park. Photo courtesy of Utopia.

// Sidenote: En route, we passed by a place called Ethyl’s (?), where Chris and I enjoyed several games of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein pinball. Sad to say, that place is now closed, leaving us no good nearby spot to get in a quick pinball fix.

Our game wasn’t until 7:30 PM, so we stopped off at Union Park Lounge, our go-to place to do some warmups. Which mostly involved shots of Jameson and a bit of food, before the game. Photo courtesy of Utopia.

Preparing to start off the game, Tim sets up the kicking order. L to R it’s Utopia, Time, Chantel and Alexandra.

Us and our regular bench. I think the entire time we’ve played at this field, we’ve always somehow managed to get to this particular bench. It feels very natural now, and I can’t imagine setting up shop across the way.

Tim, about to kick the hell out of the ball… with Chris, in wait on third.

I normally take more pictures than this, but I’ll tell you something: we were constantly on the move. That, in addition to my nervousness, resulted in only a few snapshots here and there.

Here is one super important fact: we were down people. Normally, I think there are 10 people out on the field at a given time. Today, we had eight: Me, Tim, Ben, Chris, Utopia, Chantel, Alexandra and Nisha.

Given the smaller numbers, we ended up adjusting our strategy and mostly foregoing First Base, and leaving it unattended. I tried to pop over whenever I could, but played pretty far away from it most of the game.

The first inning or so was rough, with us getting our bearings. But once we got into our stride, we did a great job and abour 3 or 4 innings in… the score was 10-1, with us in the lead! After that, the other team (the #BalBusters) rallied a bit.

Well, they rallied a LOT, in fact, and in short order got the lead from us, putting the score at 10-12. They continued on a roll, and got near the 6th inning or so with a score of 10-16, them.

Things got to the wire, and though I forget what inning it was (maybe the 7th?)… the Ref told us that we had to score six more runs to continue on to the next inning. Otherwise, the other team would win.

And would you believe it? We did.

It was a spectacular comeback, with us scoring 6 runs in one inning… and it was an incredible boost for us. Considering again that there were only 8 of us, this was no small feat!

Next inning, it was tied 16-16 with the ruling that the first team to score would win. We took the field, and held them to no runs. We were ready to take the plate, but at that point the Ref called the game, due to time. It was a tie.

Though this was a total bummer, I’m really glad we tied. We came from a huge deficit, and rallied enough to pull off a tie. All this, with our team down about two people. I’m proud of everyone who played, and we did a great job working together – no shame in this game at all.

We hit the bar for a celebratory drink, and unwound a bit before heading home. Fun, fun times… and I can’t wait until more of the team can join us for our next game. Partly for the comraderie, and partly so I can catch my breath between innings a little more.

Mandatory Fun: Kickball Practice Session
Emmis the Menace: Kickball Season, 2011

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