Friday, July 27, 2007

Week 1 Recap: Really? We Just Did That

And by "that", I mean something that we haven't done in six seasons of Studio Division kickball: win our first game. And it was a good game against a good team, too - 2-1 over Nuts & Honeys. The odd part is that all the runs in the game by both teams were scored in the first inning, and there were nothing but blanks from there. Both teams had chances to score (for example, Megan was thrown out at the plate on a close play for us), but couldn't convert.

Even though our offense is a little rusty (it happens), I think our defense is in mid-season form. Honestly, I don't remember a mistake that we made the whole game, and we made several very heady plays. For example, in the first inning, Nuts & Honeys get their lead-off kicker on. The second batter kicks a ground ball to pitcher (Adam G.), who quickly gets the ball over to first (Scott P.) for the out. The runner on first decides to try and be aggressive and get to third. Which, honestly, works most of the time if the first baseman doesn't a) react immediately and b) make a strong throw.

Sucks for him, then, that Scott P. did both of those things. The runner was tagged out by about five steps, and I think it set the tone for the whole game.

Needless to say, the atmosphere at the bar was pretty electric. We've won regular season pennants and Division championships, but we'd never won our opening game, so it was nice to see all of our teammates celebrating being 1-0 versus going to our usual "well, we do this every year" card. You want to have something positive to let the new players on our team like Spitz see.

Yeah, about that...

Spitz was probably the best player on the Valley Girls, and especially when our rivalry with them was not-so-friendly, he was the most "hated" player on the team. There was especially a lot of tension between him and Scott J., since they are both oversized personalities, just in different ways. After a few seasons, some of us got to know Spitz as being the big teddy bear that he is and hearts melted, etc.

So this offseason. Spitz is leaving the Valley Girls, and during a conversation with some of us, the idea of having him join the Ninjas is hatched. And basically, it's a perfect storm of concept of execution - we need to keep it as secret as possible so we can not only blow the minds of everyone else in the Division but also our own team. Basically, five people in the kickball world know about this (Michael, Scott, Ashley, Spitz and myself), and we completely sell it to the outside world - Spitz tells everyone that he isn't playing this season (too competitive), but will come to watch games. We feign vague disinterest. We even go as far as to create a fake identity for Spitz to register under (Curt Hennig, aka Mr. Perfect) so that not even the WAKA reps will know what is happening.

Flash forward to Opening Night on Monday. All of the teams are brought onto the field to do leaguewide introductions. As defending champs (or maybe alphabetically, I don't know), we are introduced first. Spitz is sitting in the bleachers outside, having finished playing some basketball. Instead of cheering, we are silent (which Scott cryptically told the team to do). Scott says the following: "Wait, wait, this doesn't feel right. One of our players isn't out here. Spitz, do you want to get in the game."

And with that, Scott throws a t-shirt to Spitz as we walks from the bleachers to join his new team. Needless to say, minds were blown. It was spectacular. I couldn't be more thrilled at how it turned out. It was a better twist than anything M. Night Shymalayan has scripted in a long time.

My only regret is that we had some Amish-themed stuff to do that we didn't do, mainly because of the excitement of the night and the closeness of the game. Oh well, there's always next week...

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