Friday, May 19, 2017

Balls

Before I jump into my kickball update, I wanted to remind you that I'm featuring a giveaway to win a digital kitchen scale. You can enter to win on my giveaways page.

Last winter, I joined my neighborhood's kickball team. We play in a co-ed community league on Tuesday nights, and I'd say we're pretty decent. We ended the season in second place out of four teams but got booted out early in the playoffs, so we decided we needed to form a summer team to earn redemption. I agreed to come back to the team since I'm not fully in my half-marathon training regimen yet, so I'm not worried about depleting my fitness bank right now. Fall may be a different story though - I'll be 100% focused on running.

We had a good time last winter, but there was one team who really made the game... less fun. While I certainly can appreciate anybody who displays a competitive attitude and a desire to win, they took it to an extreme level. Arguing about the rules with us. Giving the ref a hard time. Not laughing at my self-deprecating jokes. It got to the point where I actually dreaded playing them, which was every three weeks since it was a small league. It wasn't just our team who felt that way - we'd run into members of the other two nicer teams in the league, who'd ask us to "give 'em hell."

They kind of remind me of these guys:

Cobra Kai: Sweeping Legs since 1984


The mean team *almost* went undefeated during the season (they lost twice, once to us and once to another team), and they did end up walking away with the trophy at the end, so I suppose their style of "play" works. But I don't know, it's adult co-ed kickball. S'posed to be fun.

So when I got the summer league schedule, my stomach dropped when I saw that the mean team was returning - and we'd be playing them in the first game.

Tuesday night was our first match, and I was hoping I was going to be able to walk away from the game saying I was pleasantly surprised by their behavior. Especially because we recruited new members to the team, and I didn't want their first experience at kickball to set the tone for the rest of the season.

But no. It turns out that their team hates playing us just as much as we hate playing them, and they pulled out all the stops. Dropping foul language. Standing in the baseline so that our runners couldn't get to base on time (and I'm not sure how the ref missed calling them on these occasions). Even after the game was over (which they won), they actually pulled the ref aside to complain about US.

When my husband, who happens to be the coach of our team, saw this behavior, he marched right over to the two mean teamers yelling at the ref and asked to speak with them personally. When I saw what he was doing, I went over to back him up. Even though I came into the middle of the conversation, I could see his old Resident Assistant "let's talk about our feelings, let's not resort to five-year-old behavior,  and let's use 'I' statements so we can resolve this as adults" personality at play.

God, I love him.

The mean teamers weren't having it, though. Seriously, I've seen drunken college students respond better to confrontation then these "adults."

For example, Ben tried to explain to one particular mean teamer how his aggressive behavior had actually made Ben uncomfortable at one point - to which the mean teamer's girlfriend replied "We're not here for your comfort." Wow.

But - in between petulant outbursts - I did understand that they were angry at one of our own teammates, who apparently trash-talks his way throughout the game to other players and also argues about the rules when it isn't necessary.

Although I've never heard or seen him do the things they were accusing him of, I don't discount their objections. He's the most intense player on our team. In fact, had I not known him BEFORE we played kickball together, I might have assumed he was one of the Mean Teamers. It's unfortunate, though, because outside of kickball, he's an absolute teddy bear. He was one of my first friends in the new neighborhood, super welcoming. Loves kittens. Volunteers his time at charitable events either playing a pirate, an executioner, or Lord Voldemort. His wife is one of my favorite people, too. I probably would have been too intimidated by him to become his friend if my only exposure to him was at kickball. Just goes to show, you always gotta put your best foot forward, especially around people who don't know you.

So we agreed we'd have a sit-down with our rogue teammate, and they agreed they'd also try to come to our next game more peaceably. I think their attitudes towards Ben and me clearly demonstrate that it's too late to sit down over a beer with everyone and put the past behind us, but hopefully we won't have to deal with this every time we play them in the future.

Besides, it's definitely too late for me to do anything over a beer because the Whole Life Challenge starts up this weekend.