I engaged with softball through participation. I joined a weekly pick up game that I found on meetup.com. The slow pitch softball game takes place every Sunday in the La Jolla area and group varies from singles and couples ranging from there 20’s and up. The game takes place every week, rain or shine. Initially, I was nervous so I had my boyfriend, who previously played collegiate baseball, join me to make me feel more comfortable. Engaging in this experience together, it exposed the difficulties that were presented because of the between baseball, fast pitch softball, and slow pitch softball. Even in the way the ball is held
My first game with the group was very difficult, as I have not played softball for at least three years or even participated in physical activity. Even though the majority of the players were amateur and beginners, the physical toll on my body made it clear that I was no longer in shape. Interacting in sport gave me a better understanding of the necessity of why a masculine body with strong arms that I previously discussed in my blogs is necessary to excel in the sport. Every Monday after playing, my arms were extremely sore. After this first game, I gained motivation to get back in the gym and eat healthier. The consistency of playing every weekend has motivated me to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Since January, I have started a boot camp and have yet to eat fast food (which was a consistent part of my diet.)
What intrigued me the most was the attire of the players. A softball player must have a glove and a uniform, but the difference in uniform of men and woman were very distinguishable. Most of the men wear button up jersey, baseball pants, long socks and cleats. The uniform is the standard uniform that is seen from T-ball all the way to the major leagues. However the woman come in an array of outfits that do not bring any uniformity. Some wear shorts with t-shirts, while others are in outfits similar to the men’s baseball uniforms. This phenomenon is common in softball, but I am not aware of another sport that has varying uniforms. When I previously played softball, I always wore shorts, but suffered many injuries because shorts are very impractical for sliding. Because of the critical discussions in this class, I became curious about the reasoning and origins of the dual uniforms. It was as I was standing in the outfield observing the attire of everyone on the field that I realized that I wanted to further investigate the uniforms of softball players as my research.
When I play the game, I usually play center or left field. The outfield did not have as much action when I previously played, but because this was slow pitch softball, many of the men had no problem hitting the ball into the outfield. I was very surprised by my ability to jump back in and remember rules, strategies, and technique. In the line-up, I was closer to the end because although it is called slow pitch, the ball is not any easier to hit. Unlike fast pitch where the ball is thrown in a nearly straight line across the plate, slow pitch pitchers throw a arc from three to ten feet across the plate. The difference in pitching took some getting used to but I am becoming more accustomed to it each time.
While it has been difficult to get out of comfort zone, I have really enjoyed being back on the field and not just another spectator in the stands.