Not so straight from the ATL, mixing one electric personality with a dash of humorous wit commenting on life, the universe, and everything.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Southern Shootout 2005

I'm actually quite surprised at how my body is holding up...this past weekend was our second tournament this season, the Southern Shootout 2005 held in Birmingham, Alabama. The Wackers played a total of six games (3 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday) and things were...well things were pretty amazing.

L and I left Atlanta around 7PM on Friday and got to Birmingham at about 10. The host party at the hotel was winding down but we weren't totally in for that. We were a bit tired after working all day and then the drive. Our first games were round-robin which is a set of games that determine your starting position for the tournament. You really want a good seed otherwise you might get knocked out pretty fast.

So at 8AM we were on the fields warming up for our 9AM game against the Phoenix Pride of Birmingham, AL. When we were registering the night before they were working the registration area and kept joking "We'll see you at 10!" LOL :) Well the game went really well and though we were a little bit nervous at the outset, we got our butts in gear and pulled a win out of it.

The second team we played were the Ft. Lauderdale Paladins. We were a bit wary of this team because Florida has a really bad repultation for under rating their players (and we have seen this in tournaments throughout Florida). See, in softball, you get a score as to your skill level. Once your skill level gets to a certain point, you have to move up. I'm at the upper end of the lowest division and our commissioner is a stickler for ratings because if you take a team to the Gay Softball World Series and you get protested, then your league gets fined.

Well...needless to say the game was over in 20 minutes with a flat out shut out something like 14-0 after 3 innings. We were run-ruled.

With that, Round Robin was over and we began REAL tournament play and our first game was at 6PM against the Knoxville Kats. We were a little bit off because playing under electric lights and a light drizzle your perception of the ball is a little bit off. After 7 innings or so, we were tied up with time expired. Enter the "international tie-breaker rules" where each team gets one last at bat with a man starting on second base. Whoever has the most after one inning, takes the game. Due to some aggressive baserunning, we pulled ahead to beat them by 3 points. But it really was one HELL of a game. Very action packed and suspenseful even if you weren't ON the field.

That night we enjoyed a little bit of the drag show (and by drag show I mean "drag on and drag on and on" at the host hotel. Why they feel that gay sports boys want a super long drag show at all is beyond me. A few choice performances is ok, but they need to re-think that portion of the program. Anyway, L got tired early and I just hung out with a few of the other Wackers and some mutual friends in the lobby and had a couple of drinks there.

Sunday we were back up against our favorite team, the Ft. Lauderdale Paladins. The game played itself without incident...well...not exactly. :) Our fans on our sister team, the Pounders, were doing this cheer where you clap and say "under rated " about one of their players on third and he got huffy and started yelling at them. Our coach was on the pitcher's mound and looked over at him and this guy goes "And what are YOU looking at?" to which my coach replied calmly "You." And that's when he muttered something about him being a hillbilly *laugh* and our coach doesn't put up with that. I think it was part of a ploy to get the team wired up. If you can decombobulate a team mentally/emotionally, then you can kick their butt because they lose focus. Well the ump came over and stopped that little bit of drama toot-sweet and we resumed the game to get our butts handed to us with a score of 16-8. We didn't feel too bad because as one person said, "Hey, you held our own against a C level team" :) LOL.

So to the Losers' Bracket we went to attempt to battle our way back up the chain. We faced our old friends the Phoenix Pride and after a fun game of back and forth scorekeeping, we emerged victorious! But immediately after that we were about to face an all women's team, the 7-2-9 Ladies. Now playing women is very different. They approach the game differently and generally have hard core fundamental skills and this team was no exception. I think that this game had to have been my BEST game as well. I had three great plays. The first one was just a fire to shortstop...a really quick straight pop that you don't have time to think you just reach out and snag it! The second one was where this girl named "Tiny" (and no she wasn't) was making a break to third and got trapped. Threw the ball to second and she turns and then I get it (back at shortstop) and she breaks back and then I throw to second and then she breaks back and I get the ball one last time, get tired of the situation and run her down! The roar from the stands was awesome to hear and someone said later it looked like a hyaena chasing down a water buffalo! LOL :) The third dramatic play by yours truly was another incident of a runner from second to third and I get her out on the tag and she slides down on the dirt and I was about to fall on top of her...hard. I'm surprised I had time to push off a little bit and I ended up doing a dive roll to avoid a catastrophe.

Well these fabulous plays weren't enough and they took the game. But as we were giving a "good game" down the team lines, a few of these women told me "You are awesome" and I can say that coming from these players, that indeed was a compliment to be cherished.

And so we were done. Out of the tournament, but we have our own battles ahead this 2005 Season on our home turf of Atlanta, GA. We've just started and the slate is clean...but we have our work cut out for us this year if we hope to make it to the world series...


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