It’s softball. Soft. It’s in the name. How hard could it be? I’ve heard the same thing said about advertising, so maybe that should have been a clue.
I joined the team. Me and a motley assortment of EPIC staffers for our first foray into the Adworkers annual softball league. Chug a few Milwaukee Brewing Co brews, hit a few balls, tell some war stories with the other ad industry vets — didn’t sound too bad for a Wednesday night.
In my mind, it hadn’t been 26 years since I last took the field competitively. In my mind, I was still an agile and spry teenager. Twenty-six years or not, I was pumped to get back at it. I even bought cleats.
Standing at 3rd base I was 15 again, waiting for — no, daring — a batter to send one my way. Eyes laser sharp. Reflexes like a cat, a really quick cat. Like a hummingbird cat. Yeah, reflexes like that.
The first sign that I might be getting myself in for more than I realized was when another EPIC team member ended up in the hospital on the very first play of the very first game. A severely sprained ankle put him out for the season. But I usually take those things like the flashing speed signs on side of the road — a nice bluff, but I’m not buying it.
I made it through that first game bloody, bruised and sore — but I made it through. And it was fun! No balls or strikes in this league – just wait for a pitch you like. No knuckle-dragging jock straps barking at you for an overthrow. Just good times. We chugged a few beers, told some war stories and I made some new friends. I even played well enough to be welcomed back (although seeing’s how our coach works here, too, I don’t think he really had a choice).
I’m not one to get hung up on deep metaphors and symbolism, but the parallels are kind of striking. So often I finish up a work project feeling mentally bloody, bruised and sore, yet it’s always fun and I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing. The only difference is that here at EPIC, we like to play hardball.
Join me and United Adworkers on Thursday, September 8th as we take the field for the second annual All-Star Game, held at Miller Park’s Helfaer Field. This year’s benefitting charity, who will receive all proceeds raised at the event, is 88Nine Radio Milwaukee!