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Intramural softball, or as us post-gradders like to call it, beer league softball, is a time-honored tradition and an outlet for every common man to march his out of shape, unathletic ass onto the field and participate in the closest thing he’ll ever experience to organized sports again. The game is common ground for has-beens and never-weres to partake in what’s left of America’s pastime for guys like us. And hell, we get to drink beer in the dugout. It’s fucking great. Good or bad, most of us share a common characteristic once we step onto the diamond. We revert back to Johnny High School, reliving our glory days.
“I’ll bat cleanup.”
It’s tough for the beer league softball badass to face the realization of his mediocre athletic existence. He gets winded easily. He can’t run like he used to. He has no power. And the flat stomach he had in high school now looks to be seven months pregnant. It’s not going to stop him from swinging for the fences, though. We’ll call it a success if he just doesn’t pull anything.
This particular tale takes place during a beer league softball game. It occurred my sophomore spring semester, and it’s truer than a SEAL’s aim. Every year our fraternity gathers in Lake Charles, LA for an annual softball tournament. It’s a huge gathering of brothers from all over the country, although it’s mainly guys from the southeastern U.S. It’s usually kicked off by a night at the local bars, a couple arrests, some skirmishes, and some general bad decisions. The next morning we all head to a large softball complex that has been rented out. They set up food stands and sell keg beer for a buck. As you can imagine, shit gets wild. However, it’s a very organized event. The tournament is divided up into two different divisions: the serious division, and the beer division. As far as I know, our chapter has never participated in the serious division.
Ready to celebrate their newly found freedom and fraternity membership, the JIs were well-represented in Lake Charles this trip. One specific JI, we’ll call him Willie, was in attendance. And Willie was druuuuuunk. I’m talking “I forgot my name” drunk. But he was there and eager to play, so we threw him out in left field. The game was moving along nicely, surprisingly competitive given its belligerent nature. I think we were playing a chapter from Arkansas, although I’m not sure. It was tied up in the bottom of the fifth and we were out in the field. We just recovered from a ridiculous incident where a brother we called “Shitty” hit a ground ball, ran to first base, tripped over the bag, fell flat on his face, and passed out in a pool of blood. And Shitty was a large American. When I say he passed out, I mean that literally. We had to drag him, unconsciously, off the field and sought medical attention for the big guy. Shitty was the third out of the top of the fifth inning, so the hysteria that ensued after Shitty’s abrupt plummet to earth had not yet subsided as it was our turn to play defense. We took the field as laughter and hollering filled the hot spring air.
First batter of the bottom of the fifth: sharp liner to me at third base. Caught. One out. (Sidenote: I was playing the hot corner like goddamn Brooks Robinson in his prime that day. It was like my 12th beer gave me some kind of super powers or something. Anything in my vicinity was a fucking out. I was diving all over the place and firing that fucker across the diamond.) Second batter: double to left center. Although this was seemingly a meaningless play in the game at the time, it would later prove to be a pivotal moment. The reason? Young Willie sprinted a good 120 feet to track this ball down. It wasn’t just that it was the first time he sprinted since high school; he had also never been this drunk before. He was about 15 beers, two stiff whiskey drinks, and seven hot dogs deep. Third batter: ground out to shortstop. This is when shit got real. There was still a buzz on the field about what we all witnessed at first base just minutes before. People were still joking, laughing and mimicking Shitty’s fall.
Through all the hoopla, one friend spotted Willie from the dugout. We’ll call him Doug. Doug caught a glimpse of Willie out in left and knew immediately that something was astir. He was the only one aware of the situation at hand. He slowly stood and approached the chain link fence of the dugout to squint through it and get a better grasp of the moment’s severity. “Mother of God,” Doug mouthed as he stared intently at Willie out in left. Something awful was happening. Time seemingly stood still at this moment for Doug. It was a surreal, stoic, almost slow-motion scene. He would later describe it as a tunnel vision of sorts. Everything going on around him was completely invisible, and the world turned silent. Doug saw an excruciating, drawn-out wince on Willie’s face, followed by a knee buckle and a subtle tossing aside of the glove. After this, a wide-eyed, frozen-faced “Oh shit” expression slowly spread over his face like a thick, cool, autumn midnight fog moving in over a still, moonlit lake. At this moment, several people had noticed the raw fear that had overcome Doug. We asked him what the problem was, but no words came out of his mouth. He could merely manage a weak finger point towards left field.
The abundance of dollar beers and hot dogs combined with physical activity had culminated into something ferocious inside Willie, and it was time to release it. He went for his belt buckle like the password to Kate Upton’s pants was stored inside his briefs. It was impressively swift. Then all we saw was white cheeks. It can’t be proven, but I’m certain he set a land speed depantsing record. A simultaneous “Nooooooo…” came from every team member, but the time had come…
With the score tied 7 to 7 in the bottom of the fifth, two outs, runner on second, Willie took a shit in left field.
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