As a result of my book, Growing Up Stupid, a reader contacted me and invited me to join his softball team, the Mighty Mussels. He read about how I loved playing baseball as a kid and figured that my love for the game would make me an easy mark to join his team of senior citizens. I was at once both flattered and deflated.
Senior league? The minimum age for joining the league is 50. Some team members are in their 70s. I fit somewhere in the middle, so like it or not, I am eligible. Whether I am qualified is another issue.
I haven’t played softball in a decade and then it was only one game at my company picnic. Senior League Softball games start some time in May and my new coach, Mike, suggested I get into Spring Training as soon as possible. He recommended stretching a good deal as pulled muscles are a common injury. The inside joke was the Mighty Mussels came to be known as the Sore Muscles.
Mike also relayed some of the modified rules to apparently compensate for our advanced ages. To wit:
- Stopping at a base, any base, is optional. You can run past any base as if it was first base and not get tagged out unless you attempt to advance. Sudden stops for the geriatric crowd is discouraged. (Acceleration, on the other hand, is encouraged but seldom witnessed.)
- There are two home plates: one is for batting and the other for all other plays. This is to avoid any collisions that may occur because the batter hadn’t left the batter’s box or perhaps left his bat in an awkward place. Avoiding other players (and equipment) is paramount, as a dropped bat is akin to a roller skate abandoned on the stairs.
- Sliding into a base is allowed, but highly discouraged.
- Bending over for ground balls is strictly at your own risk.
- Oxygen is not provided by the League, but is the responsibility of the Team Manager.
- Defibrillators are highly recommended.
- It shall be declared a double play if a player is tagged out and then dies on the field.
I’ll keep you posted on my Spring Training Regimen.