posted on October 23, 2004 17:36
I spent my summer with 37 of the coolest people I've ever met.
You know, there was a point when the snow was melting this past winter when that old familiar feeling crept upon me: Wiffle cravings. It hit harder than normal, because I didn't have any wiffle to look forward to at the time. On top of it, the last wiffle experiences I had left a bad taste in my mouth, like it just wasn't the same anymore. After 2003, after arriving in Minnesota, I had decided I could easily live without wiffle ball. But like an alcoholic who just plain needs a drink, I just couldn't stay away. That feeling of giddiness was creeping in, the snow melting, the fields slowly becoming bare of all the snow. I needed to play again. I had to.
I set out on the impossible task of putting a league together. From scratch. How would I do this? It's not like I was surrounded by tons of friends that were a phone call away. I knew almost nobody and didn't have a place to play. The very definition of 'square one'.
Fortunately, with the help of some of the Cities' finest media outlets, I found out very quickly that there were many like-minded individuals in the area, just waiting for something to come along that they too could be a part of.
The result, quite simply, was the greatest summer of my entire life. Not only did this league exceed my wildest expectations, it far surpassed anything I had been involved with back in Massachusetts. No contest. Without knocking too hard on my roots (HRL Mass will always be a part of me), this league's quality of play, quality of fun, and quality of people made it a joy to be around every game day. Something to look forward to. And that's saying something.
I knew this league was truly something special when I realized my wife was actually staying to hang out and watch the games. Seriously. Back home, she couldn't stand to be at the games for more than five minutes. She tolerated it, but didn't care for it. This time around, she stayed, hung out, made friends along with the rest of us, and realized how unbelievably great this league was and is.
The other thing that let me know how great this league is? The players are appreciative. I can't believe how many times you all came up to me and thanked me for starting this. Just came up and said "Thanks, Truck." Thanked me for doing the website. Thanked me for the new balls. I just wasn't used to a wiffle player being grateful for what they were doing or what they had. Ever. Guys, you're unbelievably welcome.
The fact that so many of us became friends not only at the field, but outside the league as well was a great thing to behold. Between Pub Crawls, Cantinas, Karaoke, Sabbath wiffles, and numerous other events, we spent a great deal of time off the field as well. Unreal.
I loved the fact that you welcomed wiffle ball as pure as it should be as well. Taped bats with 3 inch barrels? Hell no! Some of you even went so far as to term them "fag bats"! We were bare yellow banana bats all the way! Gloves? You had your manhood called out if you dared patrol the outfield with that chunk of leather!
It was six innings of bare knuckle brawling style of wiffles. It was swilling a beer, pissing on the outfield wall and showing off the wiffle welt on your manboobs. It was not taking a walk too proudly, flailing helplessly at that nasty slider and tipping your cap when the pitcher owned you. It was keeping the suck to a minimum, proudly hanging brain and making the shoestring catch up the first base line to save the game. It was playing by the car headlights to get the eighth inning in, drinking pitchers with the team that just mercied your ass, and birthday karaoke lap dances. It was Boo-Yaa Sticks, New Danglers, and Rainsticks. It was Cota's colon, Sanchez' dog dish and Pace's broken ribs. It was Mike P's 190 foot bomb, Shirls' no-hitter, and Nelson's high-seven. It was TV cameras, newspaper reporters, and Jack Cust. It was Larry's flaming socks, K-Mart's crusty socks, and Truck's dangling rocks. It was Tom whipping the ball back at Cota's head, Pirate's foul homers, and Edgar scoring from first on a grounder to right. It was a summer I'll never forget!
It was better than anything I ever experienced back home. Thanks!