Spring has finally arrived in the Great White North. We finally get to open the windows and let fresh air into our stagnant dwellings. Longer days and the Technicolor of a world in bloom beckon us outdoors. Now that we’re no longer facing frostbite and deadly wind chills, we can expose some skin to the ever-warming sun and take the opportunity to rub up against our fellow man.
When I first met Sarah, she was the life of the party and the stuff of dreams for many a Wisconsin college boy. I liked her because she was fun, gregarious and sweet. I hated her because she made me feel like an ogre. Like most small creatures, she overcompensates for her stature by making a gigantic amount of noise.
After graduation, she promptly took her tiny ass to Vegas, doing Lord knows what, for the better part of a decade. When I’d see Sarah during her infrequent visits home, it was evident she was growing up in a place very unlike Minneapolis. While I gravitated toward sophisticated adult-ish bars, Sarah wanted to rip shots and tip over police cars.
She recently decided to return home to “settle down.” I feel it’s important to note that Sarah’s interpretation of settling down is dying her pink, purple and black hair a more natural shade of platinum. Sarah found herself an alien in a world where most of her peers preferred to patronize the Chanhassen Applebee’s over The Drink in Uptown. In order to meet new and interesting singles, she needed to get creative — and she needed an unwitting sidekick.
And this, dear reader, is where I should have known better than to join and adult kickball league with Sarah.
My love of team sports, making new friends and getting inappropriately competitive clouded my better judgment. I blindly committed every Wednesday of the summer to an activity I knew nothing about. Any amount of research would have informed me that joining such a league required more than a competitive spirit.
We gathered early before our first game to meet our teammates, who were mostly decent-looking, gregarious, young professionals. I naively arrived prepared to do some serious work in my beat-up running shoes and heavy-duty sports bra. Sarah arrived wearing sexy Victoria’s Secret athletic gear. She was not wearing a sports bra. Being savvier than I, she very literally began “playing the field.” Just before the start of the game, the league coordinator approached our team with a wagon of “welcome” beer and shots. We raised our Captain Morgan as she enthusiastically shouted, “Who’s single and ready to mingle?” Everyone let out a loud whoop, while I made the emoticon equivalent of this face:
Despite the awkwardness of being the only engaged wing-woman in a singles pick-up league, I decided to play as if the point were to win the game. I treated the after-bar as an excuse to let loose riding the bull, playing tippy cup and donning the team sombrero. Ultimately, I felt like a giant fraud and eventually stopped participating all together.
I don’t normally advocate quitting something just because it makes you uncomfortable. Perhaps I should have simply come clean regarding my marital status and stuck around to make some new friends. Perhaps it would have even been fun. But my better judgment told me to take my new $60 tie-dyed t-shirt and run, literally, away from the playing field.