I took a slow-pitch softball off the head. It wasn't under the typical circumstances you'd expect of camping under a ball and getting nailed on the head because the positioning was wrong. I got hit on the head while at bat, somehow. I stepped to the plate, the ball was lobbed in, and it just seemed to stay in the air for hours. I waited and waited, expecting to come down over the plate, and instead it came down on the crown of my head. It was obviously unintentional, the pitcher was immediately apologetic, my teammates demanded I be given first base (softball rules, however, dictate that a hit-by-pitch is merely a ball), and I responded to whole situation by announcing that I'm an idiot.
The pitcher seemed to take it easy on me after, giving me good stuff to hit. I predictably responded by drilling the pitch right into the ground at home plate. Real routine play. But somehow, against all odds, I ended up making it to first. I didn't see the play unfold, but there was a real inglorious stink to it. Was this an act of pity? I left that game not embarrassed, but more resigned, that softball was not something I should do.
The team ended up in the loser's bracket for the postseason on account of a 3-3 record. The day of our game was a very rare late spring day in Seattle. It poured, and people canceled. We eventually managed four players, while the other team actually had a full complement. They proposed a scrimmage, but we ended up just hanging around the field, batting, fielding, and having impromptu games of catch on the soaked field. It was the best day of the season. Easily.
I think I understand how I got hit on the head. All season long, I felt so locked in, so much like I had tunnel vision and I could only see what was directly in front of me. I'd hit the ball, and only really know where it went when I was either safe or out at first.
I had a bit of an awakening in college. I like throwing a ball around. I like batting, even if I'm shit at it. I fucking love ranging over to field ground balls on my left or right. But make it matter--not even in the sense of being intense about the game or not, but just assigning rules and goals and objectives to it--and then to me it's all different.
And the popularity of sports leagues would indicate otherwise, but honestly I think it's not just different, but worse.