As the weather starts to get cooler and the leaves begin to change, the best time of the year on a college campus is quickly approaching. Sure, football season is heating up. Sure, playoff baseball is on the horizon. But you guys know what I’m talking about; intramural softball season.
As a lifelong baseball player, I’ve always gravitated towards the diamond. A lot of athletes play baseball when they’re little but go their separate ways to football, lacrosse, basketball or what have you as they reach high school. But once high school is over, and the washed-up multi-sport players move on to college, it’s the return to the diamond that draws everyone in.
Playing in the fraternity softball league my freshman year and being thrust into the pitcher’s circle as a pledge was a tall task, but one that I was up for. That circle quickly became my church, and that neon yellow grapefruit-sized ball my communion.
After whipping through pool play unscathed, our first real test was the quarterfinals against the reigning champs from Sigma Chi. To this day, with 16 years of playing competitive baseball under my belt, I’ve never been more disrespected on a field than in this game. I floated in a pitch in the first inning and this kid hit the ball so far it would’ve been a home run at Yankee Stadium. I flat out broke my neck watching it soar into the next field over. From there, the game got quickly out of hand and the mercy rule took effect.
The following fall, after a couple “violations” we became ineligible for the Greek league for right before our semifinal matchup with AEPi, which crushed us because we knew it was the year. We were stacked. After that, with the graduating seniors, we went into a rebuild and didn’t enter the league last year.
Three years later, as a senior, I know it’s do-or-die for my time as an IM athlete. I’m still without the elusive championship t-shirt and man does that sting. We’ve had our chances in flag football and basketball, but nothing would mean more to me than to dog-pile in the middle of the field after getting the final out of my softball career.