There was a softball game this weekend. I was there. I saw it, as did most of the reported 52 people in attendance.
But there was also something else. Maybe you, and some of those 52, missed it.
Sure, there were diving catches, double plays and hit-and-runs. But more than that, there was a refreshing grasp on humanity.
Sounds pretty silly, I know. But humor me, read on.
Like anyone on or around Ram Field Saturday afternoon, I was freezing my butt off. Whether you were the leadoff hitter, P.A. announcer or proud parent, there were about 187 better places to be. It was that cold.
And our Rams played like it.
After taking a 1-0 lead, the floodgates began to open in the fifth inning. 1-1, 2-1, 3-1 New Mexico. By the time the inning was over, the Lobos had taken a 6-1 lead.
With no outcome to worry about, the talk in the press box turned to the more pressing issue: would there be a second game?
Most said no. It was too cold.
“Too cold?” I said. “You can’t call a game for that!”
I had been through enough sports contests to know one thing: if the game is going to be canceled, the field better be sloppy wet beyond repair.
Never had I seen (or heard of) any game called merely because it was cold.
Did I want to go inside? Damn straight I did. Like I said, I was freezing my butt off. But surely they couldn’t simply call the game. It wasn’t the right thing to do. The game must go on.
But then, something crazy happened.
Following the final out, the coaches had a brief meeting with the field umpire and before I knew it, the teams were high-fiving each other and packing up their equipment.
The second game was off.
Unbelievable, I thought. Never had I seen people do this simply because they wanted to. It just wasn’t the way sports go.
Officially, the game was called due to “adverse weather conditions.” But I was there, folks. That field was fine.
These people had called the game simply because they wanted to get out of the cold.
And you know what? I loved it.
This was more than a decision. This was a return to innocence.
When has it ever been acceptable to take the easy way out? Who among us hasn’t longed to bag the study session in favor of MTV and Cheetos?
How many times are we, as Americans, allowed to call off a scheduled event simply because we’re uncomfortable?
Maybe a blind date here and there, but otherwise, practically never.
“Yeah, hi, this is Reed… no, I uh, won’t be making the meeting today… well, see, I’d just rather go inside and lie down. Great, thanks.”
The fact this was an actual sporting event is even more unbelievable. This was a conference softball game, blown off like it was an after-school kickball game.
A few blocks down at Hughes Stadium, the football team was facing the same adverse conditions in their annual spring game – a game that doesn’t count for anything.
But they played. They were supposed to play only a half and ended up playing three quarters – one quarter more than planned.
And why? Because that’s what sports teams are supposed to do. Go all out. Never quit. Win at all costs. And that’s what makes this contrast so great.
Our softball team effectively said, “You know what -there’s more to life than sports. Besides, we’re freezing our butts off out here!”
Bring on the Cheetos, baby.