This week marks the beginning of another season of rec. dodgeball for my friends in Harrisburg, but you won’t catch me the court.
And it’s not because I’m anti-sports/fun/social.
Rec. dodgeball actually sounds straight up my alley. Get a little exercise playing a silly game you haven’t participated in since middle school, and then grab a beer with other young professionals afterward. In theory, it’s awesome.
In reality, it’s hell.
I don’t know if this happens elsewhere, but in Harrisburg, rec. sports aren’t remotely recreational. In Harrisburg, dodgeball and kickball are life and death activities.
Some friends of mine play on a team run by a girl who is responsible for recruiting team members, signing everyone up and making sure they’re in the right place on game nights. Fair enough. Every team needs a leader.
But clearly this responsibility has gone to her head, because she’s also taken to sending scathing team emails announcing cuts to the starting lineup and offering critiques of their performance at each week’s game.
“I need to see a little more hustle on your way for first base.”
Sensing that this captain was not going to be my type of gal, I’ve resisted the urge to get involved with rec. sports during my three years in Harrisburg. But somehow, the drama finds a way into my life.
Last year, in between dodgeball and kickball seasons, this girl mercilessly cut a good friend of mine from the team because she felt she didn’t run out an easy play to first base. Of course she didn’t tell my friend. The queen of kickball just openly strategized about recruiting newer, stronger players in front of my friend and then left her off of all the invite lists. My girl was upset about it for weeks.
If it sounds like the elementary school playground, you’re right. It’s a bunch of 20-somethings behaving like babies, and it kind of seems like dodgeball and kickball should be left in our collective childhoods.
But it shouldn’t have to be that way. Why can’t there be a place for the highly-competitive 20-somethings among us to wallop each other, while the rest of us enjoy a little physical activity and camaraderie? (In Harrisburg, there actually is. There’s a competitive kickball league, which the captain has presumably avoided joining for fear of actually losing.)
So until the high priestess of rec. sports decides to join another league – or retires for more adult activities like having babies — I will continue to get my workouts elsewhere. There’s no crying in rec. sports, kids.