I joined a kickball league. I joined a kickball league with the expectation that it would be a fun way to work in some additional exercise and socializing into my schedule. Last week was our first tournament, and though we lost 4 to 8, it was really enjoyable and I didn’t suck nearly as bad as I thought I would. I hadn’t played kickball in about 20 years, so I was certainly nervous, but my team was encouraging and supportive and it didn’t take me too long to refamiliarize myself with the game.
Then last night happened. Last night was one of the worst athletic experiences of my life. Having played sports regularly in my youth (both competitively and recreationally), and having been on our high school’s varsity swimming and tennis team, that says a lot.
Here is what went down. I had had a few individuals warn me about the team we were playing. They are known for being highly competitive, and last year had a number of complaints filed through the city against them for their aggressive behavior. Great. I definitely was not going into this game with any sense of optimism. Of course I was hoping that it would still be fun; but alas, that was not meant to be.
I was guarding second base, was roughly 5 feet from the base when a player came rushing towards the plate. He had a crazy look on his face as if getting to second base by any means necessary was a matter of life or death. Rather than running straight, he curved. He curved and ran full sprinting speed right into my side. He then proceeded to shove me out of his way, finally landing on second.
I was pissed. How was that acceptable behavior?!?!
The entire side of my left arm and shoulder instantly turned beet red, sore from the impact of an incredibly muscular, male body slamming into my own. It took everything I had to not tear up and/or scream at the idiot who was now standing feet away from me, completely oblivious to the inappropriateness of his actions.
Two innings later, the same douche comes rushing at second base. Thinking that a teammate was going to throw me the ball, I hustled towards the base, touching one foot on it, anticipating a catch. Again, this moron comes rushing at me. BAM. Body slam number two, in the exact same spot. REALLY?!?!
Tears welled in my eyes. I was not going to be that girl. That weak girly-girl who cried and complained. I was livid. My upper back, shoulder, and arm were throbbing at this point. What was before just a very red upper arm/back (as if someone had slapped me really hard and left a handprint) was now turning into a giant patchwork of welts.
The next inning, I was up to kick. Sprinting to first base, I was safe! Instant excitement that I had contributed to my team was instantly killed as two butch she-devils came barreling towards me, screaming at me that I was out, one of them thrusting the ball roughly and unnecessarily into my chest.
Apparently they thought I was continuing to second because I didn’t curve right and run “out.” I my foot hit first, I stopped running. I obviously had no intention of making it to second.
I jogged back to the dugout, the perma-tears were threatening to spill over. No. Please, no. Deep breaths. You’re fine. It’s just your ego that has been burned.
Roughly 5 minutes later, the game was over. As we lined up and started to high five the opposing team, I pulled my had away as “muscle man” as we not-so-lovingly referred to him, walked up to me. Giving him a death glare, I walked back to gather my things with my head held high. I just wanted to get out of there and cool off.
My husband instantly knew something was wrong when I got home. As I explained what had happened, my angry and hurt emotions came bubbling back up and the tears fell. I was sore and humiliated and regretted ever joining the league. This was not what I signed up for. That experience was in no way fun, in no way an enjoyable, friendly competition.
Teammates and friends were throwing around the term “bullied.” Having never been bullied in my life, I would never have used the term. If that was even a minor example of what bullying is like, I truly feel for those who have to experience this shit daily.
I have a number of people recommending that I submit a formal complaint to the league, to the city. If anything, I would want to do so to ensure that that team and those particular team members are at least talked to and instructed to cool down and stop with the uber-competitive and aggressive behavior.
I still don’t know. Is it just my hurt ego? Or is this a larger issue?