Easy To Be Hard

Postby DOUGHBOYS » Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:54 pm

I supervise an adult softball program. Our program consists of very few people who really know how to play the game. Competitive softball, for the most part, has left our neck of the woods. Its been replaced by 'Mom and Pop' teams, 'never were' former baseball players, and former nerds who deem the level of play safe enough in not to be laughed at.

The other night, one of these players approached me and said with the straightest of faces, "It's hard to believe that we are doing the hardest thing in sports."
I did probably the worst thing I could do as a Supervisor.
I laughed.
And I laughed hard.
The poor fellow had heard a broadcaster say that hitting a round ball with a rounded bat was the toughest thing in sports. He had discounted that slow pitch softball was a far cry from baseball.
Hell, he didn't discount it, he omitted it.
After I got done laughing, I said slow pitch softball is to baseball what floating in a pool is to surfing.
He laughed at himself a bit and admitted that maybe it was too strong of a comment.

I told him that I have heard broadcasters utter those words and that I believed the original author of the comment was Ted Williams.
And I told him that I had never believed it.
"What!?", he replied. "You're Mr. Baseball and you don't believe it?"
I told him I did not, and that if I could hit a baseball successfully through high school and College, it can't be all that tough.
I never considered myself as doing a tough thing.
We started talking about what the toughest thing in sports to do. We decided not to talk about a sport, but a specific thing within a sport, like hitting a baseball.
Marathons, cage wrestling, boxing were all discussed.
At the end, near the top of both of our lists was returning a punt in football.
A punt returner can not be thick. He has to be smallish and agile, like a jack rabbit, to avoid the 11 tigers who are all searching for him.
As in real life, the jack rabbit knows the chances of succeeding are slim. He also knows that the end of the run will probably finish with him being eaten alive. But, unlike the real jack rabbit, the punt returner may do it six or seven times in a day.

It also got us thinking about who has it the easiest.
Golfers were at the top of both of our lists.
Not the sport itself. Everybody knows that the sport can drive you mad.
But, golfers themselves at every level, have it SO easy over other sports.
In a time where contact sports is at its zenith, there is no contact in golf. A golfer is always safe.
A golfer is the only athlete who can play his game in silence. Even giving fans and photographers a lecture or stern look for a sneeze or making a click of a camera or cell phone.
I played little league when saying "Hey batter, batter" was still legal. I'd love to go out there and say, "Hey Golfer, Golfer!"
These fellows also get polite golf claps for MISSING shots! There are few sports where you get a hand clap for not reaching a goal.
In fact, some get booed for under performing. Not golfers.
They are never boo'ed.
And while Basketball players are sweating up a storm.
And football players are wearing pads.
And baseball players are wearing cups.
Golfers are wearing plaid. Or tweed. Or fishing hats.
They never sweat unless the sun is too hot.
Golfers play in warm weather only. Their tourneys can be called because of cold, rain, lightning, thunder, and even too much wind.

Golfs largest scandal was when Tiger Woods had to set aside his balls, sticks, and holes because he pursued holes with his balls and stick in another venue.
He hasn't been the same since.
These golfers are a sensitive lot.

Golfers can pick and choose which tournaments to enter.
One golfer says he never plays at a certain tourney because the course "Does not fit my game".
Hitting against Clayton Kershaw does not fit a lot of hitters game either, but they don't have a choice.
Do they.

If a golfer hits a wayward shot, there are several folks to show him where the shot went.
I think it would be more interesting if a golfer were to find his own shot.
Golfers have caddies that carry their clubs.
Sometimes, in real life, wouldn't it be nice for all of us to have a caddy?

The sport is hard, no doubt.
These fellas have taken a hard sport and just beat the crap out of it in making it easier on themselves.
A sport where a sandwich can be enjoyed before hitting a sand wedge.
Better, there is somebody there to grab that sandwich and sand wedge for them.
"Oh, Caddy?!"
An athlete(?) who can finish 50th in a race (tourney)and still collect more money than those that finish first in other sports.
That's fair enough for the golfer.

This all said, I love watching professional golf.
A little of a chess match played out in the sprawling outdoors.
At the same time, it's tough listening to golf analysts talking about their heroes. They speak of professional golfers as gladiators. They're anything but gladiators.
They are strolling, as Mark Twain said, on a walk spoiled.
Spoiled by stopping and swinging a club.
And even that seems a chore, ironically, in that the man who takes the least amount of swings, wins.
On my tombstone-
Wait! I never had the perfect draft!
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