Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Throwing Like a Girl

My first realworld job was at Wang Laboratories. At the time, Wang's corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities were large enough to support three softball leagues: serious, serious but maybe not so much, and "fun". I agreed to play on my department's team in the "fun" league, thinking it would be a good way to build comaraderie. And it was. Except for the issue of my not being able to play softball.

So I bought my first glove (in my life up to that point I always had to borrow a glove from the other team) and I went over to my friend Ken's place in the evenings to learn how not to throw like a girl. Ken was a Little League coach for the young beginners, and he was good at this. The key is releasing the ball while your elbow is still in front of your hand. So I worked on it and practiced and developed a reasonable facsimile of a throw. This proved useful during the ballgames, which I played for two seasons.

As it happens, during this period of my life and for a few years beyond I also found myself on a baseball field every year during the "Generic Reunion" weekend my friend Cary and I organized at Brown (which he still organizes, on a somewhat reduced scale). On Sundays we would play softball. This would not have been my choice of activity (I would rather go to the bookstore, or sit on the porch of the dorm and drink beer all day), but I'd do my best. I was usually good for about three innings before I grew so impossibly bored that I became disruptive. I remember one year when the beloved Liz Neblett hit the ball so strongly it surprised us all (including her) but Art, who is actually quite skilled at this, made an amazing dramatic lunge and caught the ball. From the sidelines I immediately started berating him: "So now you've gotten Liz out. Is that what you wanted? Do you feel good about that?" Art stopped in his tracks (ball still in hand) and said, "You have a point. Now I feel bad. But you're missing the idea of the game!". Then we started deconstructing the notion of "game" in shouted sentences across the infield until everybody else made us stop.

But as to not throwing the ball like a girl, it turns out that you've got to keep up this sort of thing until it becomes part of muscle memory and reprograms your throwing arm. I did not do this. Going through my box of pictures I have found two from Generic Reunion. First, me throwing like a girl during the softball game:

In case any of you were wondering what throwing like a girl looks like, that's it.

But I also found this picture of me throwing like a boy. This seems to be during warmup time on the porch of the dorm before the game. The breasts in the foreground of the picture belong to my roommate Michele. Actually Michele was my roommate for only one year, but like the title of "President" the title of "Steven's Roommate" stays for life.

The throw looks correct. The shoes, however, are just wrong.
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