It Won’t Cost an Arm or a Leg
Every Saturday morning at
9:30, 10:00, 10:30 somewhere between 11:30 and 12:00 (ish) there’s a pick-up softball game at the soccer field in Bahia. This is coed, purely recreational, and all are welcome—especially chiropractors. You’ll find expats, travelers, locals, kids and other fool-hardy types in the field and several chuckling onlookers under the canopy of a large ficus tree, which serves to block Chuck’s sharply hit foul grounders. (It also serves a clumsy iguana Adam got to know intimately [not the original Adam] when it fell on his back. Stupid thing crapped on my car, too. But anyway…)
After playing since 2011 I’ve come to think of my Saturdays as a weekly Labor Day, where family and friends come together to forget about their responsibilities and concentrate on the truly important things in life: Beer, Mike’s baked goods when we can get them, and a tropical breeze in the almost cool shade with good company.
All equipment is provided (donations accepted). Any age, gender, or trans-gender can participate—even Republicans. In all the years I’ve played so-called “recreational” softball (in “hangover” leagues), I’ve never been with a more socially accepting crowd. In the heat of battle there may be a contested call, but our “Commissioner,” Señor Bicker, is so annoying to argue with that we all just let him have his way. Play ball! Besides, he knows the rules of the game from as far back as 1890—some of which are news to the rest of us. (Who knew that a “pickle” is trumped by committing yourself to advancing more than halfway to home? The “Don” of Uvita softball knew.)
If that doesn’t impress you, the fact that there’s a bathroom on site should.
One of my favorite aspects of this unique gathering of people from many parts of the world is watching the neophytes learn the game. I love that they have an interest in not just the sport, but the ambiance of the event. Plus, they save me from getting picked last, again. (Reminder to self: When telling a beginner they have to tag the runner with the ball, specify that doesn’t mean they should throw the ball at them.) Don’t worry, there’s no barrel-chested pros on the field. Some of us regular players can make a routine play look more like an awkward suicide attempt. If you’ve never played the game, instruction is provided at no cost (abuse is extra). There’s also a short video here: How to Play Baseball.
It doesn’t seem to matter what mood you’re in, or how preoccupied you may be with the neighbor’s stupid rooster, or the bank misplacing your savings, or that you forgot where you parked your quad, softball can quickly take your attention off bothersome inconveniences with a blistering line drive to the kneecap. Works like a charm. When Mitch tried to catch a throw from the outfield with his nose he completely forgot about the dog digging up that medicinal plant.
Okay so maybe it’s not for the faint of heart—but for the young at heart, at least, it’s not to be missed. Compared to surfing, I can pretty much guarantee you won’t get an appendage chewed off. Amazingly, this activity is almost free (suggested donation for field maintenance is only 1 mil). Even more amazingly, the road there is paved. (Turn toward the ocean at the bus station just south of the BM market. It’s the Whale’s Tail road into Bahia.)
It’s good to bring a comfortable chair if you don’t like metal bleacher seats, and water (not sure what that’s for). Which reminds me, visit Oscar and Irina’s Discount Liquor Wine & Cigars in Uvita (near the gas station) before the game and tell them you’re going to play softball. They have a great selection and you’re going to need the fluids.
If we can’t use the field in Bahia due to an event being held there we move to a field 100 meters (or so) past the farmer’s market in Uvita. If it’s raining, we blow the whole thing off and head to The Flutterby House (near Bahia field) for a beverage, a snack and some corn hole (will explain later).
Wherever we end up, Saturday’s objective is to have fun and not get hurt (unless the game’s on the line, then go for it. We have a couple very good, practically error-free chiropractors).