My company’s softball season wrapped up for me today. The team has one more game next week, but I will be in Nebraska for my cousin’s wedding. As the game ended tonight, I couldn’t help but think that I was more than thankful I was done.
I’ve never played softball before, but I signed up to play so I could get to know some of my coworkers better and get some exercise while enjoying the lovely Michigan summers. Our season started with a lot of support from the company — just not in the form of players. So the first game or two we had trouble fielding a team.
But now, 12 weeks later, we’ve got so many random people that not everyone gets to play. Which would be fine if the people were somehow related to the company. At first, it was spouses, siblings, and friends. Which is great — it helps you get to know your coworkers and the people closest to them. But, the past few weeks have been friends twice removed, and to the point tonight that a couple of the people were friends of friends of friends of coworkers. In fact, I’d wager there are more non-employees than employees on the team. And it seems like those people are always the ones that are uber-competitive and critical of the other players.
I’m not saying we didn’t need players. We did. Badly. But there’s a way to be a part of a team and a way to be a pain in the ass. Especially when you don’t know the majority of the team and the majority of the team is largely uncompetitive.
I work for a nonprofit — we’re all happy people who just want to have fun and not step on any toes. Sure, we’re competitive, but we’re not about to tell our fellow coworkers how to play better. We may make gentle suggestions, but we all know we’re not perfect and it is just a game.
But it’s frustrating to then have the randoms come in, with all their competitive gusto, and tell the other players how to play or scream when one of our plays goes wrong. I know that’s all part of softball, and I can take it if it’s from my friends and coworkers because I know them. But, I don’t take instructions and criticism well from strangers. All I can think is WHO are you?! Sure, these people are usually pretty good, and they do help out our sorry-ass team. But like I said, there’s a way to be competitive and a way to be a pain in the ass.
Then again, maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m too nice for competitive sports. I like playing, but not with people I really don’t know trying to tell me how to improve. If I am going to play, I’m going to play with a solid team filled with people I know so when they give me pointers I don’t wonder who they are and where they’ve come from.
No more transient softball for me.