In my early college days, my friend Chris and I organized some casual pickup softball games on Sunday mornings. Chris used to lure people to the games down by the bayfront by providing free beer. Eventually, we got some money from the student government to buy a few bats, some balls, and bases -- then things really took off, with sometimes as many as 10 or 12 people showing up to play. That was no small feat, considering how many of the players were hard to rouse at the ungodly hour of 11 am on a Sunday. We often had to beg people to come play and drag them out of bed, personally. It was a highly-successful program that continued for years, rivaling other popular student activities such as participating in really annoying drum circles and being involuntarily committed to a mental institution for evaluation under Florida's "Baker Act".
I never much went in for warm Busch beer (by the way, yuck!) on a Sunday morning, but I did like softball for some reason. I eventually started playing on a team made up of a mix of faculty, students and alumni from my college in a local softball league. I played with that team for several years, and I was not a superstar, but I could hit pretty well and my fielding was not at all bad, if a bit inconsistent. I made the occasional spectacular running over-the-shoulder catch and also occasionally botched an easy fly ball. It kept the games exciting, because you never knew what was going to happen when the ball came my way. Our team was pretty good, and we even beat the middle-aged-policemen team one year to win the league championship.
After college, I played briefly on a team at my first real job. It was a coed team and we forfeited about half our games for lack of enough female players. Oftentimes, we'd be desperately calling female friends who had never even played softball to come play on our team that same night, because we needed 5 or whatever number of women was required. We had 15 guys on the team. They all showed up every week. If there was a game at all, you were lucky if you got to play a couple of innings if you were a guy. Sometimes, even when we had enough women, the team we were playing against did not, and so they'd forfeit. It was not as fun a league as the college team. I haven't really played since.
With surgery coming up in a month, and me about to get a nice, legal "F" on my documents, I thought it might be fun to get back into softball. Fairfax county has a website that lets you post if you're interested in getting on a team. I filled out my vitals, including clicking "female" for gender. I didn't really say anything about the fact that at one point I used to be a pretty decent player. Of course I also didn't mention the stuff about my physical gender at birth, either. No need to complicate things; this is just a softball league.
That was yesterday, and already I've been asked to join 3 teams outright, and to "try out" for another team that is, according to the voicemail, "... one of the best if not the best coed team in Division 1, and we also play in tournaments and blah, blah, blah." I told them basically nothing about myself except my name and sex and I've got people clamoring for me to play with them. Ten years ago, I was lucky to get in the lineup for a couple of swings on my company team. Suddenly I'm a hot commodity to strangers. So be it.
I don't know if I'm any good anymore. I'm sure I can still field pretty well. I'm fast. I doubt I can hit as well as before, and I never had any power to speak of in the first place. Hormones have made me a lot weaker, I've noticed. I bet I can still throw okay -- I mean, for a girl, of course. Actually, I used to be pretty good at throwing like a girl (i.e. stepping forward with the same foot as your throwing arm). I figure I'll just adopt a "don't ask, don't tell" policy for now when dealing with potential teams and teammates. I don't mind if they know I'm trans, but I don't see how it's really important at this point.
I'm going to join the one all-women's team that asked me to play. Coed was always less fun, with its plentiful forfeits and goofy rules designed to even things up. And when testosterone is involved in the game, it just tends to make things less fun, anyway. I've always found that to be true.
3 weeks ago