Spare the last month, the softball field has been closed for the entire time I’ve been here due to Covid imposed restrictions. Even with the closure, I heard the lore from other inmates – softball in Federal Prison is a huge deal. One guy half-joking/half-serious actually said that when he caught his second case he wasn’t too upset because at least he’d be in the softball league again. Upon hearing news that softball was coming back, we were all thrilled. This coincided with the Women’s Softball World Series being on TV, which receives ample support and viewership in the basement TV room.
As far as the softball league is concerned, I should have seen it coming. During any given game the bleachers are filled with at least 50-75 inmates and the harassment of the players is downright relentless. Some of the guys have been playing in these games for years. On the other hand, some of them have been yelling at softball players for years – they’ve made it a skill in it’s own right. As worthy a competitor you are on the field, there’s an equally worthy one in the stands.
The season opened with a line drive hit that tagged the pitcher. First pitch, first swing, first hit. The pitcher gets blasted and he’s out of the game. This also ceremoniously marked the beginning of the screaming from the bleachers. Recently, a younger guy playing short stop became so visibly disturbed that the caliber of his play began decreasing almost exponentially. In the past, I wasn’t big on watching sports. When you know most of the guys on the field, and in the stands, it definitely makes it more interesting.
Early on I made a decision to opt-out of playing. Between lifting weights, working in Horticulture, and defending my title as the compound pickleball champion, I’m getting enough physical activity. More importantly, while we have access to healthcare here, and the co-pay on a visit to the clinic is only $2.00, the solution to most dental related injuries is “with the teeth go the problem, pull ’em out.”