Friday, June 09, 2017

Remembering the Bonghitters Softball Team

Years ago at High Times magazine we had a softball team and entered the journalism league of softball. Now everybody wanted to play High Times because they thought we would be a joke: Just stoners out there and an easy win. Our schedule would include Penthouse, Playboy, Forbes, WBAI radio and a host of other magazines, many of them politically opposite High Times.
   Anyway, I wound up playing shortstop for a few years and was thinking about that--and about how other teams, when they discovered we were good, began bringing in ringers, former minor leaguers or college baseball players, and it was sometimes tough to stare them down knowing how hard they were going to hit the ball to me on the short softball field.
   And a few of us were reminiscing and I wrote this:
Sometimes those balls hit by big guys paid by Playboy were so fast they came like knuckleballs to shortstop. And if I drank some of the LSD before the game I was sitting there on short stop wondering which ball was the real one as it came to me. Then I would think: Hey, if you don't have the balls to play shortstop, don't play it. And I would step in two steps and say to myself: If this is the game on the line, who else should get it? Send it my way, MF's. If we lose and it is my fault, at least I will own it. You can't just give it to someone who isn't good enough to own it. And I think I attracted a lot of balls my way with that sort of prayer/invocation.I was still scared that I was not good enough, but dared myself to be there on point. And then we had a perfect season. We were great. I mean you, Bloom, I mean you, Steve, who must have turned eight double plays with me with the most awkward turn, but it was still efficient. I mean Donja, I mean Rick, the steadiest of us all, and 7 in left field, I mean Malcolm who made some great cut off throws to me. And Nate or Darryl, both of you had that dive to the right, straight down the line that still amazes me. And all the rest of you. WE WERE THE CHAMPS! They threw everything they had at us—semi-pro players and all– and we still came up strong with Dave at First Base, saving my errant throws. We WERE UNDEFEATED!!!!! That was us at our very best, both in the field and in the magazine. We kicked ass and I was and am proud to have been associated with every one of you in those years. You made my life easy and fun! You pushed me to write great stories. Thank you all. You are not forgotten in my book.