Crazy like a Focus Fox

So, Joe is completely right. For some reason, I thought that I had made a post about whiffleball in the past, but that is apparently not the case.

To be fair, I started writing this ol’ blog over a year after the summer of whiffleball ended. And I mean, sure, I know there were games the following summer, but I don’t think anything really lived up to the original league. (Plus, and I know they’re all going to give me grief for even mentioning this, but I spent that summer living in New York, so I wasn’t around to play anyway.)

The whiffleball league came about because Joe (the one from the comments, not my husband) wanted to get outside. (I just spent ten minutes trying to track down the original Facebook message he sent out to all of our friends, but I couldn’t find it.) The back story is that we had spent a lot of nights the previous summer in Joe’s parents’ basement playing Mario Party tournaments. Am I proud of this? Well…I’m not NOT proud.

That’s actually a story in and of itself. If you’re not familiar with Mario Party, it’s basically a giant “board” game, and each “roll” is comprised of a mini game. I don’t know how many mini games there were total, but after you’ve played for a few weeks, you figure out which games each person is good at. For example, Brian developed a special technique that made him really good at the mini game where you had to spin on a snowboard as many times as you could before your player hit the ground, but eventually I got pretty good at the technique and was able to beat him. Peter, on the other hand, excelled at a game where you had to memorize the safe path across (I think it was) these cubes of ice or clouds or something to get to safety. For some reason he could memorize it really fast. I don’t remember the actual name of that game because everyone just called it “F*** You, Peter.” That should give you an idea of how good he was at that one.

The point is, several times a week we would all get together for impromptu tournaments of Mario Party. That’s because Joe really likes to organize tournaments and athletic leagues of sorts. Which leads me back into our main story.

While I would definitely say we all had a lot of (really nerdy) fun in Joe’s basement, the next summer, Joe was on a mission. He sent out the aforementioned Facebook message, the point of which was that we were young and that we should go play outside before we were too old to do it without breaking a hip or something.

There were two teams in the league: everyone who had graduated high school in 2005 and everyone else. The people on the 2005 team (also known as my team) were called Focus Fox. Everyone else was team King Kong.

We played about three times a week, usually in the evenings until it got too dark to see the ball. Throw a giant, scary dog in there and we were basically a more grown-up version of the Sandlot. (Except the only dog in our group was Brian’s cocker spaniel, Daisy, and Joe’s Jake the She-Dog. Not much fear inspiring going on there.)

On the fourth of July, we had our World Series (Green Meadows West Series?) before we all went to a pool and ate hot dogs and saw the fireworks.

Joe would want me to point out that Focus Fox won the pennant. But honestly, that’s not really what I remember the most. Although, I do remember him making this face when I asked him how he felt about it:

(Sorry, Joe. I couldn’t help myself.)

That was a really fun summer. And it was the last summer that we were all together. You know that scene at the end of The Sandlot, the “where are they now” scene? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch this. It starts at the 4:50 mark.) That’s sort of how I imagine the end of that summer. Because while we’ve still gotten together since then, the group has tapered more and more every year. I mean, I know that I have a hard time getting back to Iowa because of busy schedules and tight budgets, especially at a time when everyone else is there. And now that we’re all getting real jobs, settling in our own states, getting married, I sort of feel like that was our last summer as kids.

Sure, we’ll all still do reckless, immature things now and then, but for the most part, when we get together again, it’s a little bit like meeting new people. Not in a bad way. Just in a different way.

Anyway. I didn’t mean to get heavy on you there. I just mean to say I’m very glad to be friends with those guys (and the two girls ha). And I’m really glad to have that summer in my memories.

And, ok Joe, I’m also glad we have those pennants.