Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Regular friends of the decanter may recall my decision to keep the youngest gel at AA softball this fall, much to her indignation.  My feeling was that, as one of the older, more experienced gels on her team, she would benefit by being put in a leadership role for a change.  It’s tough always being at the tail end of things.

Well, it’s just possible that ol’ Robbo’s subtle manipulations are paying off.  You see, Saturday afternoon the gel started her game playing catcher.  Two or three pitches into the top of the first inning, one of her shin guards slipped down.  She didn’t think to stand up or back away, but instead tried to fiddle with it whilst squatting down.  Neither the umpire nor the opposing coach manning the pitching machine (we use these in the first couple innings) noticed that she wasn’t ready.  The result?  A 40 mph ball smack on the knee-cap.  Yeeowtch.

Of course, the gel had to be assisted off the field in tears, and eventually we deposited her on the bench with an icepack.   Last year, or even last spring, such an injury would have meant the end of the game as far as she was concerned, and probably demands for emergency x-rays and the like.  But this time, after she had calmed down and had some water, I was muchly gratified when she suddenly said, “Dad?  I still get to bat, don’t I?”

Well, the upshot is that she got right back in the game.  Not only did she go three for four at the plate, scoring three runs, she also spent a good deal of time encouraging her teammates with word and gesture.  And although she hobbled a bit as she hustled about the field, I didn’t hear any more complaints about her war wound.  Indeed, the gel was actually being a leader.

I love it when a plan comes together.

(And speaking of wounds, it was a whole lot cooler and damper Saturday than I had expected, and spending the heart of the day at the softball fields in shorts and no socks, I got thoroughly chilled.  Then, the Family Robbo went to see our beloved Nationals in what turned out to be a 13 inning grudge match against the Fish that evening, at which, although I was more warmly dressed, I spent a great deal of time yelling and cheering.  The result?  Robbo’s first cold of the season. Bleh.)