The company softball team: It offers the opportunity for some friendly, co-workerly bonding, an excuse to get outside and enjoy these warm spring evenings, a little light exercise, a reason for one of us to slather black lipstick beneath her eyes and for another to don a shirt reading “Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms,” and, last but certainly not least, the chance to berate a well-meaning stranger-motivated by nothing more than the love of the game-who’s willingly placed him or herself directly in the line of fire. A good time is all but guaranteed.
Yep, even Indy staffers, desk jockeys though we may be, manage to pull ourselves together as a team, once a week, for most of the year, and, most of the time, we manage to pull off a great time-if not a great victory, as The Angry Poodles’ humble record will attest. But this season was looking different. We’d switched leagues to one that seemed more our speed and offered an additional bonus: At Elings Park, drinking is permitted. (This news was, unsurprisingly, met with a flurry of emails that eased only at the message imploring us to behave like appropriate representatives of the paper, blah blah blah, and offering some choice words about discretion. After a flash of inspiration from the ad side of the building-beer cozies!-that problem was quickly resolved.) And so, The Poodles went into last Thursday’s game-the second of the season-undefeated. A first in this writer’s Independent career.
Also a first was my decision to forego getting dirty on the field in favor of watching the action from the stands, which was every bit as fun. While I can’t tell you much about what happened in the game, I got to hang out with kids, pals, and strangers, play with their dogs, marvel at Dan Hoagland’s mixology skills (and full bar setup), and show off my “I Rock Catholic Girls” beer cozy (it was a gift, thankyouverymuch). And when the game was called for time, those of us in it for a good time had scored a home run. The Angry Poodles, however, well : not so much.