It was the bottom of the 7th, one out and a man on first. The Roosevelt Island Tram slothed across the East River along the cables overhead. A thin veil of clouds from the impending tropical storm muddled the evening sunlight but did nothing to cool the stifling heat.
While thousands of drivers motored across the 59th Street Bridge in a dash to get home, me and a dozen coworkers were involved in the slow-pitch softball drama unfolding below: NYC Tower East Division 3 Corporate Co-Ed Softball Championship. For reasons as mythical as our mascot, the Weight Watchers corporate softball team is known as the Space Unicorns.
At first, we played like ordinary jackasses; mules, even. We played as if our horns had been ripped from our fantastical skulls. We slogged along as if we had given up. That is, until 2 female unicorns delivered clutch hits to drive in 2 runs in the 5th inning. Awakened from our softball slumber, we scored another run to close the gap to 4-3. Game on.
The Broadway Bulls (of the NY Stock Exchange) scored again to make it 5-3 in the 6th, but we were undaunted. We tied it with a rally of Big-Bang proportions. And then we came up to the plate with the last ups of the game. It was now or never.
With 1 out and 1 on, traffic seemed to crawl across the bridge above. The screams of the crowd (ok, 4 significant others and a dog) from the stands began to slur into a slow motion action scene. The pitch came, and at the crack of the bat, our baserunner took off in full gallop, while a long-towering fly ball in a rainbow trajectory headed for the East Side Skyline. It landed over the leftfielder’s head, scoring the winning run. Mob scene at the plate. Queue “We are the Champions.”
And while I had an off-day, with only a walk to contribute, the victory was particularly sweet for me, as I have battled through cancer treatment all summer. While taking two forms of chemo for bone marrow cancer, I used softball as something to look forward to and something to be healthy for. So I’ll use this come from behind victory as a metaphor for my cancer struggles and my weight struggles: Just when you think your efforts are leading to defeat, hang in there and you can prosper. And that’s exactly what I intend to do, whether it’s beating cancer or losing 50 pounds.
One major victory down, two to go.--Jason Carpenter, Men’s Editor