On a spectacularly gorgeous day today, the Senior class of Waynflete School showed up in large numbers to play a softball game against the veteran Faculty team searching for a new identity now that former team leaders, Dr. Peter Hamblin and Mr. Drew Dubuque, have apparently lost their directions to the beautiful Fore River Fields. Interviewed before the game, the Seniors were confident. Emily White and Renata Levine shared the prevailing Senior opinion, “Well, the faculty have always been so nice to, and supportive of, us, we probably won’t have to leave the dugout to get this win.”
This perspective was quickly echoed by other early-arrivers in the dugout like Sophie Benson and Sophie Raffel. “I know they have Olie Kautz ’31 coaching, but really, can he give them that much of an advantage?” asked Nat DeBery. “Besides,” pointed out ever-logical soon-to-be-sportscaster Misha Linnehan, “we have some real athletes and ball-players on our team like Nik Morrill, Elyse Bayizere, Ellen Silk, and Joe Schnier. What do they have? Like Neilan, Lowell, and David Vaughan? Those guys are really old! They’re probably over 35 or something! And their X-FiB is way out of whack.”
Little did they all know that the Faculty have just been softening them up for years in order to pounce in this setting.
Some of the veteran craftiness of the Faculty showed up immediately as starting pitcher Tom Campbell announced that the Seniors could grab some barbecue to eat before they led-off, thereby adding full-bellies to post-Prom sleep-deprivation as handicaps to start the game. As the Faculty took the field in the top of the first, the fresh-faced youth of their squad became apparent. Zak Starr raced to shortstop, Jake Curtis ’22 and his mother, Wendy, lined up to play a mean dual second-base, and maintenance maven, Julia May, fresh off a big win in the faculty fitness challenge, trotted out to center-field wearing what was clearly a professional (or at least collegiate) softball uniform.
The Seniors scratched out a run in the first when veteran third-sacker David Vaughan couldn’t quite corral a hot smash down the line, but slick defense on a long running catch by Steve Kautz in Short Center held the soon-to-be-graduates to the single tally.
The Faculty earned two quick outs in the bottom of the first before chalking up a crooked number on the scoreboard with three runs, two on Zak Starr’s booming triple to right center (it would have been a homer, had he not cadillacked his way around the bases – earning a derisive “Yasiel Puig” cheer to ripple through the Faculty dugout).
That ended the scoring on the day, as the teams traded sparkling defensive plays for the next four innings, but no runs. Included in the outs were a spectacular play at first by Senior Henry Cleaves, an impressive running catch by David “No More Arm, But I Still Got a Glove” Neilan, agile fielding by Senior SS Isaac Scher (who had somewhat of an advantage because he was only at prom “for, like, ten minutes,” he said), and a near-miss 1-6-10-3 almost-double-play built around a silky glove-flip by shortstop Starr to Kautz. Jim Millard played a mean Catcher, nearly diving into the backstop to snare a pop-foul before daughter Ella ’14 yelled, “Dad, don’t hurt yourself, you knucklehead!” in a marvelous display of how this Senior class loves and appreciates all that their parents have done for them.
After five innings of low scoring and high sun-exposure, Faculty captain Lowell Libby consulted with designated-hitter and head cheer-leader Debba Curtis and Big Boss and Right Fielder Geoff Wagg and decided that “in the interest of player safety,” the game would come to a close. Libby insisted that he would have come to the exact same conclusion had the faculty NOT been leading the game, and had he NOT been about to bat another time, putting his Achilles tendon in further peril.
Fan Alice Wagg, who was expected to disagree with the end-of-game-decision, actually supported it, “Look,” she said, almost Obama-esquely, “I had my cell phone in my hand, ready to dial 9-1-1, and I never had to. It is all good!”
Many thanks go out to Randy Anderson for manning the grill expertly and to super-fan, Margaret Austin for attending the whole game and from her seat in the shade cheering home the faculty team to another big win. More thanks to Ross Burdick who showed up early, reliably provided all the equipment and was ready on every pitch in Left Field for the Faculty, even though no-one ever hit the ball to him (obviously recognizing it would be a “sure out”).
So, same time next year – to see the Faculty once again defy their age and relearn that it is a lot of fun to just play? Rumor has it that Sue Stein, Breda White and Taffy Field may return in 2015. And that at least one LS faculty member (who may or may not be the parent of a member of the class of ’15) might show up! You never know, but you don’t want to miss it!
And, to you Seniors, better luck next time! Please give generously to the Fund for Retired and Injured Faculty!
If you did, aren’t you sorry you missed it?!?
Respectfully submitted with tongue firmly planted in cheek, TC.