Friday, July 24, 2009

Softball, Pizza and Red Bikini Briefs

With the temperature approaching triple digits as I began my walk today, my thoughts regressed to a time when my then business partner John and I sponsored a men’s slow pitch softball team. We did not win many games but we drank lots of beer, and the team was great for PR.

Most of the players on the team were geologists, or at least married to one. John and I traded off pitching duties. Neither of us could claim to be either a great pitcher or wonderful athlete, but since we footed the bill, we took advantage of our power. No one complained because we also picked up the tab for the beer and pizza after the games.

We usually went to a now defunct pizza chain called Shotgun Sam’s because they were kid, and obnoxious softball player, friendly. It was a common occurrence for the rowdy members of the team to become even rowdier after a few pitchers of beer. One night, they became more boisterous than usual.

The evening started with an unexpected win on the softball diamond. Our exuberance began with lots of rah-rahs and high fives, and continued as the entire team and their families gathered to celebrate the win at Shotgun Sam’s picnic-style tables. What started out as rowdy soon became even noisier.

The management was usually tolerant because we always spent lots of money, and the pizza place served as a haunt for many other loud softball teams. Things would have been fine, except for one of the players dancing exhibition.

Terry was a geologist and single at the time. Caught up in the revelry, he stood on the table and began dancing to a Creedence Clearwater Revival record blaring on the jukebox. Even that might have gone unnoticed, had everyone at our table not began chanting, “Take it off.”

Terry was no shrinking violet. Except for my friend Mickey, I have never known another male that liked to take his clothes off in public more than Terry. He quickly stripped down to only his red bikini briefs when the stunned manager could take no more.

Out of coins, the jukebox stopped abruptly, and all sound ceased in the large open room as the angry restaurant manager stood glaring at me, hands on his hips. Quickly, I handed wife Anne a handful of ones and nodded toward the jukebox. Instantly getting my drift, she hurried toward it.

My hand was still on my wallet and I extracted a hundred dollar bill that thankfully I had stashed for such an occasion. “We are so sorry for the disturbance. We don’t win many games and this was a special celebration. If you will take this for your trouble, we will calm down, finish our beer and pizza and leave.”

The jukebox fired again at just that moment, filling the room with sound before the man could answer. His expression quickly changed from anger to disbelief as he slipped the Benny into his shirt pocket.

“Fine,” he said. “Just hold it down to a mild roar.”

Duly chastised, we finished our beer and pizza in relative tranquility, but the people present that night, even after twenty years, have yet to let Terry live down his red bikini briefs.


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