All weekend long in Barre, Vt there’s a charity softball tournament (yes, if you’re not from here, there’s lots of snow on the ground) and I’m excited to tell you that our team- the Rabid Hillbilly Snow Monkeys– came through in our first game with a 2-0 win.  It was a great game, going 0-0 into the top of the sixth (we play six inning games, one pitch, co-ed) before we pulled out our decisive two runs (I was 2-3 with an RBI if my PBR influenced memory serves correctly).  But we really won with some stellar defense, which is always the way to win.

It’s double-elimination format, so we play tomorrow (Saturday) at 9 am and then  again at 8 or 9 pm (I forget which) when we win that one…. should we lose that 9 am game we’re on again in the afternoon- if you’re local, come on out and root for us and watch some ball.  It’s all to benefit local kids who are living with cancer.  Oh, and the people from the Guinness Book of World Records are keeping their eye on us, as it looks like we’ll set the world record for most teams playing in a winter softball tournament (I always knew I’d make it into that book somehow, though I can’t say I thought this would be it).  Gooooo Snow Monkeys!

UPDATE Saturday Morning:  At 9 am this morning we hit the field in Barre Town and came out with a solid 6-2 win, sending our rag-tag group of misfits into the Sweet Sixteen (down from a field of over 60 teams!) meaning we play again at 7 pm tonight.  If we win we’re on again at 9 pm (I’m not sure when we’d play again if we lose that one and get thrown into the loser’s bracket- but seeing how we’re not going to lose that doesn’t matter much anyway).  Come on over the the Rec Fields in Barre Town if you’re in the area (it’s near the Rock of Ages granite quarries), it’s good fun (bring your cans of whatever you’d like to drink, no glass though).  As one teammate noted last night: it kind of feels like being at a Dead show, walking through the parking lot with people tailgating, drinking, cooking, and just having a good ol’ time.

UPDATE Saturday Night:  Well, would you believe it that our rag-tag crew won 2-0 (at 7 pm) and then 4-0 (at 10 pm) in the cold, nasty rain and have ourselves a game in the winner’s bracket Final Four tomorrow morning at 9 am (don’t forget the Daylight Savings switch- if you’re thinking of coming down)?!?!  In the first game I was 2-2, and in the second game 1-2, bringing my personal stats for the weekend to be 7-10 with 2 runs and 1 (maybe 2- it’s hard to keep tabs on these things) RBI.  Way more importantly than that though, we’re two wins away from being in the championship game- and even if we lose a game we’re still two wins away from being in the championship game…. so much fun!  

Of course, tonight was pretty cold and really wet.  It could have been miserable, but with a bunch of good friends on your teams and a handful of great fans there cheering us on, its been all smiles and fun.  A definite highlight was after our first game when we stumbled upon some sort of media tent (just 10×10) that was abandoned but had an electric heater (with a live power chord sitting next to it) and a box of Dunkin’ Donuts; we all chilled in there out of the rain and watching a couple of games before our 10 pm slosh-battle.  At one point one of the main organizers came over and when we told him what team we were he was shocked: “No shit, you guys are still in?”.  Boy was it fun telling him not only that we were, but that we were un-defeated.  He was shocked (I probably would be too- hell, I am shocked) but really glad and a really good guy.  So tomorrow it all wraps up.  I’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE Sunday:  So our chance at history (and some serious bragging rights, especially with the guys in the Montpelier men’s league) are done.  We lost our first game this morning 3-2 (I was 2-3) even though we really should have and could have won.  That threw us out of the winner’s bracket and into the loser’s bracket Final Four, where we slugged it into extra innings before finally falling 1-0 (I think I was 2-3 again, but it may have been only 1-2), again losing to a team that we easily could have and should have beat.  Next year.  Most importantly: our team raised over $300 towards a couple of local kids suffering with cancer and the whole tournament brought in over $25,000.  The second most important fact is that we all had a blast, in the snow, rain, mud, cold, and muck.  Third most importantly, we shocked everyone by going several rounds further than any new team ever has before (yes, winning is fun).  It was really great to have one of the organizers come up and tell us at the end that every team he’s talked to said that we were the most fun team to play and that we helped make the weekend fun for them- it’s really the highest compliment I think we could get and not surprisingly at all the same thing we hear from the guys in the Montpelier League.  Fourth most importantly, I was something like 11 for 16 (.688) with at least one RBI and a couple of runs scored, and a couple of good catches in the outfield (and a couple of slip in the slush and miss the catch too).  In that final game, in my final at bat I slid safely into (the puddle called) first, re-straining my bad back which had finally gotten better after 2 months of twice a week chiropractor visits.  Then I slid safely into (the hard as a rock pitchers mound called) second tweaking my right knee which has given me problems since I was 10.  The next batter got me over to third (yes, I slid again- it was pretty fun in the slush) but I was easily out (though sliding again) at home for the out that ended our rally.  Adding the snow tournament championship to our team accolades next year- after we come away with the men’s league championship- is going to be very satisfying.  Thanks for putting it all together Lil’ Papi, and thanks to all our team and fans for making it such blast.

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