Sean D. Elliot/The Day
Patience is not widely considered one of my virtues. Or at least I don't tend to feel like a very patient person. I live and work by daily deadlines that mean I don't often like to wait for something to happen. Most days I don't really have to wait.
Baseball, and softball, are sports that test that meager allotment of patience to no end. The un-regulated timing of the games in an of itself can be enough to get me grinding my teeth.
So Wednesday was perhaps even more trying.
The drive to the town of Orange for a Little League softball Junior League tournament game was just long enough relative to usual drive times within our usual coverage area to get me started. Follow that with Mystic-Groton's loss in the 9:30 a.m. game necessitating a winner-take-all game at 1:30 p.m. and I was doing my very best to find a deeper well of serenity.
Nothing against the team, or their opponents, mind you. I understand the tournament format and certainly would not expect the players to take the field for a second game without a reasonable break. But in that situation I had very little to do for the two-hours that felt productive.
Then the championship game went to extra innings.
But in the end I was rewarded. I have never, and I'm pretty sure my memory is sound, seen a softball game end with a walk-off home run. I've seen plenty of winning runs walked home, I've seen game winning steals of home and I've seen plenty of sacrifice bunts and line-drive base hits that drove-home winning runs, but when Brooke Arruda's one-out shot over the outfield fence won the game for Mystic-Groton I have to admit to being as shocked as everyone else there.
I had to remind myself to stop gawking and get onto the field to get the celebration at home plate. All the waiting was worth it in the end, for me and I'm sure for the team.