A 3-team softball league doesn’t sound like much.
Then again, not just anyone can play. You have to go to temple.
When Alan Phillips got an email invitation to join the Conservative Synagogue‘s squad, the Westporter was excited. As a kid, he’d loved baseball.
But suddenly he thought: I haven’t played in 25 years.
Then, he told himself: We play other synagogues. How tough can it be?
The Sunday league is “a blast,” Alan says. “It’s a lot of fun, and we form great bonds. Our synagogue is blessed to be part of this.”
It’s not about winning, Alan says. (Usually this means a team isn’t winning. I didn’t ask.)
“If 15 people show up, 15 play,” he says. “Some of them probably weren’t very good when they were younger. But all of them take their turn in the field.” The batting order is based on who shows up when. Oy.
As for his own team, Alan — a former synagogue president — says, “Rabbi Wiederhorn is a pretty good outfielder/hitter.”
The team’s key equipment, Alan says, is not a bat, ball and glove. Instead, it’s “Motrin, ice packs and Ace bandages.” Teammates Ed Smolka and Larry Kleinman both went down in the 1st game this year. Both are better now, he reports.
Alan says he’s heard the jokes: Do they run the bases from 3rd to 1st? Are the snacks meat, dairy or pareve?
Very funny. He prefers to talk about last Sunday’s game.
The Conservative Synagogue won a 17-12 thriller against Beth-El, avenging an earlier loss. Due to vacations — the rabbi/outfielder/pretty good hitter was in Israel, among other things — Alan’s team started the game without a catcher or 1st baseman. Heeding the biblical word about sharing, Beth-El lent players for those positions.
Injuries hobbled the Conservative Synagogue. By the end, they had to recruit a member’s 11-year-old son. He got a few hits, and did a fine job in center field.
In true Sunday league style, the boy had to borrow spikes to play. He arrived in sandals.
Hey, Jesus did too.