Losses are secondary for team of Ridgefield dads
The response suggested it was a good idea.
When an administrator for the Ridgefield Fathers Club group page on Facebook wrote a post last spring asking if any of the 300-plus members would be interested in playing softball, nearly 30 of them said yes. That was enough to form a team, which then entered the less competitive of two divisions in the Lewisboro (N.Y.) Softball League.
All was well until the first game.
Rain had interfered with plans for a preseason practice, so when the team arrived to the field for its season opener game there was no sense of who should play where. Players were borrowing gloves from one another and bats from the other team.
“We got blown out,” said Charlie Taney, one of the players. “The game was stopped after five innings because of the 10-run rule. We were down by a lot more than 10 runs at that point.”
The lopsided loss had ramifications: When the Ridgefield Fathers Club took the field for its second game, there were only 10 players.
“The herd was culled,” said Taney. “I guess some of the guys realized it might be a long season.”
Taney was among a core group of 10-12 players who kept returning for more humbling defeats, most of which came via the run rule.
“We lost religiously,” said Taney. “The games weren’t close.”
Through its first 12 contests, the Ridgefield Fathers Club remained winless; a 15-9 setback represented the bright spot because the game wasn’t stopped early.
“It was similar to being a father,” said Taney, who has three young boys. “You have to show up day in and day out and get better at it.”
In its 12th game, the team got an unexpected spark.
“Our pitcher blew up at the ump and got kicked out,” said Taney. “He was suspended for the next game and we adopted a rallying cry to win it for him.”
Taney’s two-run homer helped the Ridgefield Fathers Club top the Greybeards, the team with the oldest roster.
“We beat the elderly,” said Taney. “One of their players is literally 80 years old.”
The high was brief: the Ridgefield Fathers Club lost its final regular-season game and then dropped both of its contests in the double-elimination playoffs, including one to the Greybeards.
All told, the team went 1-15.
“It seems weird to say, but we did get better,” Taney said. “We figured out what positions everyone should play, and that helped a lot.”
The losses weren’t discouraging enough to convince the Ridgefield Fathers Club to disband after its inaugural season.
“Those of us who stuck with it looked forward to the games and the camaraderie,” said Taney. “We’re looking into joining a fall league and we will return [to the Lewisboro league) next year.
“We all have kids, so it was nice to have this one thing each week,” added Taney. “Even though most of the games were over early, we would still hang out in the parking lot and talk for a while. By the time we got home, the kids were asleep.”