Do I have to attend the company's annual softball picnic? I hate forced socializing almost as much as I hate softball. I am to the point where I am considering faking an injury just to avoid this thing!
Dear Bitter Batter,
Stay home from a company-sponsored athletic event? And miss the chance to watch your coworkers spit, sweat, scratch, and pat each other everywhere? I don't think so.
I just love it when people work with their bodies. And there are few bad seats at a ballgame, although I have a secret fondness for the right-field line, where I get an excellent 360-degree view of the players while my dog Dickie chases after foul balls. Baseball proves once again that diamonds are a girl's best friend.
Still, the horror of group games runs deep in many people, something I attribute to high school gym classes, which brought many of us to the low point of our inner fabulousness. My group had to wear these short little onesies with blue-and-white pinstripes and a zipper up the front. And over in the boys' locker room, I understand, it was trauma. Sheer trauma.
But it sounds as though you're assuming you actually have to play softball at your company event. I doubt you do.
Show everyone what a team player you are. Appear in attractive athletic attire, but don't warm up. Let the real athletes run around and get bruised and sweaty. Your job is to greet everyone who matters and fuel these efforts by cheerfully eating and drinking at company expense.
Baseball Dining Tips
My favorite garnish for a hot dog: mustard. Plain and simple. If you can, dab some on the bun before the hot dog goes on, to minimize disasters. (The French do scandalous yet practical things with baguettes, garlic mayonnaise, and hot skewers. Now if we could only get them to play ball.) Vegetarians: the soft pretzel with mustard is a near-perfect food.
You can even relax healthy eating rules for a day. Why? Because holding a hot dog in one hand and a beer in the other will convince all who see you that you are having a fabulous time. You can also claim you can't play because you're eating. If some of your coworkers actually care about the game's outcome, just tell them you've had a few beers and I promise you they will make sure that "bench" is your middle name.
Would you feel better if I told you this event is actually work masquerading as recreation? It is. So take yourself out to the ballgame, be seen for at least two hours, and then head home to enjoy your well-earned rest.