In which I have a hard time keeping a straight face (That’s what she said)

Kirk Gibson

“He’s got a mean streak,” says his manager, Sparky Anderson. “As mean as Pete Rose. That’s saying the best thing that could be said about a ballplayer.”

There are a lot of weak aspects to my game – hence hiring a coach to convert me into a real, badass third baseman, aka #Project3B.

But despite my affinity for miming the Rocky training sequence, my adoration of complete badasses like Brian Wilson, and my freakish ability to not notice somewhat hardcore injuries until well after the fact, I still have a hard time with my game face.

Last Friday, I convinced (read: asked a few times, sweetly) my best friend Debbie, to join me in my #Project3B shenanigans. Of course, I had ulterior motives, including expanding the range of awesome milady performs on the field this summer.

Whereas the first lesson, I was Too. Fucking. Exhausted. to perform my standard “can’t go more than five minutes without cracking jokes” act (at least they’re funny, I’m told), Debbie’s presence was fabulous in a few awesome ways. First, I wasn’t the only one performing the drills, so I wasn’t So. Fucking. Exhausted. so fast. (Also, we learned that Debbie has a wicked arm and can field well. Holla, all-girl infield!)

That's what she said The downside: Debbie and I, who used to say (ok, really, still DO) “That’s what she said” (I know, how original) so often that my then-4-year-old started saying it at school, had a nearly impossible time holding back.

Coach: “Don’t get lazy, A, keep your ass down!”
Angela: Fields grounder (barely), mutters under breath, “That’s what she said.”
Debbie: (Quietly) Actually, that’s what he said.

I mean, yeah. Maybe it’s conditioned, partly, in girls—even girls like me, who regularly wear 3 to 4-inch heels, drink scotch, smoke cigars and are told by male friends, “You’re like a man in a hot chick’s body”—to take direction well from men with authority but feel the need to offset it with a giggle.

(I have also been known to respond to internal work emails with a well-timed “That’s what she said” as well.)

But it all begs the question: can I become a great (or hell, just plain better than 80% of my competitors) co-ed beer-league softball infielder if I can’t be “mean” like Gibby—if I’m more likely to bite my cheeks to keep from guffawing when my coach, fixing my swing (another catastrophe, to be explored next week) says, “Don’t get stiff too early?”

I don’t know what it all means, kids. I don’t know how long it’s going to take for me to be more “Hearts on Fire” and less Weird Al’s “I’m Fat,” but it’s safe to say it’s more than two sessions with the coach. Whose nice silver watch, incidentally, helps me focus when I’m trying to override my inane urges.

(That’s what she said.)

4 Responses to “In which I have a hard time keeping a straight face (That’s what she said)”
  1. John J. Miller says:

    Meanness and laughter can and indeed do go together. Laugh at your opponents–laugh at their strength as much as at their weakness. Especially at their strength, as it takes them out of their proper mindset for a game. There is absolutely nothing that irks me more than seeing a hard, James Harrison-like five-figure dollar fine approaching hit to be followed up by helping a dazed would-be running back to his feet. You think Pete Rose ever helped a catcher up after turning him into a landing strip when the game was on the line? Knock ’em over while you’re laughing. Make a great infiled grab and turn two on a tough grounder, and as you’re on your way to the dugout and pass by that loser, tell her or him to keep his arm up higher than your ass, which WAS down. And then spit some chew near her feet. Laughing. The whole time. THAT’S what SHE meant.

  2. Angela Vasquez-Giroux says:

    Maybe I need to go over the “You’re Mickey, I’m Rocky,” bit of the coach/player relationship with my coach. Remember that part in Rocky IV when Apollo Creed says he feels like he could eat nails?

    Apollo: “Feels great, I feel like I could eat nails Stallion.”
    Rocky: “You know, I never tried those things you know.”
    Apollo: “What are you talking about?”
    Rocky: “Snails, I never had them you know. I see them in the garden but I never wanted to eat em.”
    Apollo: “I didn’t say anything about snails, I said nails, nnnnails Stallion.”

    It’e high time for me to be more NAILS, less snails.

  3. Tess says:

    I always want to entertain my co-workers, therapists, doctors, family… even if it is to my detriment. I rarely take anything seriously. And when I do, those around me are just confused. I played golf in high school and was able to almost not tip my hand to the competition and resist trying to be their friend. Almost.

    This was an excellent piece :)

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