23 September 2005
What it Feels Like to Be a True Renegade
The Pointy Universe is proud to post a guest blog by 2005's Besotted Bison, Keith "Bags" Beaudin!
About nine months ago it seemed like a typical evening out with good friends. The Bags and the Jacksons were at La Dalat Restaurant in Hull enjoying a Hunan gourmet feast. Auntie and Kate were swan diving into a couple of cosmopolitans, forgetting about the drudgery of the week that just passed, while engrossed in each other’s analysis about the latest episode of “Six Feet Under”. Meanwhile, James and I engaged in our usual topics such as devising strategies on how to become the best husbands possible and eradicating world hunger.
Then it happened. Jamie asked a simple question that changed life for me as I knew it. “So Bags, Auntie tells me that you used to play baseball back in the day. We have this softball team at work with a great bunch of guys [from the Motor Pool], but our numbers are starting to dwindle and we need some new recruits. What do you think about playing for the Renegades this year?”
So with a simple confirmation of “Yes,” I was introduced to a cast of characters that could have fallen out of Nicholas Pileggi’s book Goodfellas. There was Whitey-The 600 Pound Gorilla, Tom D (Dipaolo), Gordo, Brown Guy, T-Bag, JJ, Bison Skipper Brett, Roche, Clemmie, Sweetwater Murph, Chaney, Meegs, Vinny and Al the Nat. Each person distinct with his own special talent, but all committed to a common goal: winning the third MSESL championship in the past four seasons.
What was immediately noticeable to the new recruits, such as Scott Brown and me, was a common bond and sense of friendship that resonated throughout the team and strengthened as the season progressed. It usually started with a roll call two days prior to each game asking who would be able to put reality on hold for four hours on Thursday or Friday night and culminated with the consumption of the last Bud Light from Whitey’s cooler. In between there was a game against some other faction of engineers dedicated to providing an infrastructure of transportation for the masses.
Even the gladiators (both past and present) who were not able to attend were able to track the progress of the team on what possibly could be the most content rich website since ESPN. Box scores, game photos, analysis, out of town scores and real-time individual statistics gave a complete, detailed picture of the Renegades trials and tribulations. John Roche should be commended on creating such a masterpiece and allowing me to waste hours of work every Friday surfing the Renegades site.
So what does it really mean to be a true Renegade? The experience was not measured by wins or losses, championship trophies, batting average, beers consumed, or bruises received from attempting to field 140 mph ground balls hit at you repeatedly on an infield with the consistency of concrete. No, rather the experience could be measured in the kinship of fellow teammates that extended to friends and family members in the stands who allowed us to escape the complexities and pressures of everyday life and act like kids, whose biggest concern was getting another at bat.
With that being said, there is always the chance for the Motor Pool Renegades to repeat in 2006 and continue this time honored tradition steeped in excellence. But like Patriots coach Bill Belichick says, "You’re only as good as your last win," and there are always questions to be answered such as the ones below.
1) Will Jamie break down and buy a new bat on Overstock.com or will the Renegades be utilizing the original equipment from when the team was founded in the late 80’s / early 90’s?
2) Does Kate Jackson know about the Renegades' party on October 9th at her house in Hanover?
All these and other pressing questions will be answered in the upcoming 2006 season. As Jamie told me earlier this year, “Just remember Bags a true Renegade doesn’t go home until the cooler is empty.” Well said James, since you served as a great mentor and as a besotted bison who knows the true meaning of being a Renegade.