Plantes Ferry Playing Field- Dust, cleats, the thick smell of oiled leather, and neon…neon yellow balls with blood red lace, yeah, blood red…cause that’s why we’re here isn’t it? Blood, sweat, and glory stories. It’s just another Thursday with your Next IT Hackers softball team. So fill up your popcorn, grab a Fanta Orange and get ready to hear about the glorious extra-curriculars of your very own Next IT.
From Carl Miller’s “Poetry in Motion” swing to Chandra Turner’s General Patton-like on-field leadership, Next IT works like a well-oiled machine once game-time hits. If the atmosphere present at a game is even remotely similar to the culture in the workplace, it’s no wonder Next IT is the leading provider of Intelligent Virtual Assistants around the globe.
The team plays with a chip on its shoulder. After going down 4 in the first inning, Next IT’s very own Kyle Raprager made it clear he wasn’t going down without a fight (Han Solo style) by fielding three straight fly balls for outs and then stepping up to the plate and hitting a ball so hard it proceeded to dance circles around the right fielder. It was an in the park homer. Can Kyle get some applause? Maybe someone can stop by and give him a cupcake next week. Kyle’s cavalier approach to softball, a knight for the greater cause, only adds to his commitment already exemplified in the workplace.
Speaking of commitment, check this out: Next IT’s Renae Wood is currently 3 months pregnant and she still plays for the Hackers on the regular. Maybe she loves softball; maybe she is already teaching her baby what it means to be a complete champ. Ann Foreyt took a ball to the shin from the outfield yesterday. Her response, and I quote, “I don’t have to move as catcher, I’ll play through it.” SERIOUSLY? Your shin is the size of a coconut and you play on? Alex Rodriguez would have cried to his latest girlfriend while going on injured leave for months and he gets PAYED to play. Scott McCabe spends his time off the field talking up his fellow teammates and on the field hustling. It’s incredible; the guy has a motor like my 4 year old cousin after a bag of lemon heads. Then there is Andy, Andy Mock. He hits the ball so hard he makes Mark McGwire look like a pansy. From Melissa Migliuri’s stat taking skills to Greg Wildermuth’s meticulous game prep, Next IT softball is a serious endeavor. Why do the hackers play this way? Because they care.
Community is big at Next IT, and there’s no shortage of it on the softball field; once the players take the field, the chatter is almost obnoxious. There is so much “Nice Catch, Mike” and, “Way to take go, Casey” that opponents often wonder if we are just one big family. We are, so it’s fine. On top of that, co-workers who don’t even play like to make appearances at games. During at-bats, you’d think every player hit a homerun due to the sheer decibel level produced by the ecstatic fans. Did someone say the Olympics are happening right now? What Olympics?
I asked Jennifer Bohm why she does it, why she shows up every Thursday, no matter what, game face on, she simply responded, “The Camaraderie…the friendship….that feeling of working toward a common goal. That’s why I play.” As she gazes right through me with those stone grey eyes all I can think is, that’s it, that is why we play. Thanks for tuning in everyone, and until next week, Go Hackers!