Dewey Decimators: Game on!

Dewey Decimators: Game On!

            I haven’t been writing very much, despite having what feels like a million thoughts going through my head. The desire to organize these thoughts and write them out has been nonexistent. Basically, the past couple weeks have seriously sucked and I’ve been alternating between feeling like I’ve hit rock bottom and trying to avoid any negative thoughts by throwing myself into my work.

There were a couple things that happened over the past couple of weeks that in some ways were bittersweet, but in other ways they made things feel just a little better. I’ll be writing about one of those things today, and hopefully the other will be in next week’s post.

Last week, my library participated in a staff swap. We are a library system that consists of one main library (AKA Main) and 18 branches throughout the county. During this staff swap, the branch workers spent some time at the various divisions of Main and the Main workers spent time at a few different branches. The hope of this swap was to help staff learn about different locations and about coworkers they would not normally be in contact with.

While I was at Main for my second round of the swap, I ran into the IT manager who asked if I wanted to join the Dewey Decimators, which is the library’s kickball team. Yup. Kickball. Despite my hatred towards kickball (it was the bane of my existence in gym class, next to basketball), I eagerly agreed and even recruited my best friend, Kylie, who less than eagerly agreed. Within a few hours, our names were added to the Dewey Decimator roster, we were given the schedule, and we were promptly billed 50 dollars to play.

  Yeah. 50 dollars to play a sport that used to make me cry.

Wanting to make the most of our 50 dollars, and not wanting to embarrass ourselves too much, Kylie and I took to practicing kicking and catching a few days before our first game. Kicking was easy enough for both of us. Catching was much easier for Kylie than it was for me, though not by much. We weren’t feeling overly confident about our decision to play kickball.

Tuesday (24 April) was our first game. Kylie and I spent most of the day feeling anxious and hoping that the game would get cancelled due to the persistent and heavy rain. Despite the cold, wind, and rain, it was game on.

It was about 50 degrees (Fahrenheit) outside, but a cold 50 degrees. We all shivered, despite wearing many layers as the cold found its way into our bones and the rain was splattered against our faces from the wind. All 11 of the Dewey Decimators were cold and miserable. That was a fact. We weaseled our way into our assigned red shirts and zipped our jacks over them, pulling up hoods, tugging on gloves, and pressing together for warmth. I decided then and there that I hated kickball and Ohio weather.

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The 11 Dewey Decimators who showed (I believe our team actually has about 17 people, but weather and illness kept some people from coming) each represented different parts of the library. Of the 3 girls, one was actually the IT manager’s sister who had nothing to do with the library, Kylie hailed from Main Circulation, and I came from a branch. Of the 8 boys we had a mix of IT, Security, and Main in general. If you want to know what a group of underdogs looks like, just throw a bunch of library employees together on a sports team.

The IT Manager (also our captain) determined where we would be playing as he watched us practice. Kylie was sent to third base and I was put behind home plate to retrieve stray kickballs (that’s how bad my catching was). We had a rotation for kicking, and the IT Manager and another IT staffer alternated as our pitchers. The other team was much larger, louder, and truth be told, looked more athletic. I’m pretty sure we all went into the game expecting to lose.  90% of the game I looked like:

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For 55 minutes we played in the freezing rain, and though we did not win by a great deal, we still won (I think I final score was 6-4 or 6-5). Kylie was the MVP with an amazing catch, and I even made it to first base after a pretty impressive kick. We were technically short a female player, so we were penalized by starting each inning with an out, which gave us fewer chances to kick and therefore score. Yet, despite the lack our lack of athletic ability and people, we persisted and won. Having the referee declare the Dewey Decimators the winners seemed to warm everyone up a little bit, and we laughed and cheered. While celebrating with some good food and drinks sounded great, we all agreed that we could wait until next week. I think everyone wanted to get home and try to get warm before going to bed.

So what does a half-assed story about library kickball have to do with libraries, really?

Truthfully, not much. I just wanted to share something good that happened recently.

On the other hand, it was a positive experience working and playing with people who are my coworkers, even though I never see them. Working in a branch, I’m surrounded with the same 10 people every day. Kylie works with her Circ coworkers, IT lives in the IT cave and does IT things (“have you tried turning the computer off and back on?”), and security deals with the tougher parts of the library. We see each other at staff development day and for events like staff swap, but even then it’s really only in passing as everything is work-focused.

After 1 game of kickball, I think we got to know each other a little better because work was what united us, but it wasn’t our focus. My branch was not my identity, IT wasn’t worrying about the computers, and Security was able to relax – even just for a little bit. We laughed and teased each other, cheered, high-fived each other, and clapped.

The point is, no matter where you work, if you get the chance to get to know your coworkers outside of the workplace, go for it. We might not be super best friends after one game, and I doubt we’ll all be best friends after our last game, but we now have one more thing in common besides the library. And that thing is kickball. Will the Dewey Decimators have a great season and win every game? Probably not. But we’ll try. At the very least, we’ll have fun and continue getting to know each other outside of work.

For now, I don’t hate kickball (I guess it’s not the worst thing in the world), but Ohio weather still sucks.

Also, I’ll get to see my best friend more, which is always amazing.

 

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Best friends. Almost librarians. Dewey Decimators.

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