Kickball went better this week. We still lost, but this time it was only by 4 runs, so a win actually felt obtainable for a few innings. Yours truly bunted and got on base for the first time ever. At first base, I jumped up and down and cheered for myself. At every base, I told the baseman, "Hey, this is my first time here." Schmoozer was playing third-base running coach.
"If the ball pops up in the air, stay on the base to see if it's caught or not. If it's a ground ball, just take off running," he instructed me.
I kept my left foot on the base and crouched low.
"Two outs!" the referee shouted.
I looked back to Schmoozer. "Two outs? That means run on anything, right?"
The kicker popped the ball into the air and I took off running for home base. Behind me I could hear Schmoozer shouting, "No! Come back!" He obviously forgot the run-on-anything rule. The outfielder dropped the ball and I crossed home plate. I had scored my first run.
No one wanted to go to the bar after the game because we had just spent the weekend drinking our weight in beer at Jenna's lake house. I was feeling fine despite a cough I developed from skinny dipping in October. I actually only had three beers on Saturday because I didn't want to be hung over and puking in the kickball field. But Schmoozer wanted to go to the bar, so did the other guy on our team that I don't really care for. I agreed to go with them.
We sat with the two other teams that were present at the bar. Each team had about three representatives. Every team complimented me, saying they noticed how much better I have been getting at kickball. Schmoozer sat next to me and we split a pitcher of beer. But this time, things were different. There was no flirting outside of the friend's zone. Being from the Midwest, he said he wanted to go through a corn maze which I didn't even know we had until I saw a few advertisements this fall. But he was very clear he wanted it to be a group thing. As in my group of friends.
This is a problem I continually run into. I know firsthand how fabulous my group of friends is and how great it is to be a member of the inner circle. During the game, Schmoozer was regaled with stories of the lake: the skinny dipping, the hot tubbing, the speed boating and tubing and the beer mustaches. Who wouldn't want to be invited to a weekend like that? Then he heard that we were going to miss the kickball game in a couple of weeks because we're driving down to Florida for the world's largest outdoor cocktail party: the UGA/FL football game. He heard the stories and he wants in. Which means he doesn't want me.
This isn't the first time this has happened. Through a series of events, I learned that 5k Guy wanted in our group. He used my list of 30 things to do before 30 as a means to get involved with the group. He sent me an e-mail on the 4th of July for me to pick out a 5k that he and my friends could all run together. I took that to mean he wanted to do the 5k with me, but in reality he wanted to do it with Harvey and Katie and everyone else. Same for the whitewater rafting trip and zipline that he also said he was interested in.
Christopher did the same thing by flirting with Katie last Thanksgiving.
Jack, a boy I dated back in 2007, was more excited about spending time with Helen, my tall and extremely beautiful friend who could pass as a model, than with me.
So what's the solution? When I do finally meet some guy that I like, do I keep him from meeting my friends for as long as I can? Schmoozer is not guilty of this like the others, but how do I keep myself from being a pawn? The sucky part is, I feel like my group of fabulous friends is something I have to offer in a relationship: it's my social life keeping me from becoming needy and clingy, it's a built-in calendar with fun activities in which he can participate, and it's always fun people having a fun time.
How do I keep the greatness of my friends from overshadowing my own greatness?