I've been to more season-end banquets than I can count on two hands, two feet and all of my attached appendages, but the 2013 softball banquet will stand out as one of the best I've attended.
It wasn't just the food (more on that in just a moment), nor was it the team receiving honors. It was the fact that we played softball against the team, and won (more on that, too).
I was blessed to bookend a four-week tour of delectable tri-tip meals with amazing tri-tip made by Lee Strain (third baseman Megan Strain's grandfather).
My first taste was at the Policeman's Memorial Barbecue the softball team hosted; tri-tip by Lee.
Then the girls basketball team held its annual fundraiser auction and dinner; tri-tip by Daryn Farmer.
Then the baseball team held their banquet with leftover tri-tip from the fundraiser; tri-tip by Farmer, cooked by Scott Darger.
The last taste was at the softball team's banquet; tri-tip by Lee.
It was all good, but nothing compared to Lee's long-soaked (24 hours or more), slow-cooked (200 degrees for two-plus hours) piece of paradise - I'll see you at Thanksgiving, Lee.
The softball team challenged coaches, family and community members (myself and KURY's Kevin Bane) to a game of softball.
I was so jazzed to face both Courtney Kay and Hannah Goergen (Bruins' starting pitchers) in the batter's box that I almost didn't let my teammates bat.
All season long, I'd said things like "I'd have swung at that," when they didn't get the call from the umpire and, all too often, I'd hear some wisecrack from the dugout, "You'd whiff."
I wanted a chance to prove myself. And boy did I.
I made solid contact on Hannah Goergen's pitch and it was going, going, going ... but center fielder Kayla Webre robbed me of my home run with her stick-um sprayed glove.