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All Hail the Elder Mad Lads

This is not an endorsement of fighting geese.

Photo by Sage Zipeto, UW Daily

Alrighty crew, we've got one last outline-less word vomit coming your way to end the softball season. If you hadn't already read the last two from regionals and supers, well, there they are. Now you have (or haven't, it's your life, who am I to demand that you do).

So now that the last pitch has been thrown and the last hit has been hut — yes that is the correct past tense no don't you dare look it up or correct me — I'm here to discuss an extremely academic, philosophical topic:

The mad lad.

Despite semantics that would imply otherwise, mad lad is at its heart a gender neutral term; mad lad is above all a state of being. It's like how all dogs are good boys, even the girls.

Heather Tarr for example is known to go prime mad lad — extremely calculated mad lad, but mad lad nonetheless. (Some of you have ripped out lots of your hair over these mad lad moves, but as an appreciator of the tactical mad lad I just watch this base-running and small ball with the enthusiasm of Edna Mode presenting her flame-resistant super suit.)

Also prime mad lad is my British friend who we’ll call James, who for his 19th birthday demanded we push him home from the bar in a recycle wheely bin. (It was Canada and we were legal, relax.) As we can see, the range of mad lad-dom — mad laddery, if you will — is vast.

One cannot try to be a mad lad, one simply is a mad lad in any given moment that presents an opportunity for mad laddery. Or, more commonly, isn't, which is all fine; there isn't a moral value to being a mad lad in and of itself, it's just that the mad lad does tend to make things more interesting.

What else does a mad lad do?

A mad lad bunts just to screw with the defense four innings ahead of when it'll possibly pay off.

A mad lad steals government property in the form of a "construction zone something something” sign and gives it as a housewarming gift.

A mad lad throws 240 pitches in six hours.

An even madder lad throws 240 pitches in six hours and comes out on top.

A mad lad beats Hitler's personal crew right smack dab in front of his big dumb face, despite the mad lad being so ill with pneumonia he can’t even really walk.

A mad lad plays third base.

A mad lad makes her college debut with runners on second and third and no outs, and then strikes out the side.

A mad lad drives past the checkpoint in West Berlin and sees that the border guard is currently asleep so floors it past him to sneak into East Germany and have a pint with the East German normal (and possibly mad, who knows) lads.

A mad lad is offered a head coaching job when she’s in her 20s — and takes it.

A mad lad realizes halfway through making risotto that there isn’t any wine available and so pours La Croix and bouillion onto the arborio rice instead and ya know what thanks to a little combo of culinary intuition and prayer it will still end up darn tasty dammit. (Ha ha ha no I haven’t done that why would you assume I’ve done that that's so random of you.)

A mad lad steals home.

A mad lad sees that her team hasn't scored a run in 18 innings and has three outs to score six runs or else she'll never put on this jersey again and goes “Yeah, we can do that.”

A mad lad believes that. A madder lad does it.

A mad lad has their college softball career chucked aside only a year into it by a pandemic. And then comes out the other side better than before.

Now listen, I'm not advocating for constant mad laddery — surely a mad lad-run world would result in complete societal collapse at best — but damn can we appreciate the art of it all.

Enter Sami Reynolds, Madi Huskey, SilentRain Espinoza, Megan Vandegrift, and who else but Baylee Klingler.

Among the reasons this team has been so much fun to watch: the DGAF (in a good way) attitude of this leadership group and how the rest of the team has reflected that. It really is a group of absolute honey badgers, and honey badgers are nature’s mad lad.

Absolute mad lad, Madi Huskey.
Photo by Sage Zipeto, UW Daily

I mean c’mon, Sami Reynolds charged down a flock of Canada geese for Christ’s sake. Who the shit chases down Canada geese? Once we saw that we should’ve known this crew could pull off the McNeese comeback no problem. Ya know what they say: Absolutely do not chase geese because they will kill you.

But this core group does not heed your no’s.

No, you can’t hit dingers as 5’6” and 5’4” kids without a power hitter’s frame.

No, you can’t play for your childhood team.

No, you can’t have a comeback season playing twice as many games as last year and doubling your batting average.

No, you can’t transfer in from 2,000 miles away and become one of the most important players in the history of any program at the University of Washington.

No, you can’t come back from a six to zero deficit with three outs left.

No, you can’t fight a goose.

I think if I've learned one thing from the last *unintelligible* years of writing here — if that’s what we could call what I do — it’s that I will never hit publish on anything and feel like it’s genuinely done. It’s never fertig, and yes I say “fertig” because sometimes (always) English doesn’t have the right word because frankly language is kind of dogshit at doing what it’s supposed to do. People joke about German always having the word for the occasion because you can Tetris-stack word on word on word on word to create your own Chipotle bowl of a new concept, but fertig isn’t this stereotypical jokey compound word. It’s just fertig: it’s “finished,” and it’s “ready.” It’s either and it's both and it's some combo of the two.

I am never fertig with anything here by any English definition, finished or ready or whatever else you wanna call it; I just hit publish because it's a Tuesday or whatever the hell, so I have to whether it’s fertig or not.

Or in the case of some unscheduled word vomit like this, I hit publish because if I wait any longer this'll become irrelevant, so I guess we can either hit publish here or just throw my computer in the toilet.

By the longstanding SNL mantra: The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30.

I wonder if that core corps of five fifth-year seniors are fertig here. Are they ready to move on? Or are they just — based on the circumstances of how this whole thing works — finished?

Is it just their 11:30?

That's all more-or-less moot, though. Regardless of who's ready to go, I just hope they know we'll miss them.

Do good things, don't do bad things, and bow down to Washington.