Soon after we moved to Franklin, Tennessee Jim started playing men’s softball in the area.
- One was a team that we affectionately say was made up of a bunch of misfits. We called them the Bad News Bears until they got an official sponsor (Ideal Boltz Electric Company) and became the Ideal Boltz — with real uniforms and everything!
- The other team was made up of church members (and friends of church members) at Bellevue Community Church. These guys took softball very seriously.
Here are some photos from those games…
Are You Ready For Some Softball?
Jim’s coming out of retirement… giving softball a try again after several years off. Truth is, he wasn’t aware that I had put his name on the “wait list” for the Williamson County Men’s Softball League. (It was something I knew he’d enjoy since he had frequently talked about playing softball in the past.) Since the roster was full, and they didn’t sound optimistic that he’d receive a call, I just never mentioned it to him. Surprise! He got a call to “tryout” for a team that needed one more player.
You Think I’m Ready For This?
As it turned out, he didn’t get picked to fill that one spot that a specific team needed. So all of the guys who showed up for that softball tryout and didn’t get picked got together and formed their own team! To get in shape before their first official practice, Jim met up with a friend to warm up a bit and get back in the swing of things.
Having A Ball
Jim’s warming up his throwing arm playing catch with a friend. He usually plays 1st base whenever he plays softball.
Getting Back In The “Swing” Of Things
Eventually, Jim bought his own bat and started taking all this softball playing really seriously.
There’s A Lot To This ‘Gettin Ready’ Stuff…
Jim running late for the Ideal Boltz team’s first softball games at Granny White Park in Brentwood. He usually packed all his softball gear in the car, then drove to the ball park right after work, but it was often unclear if he was going to make those 6pm games on time. Rush-hour traffic from downtown Nashville to Brentwood was always a mess.
Warming Up Before The Game
This photo was shot through the fence at one of Jim’s Ideal Boltz softball games. Here, he’s warming up before the game.
What’re You Lookin At?
“…Can’t you tell we’re tired?!” This is the scene after a hard-fought win in a game of men’s softball. Ideal Boltz vs some other loser team. Boltz win! Boltz win! Boltz win!
Softball’s Most Loyal Cheerleaders
This was taken during Jim’s first season playing softball for Ideal Boltz in Nashville (actually Williamson County). Pictured here: me, Kerry (wife of Wes), and Abby (wife of Neil). We were the team’s most loyal cheerleaders who, on this day, went on a “beer run” after the game to give the guys their necessary intake of liquid refreshment. Seen here is Abby’s infamous extra-large mug that she takes to all the softball games!
Ideal Boltz Men’s Softball Team Photo
I finally managed to gather everyone together for the end-of-the-year Ideal Boltz team photo. But, wait… Who’s missing??? Jim! (He was in the restroom.)
Back Row: Jerry, Jeff, John, Ronnie, Wes, Mike, Scott
Front Row: Neil, Brett, Bobby, Shawn, Izzy
That Winning Smile
Jim, after playing in a double-header and winning both games… and his mom and dad and nephews were all there to witness it!
Jim’s Family Before The Softball Game
Jim’s parents came for their first visit in our new house in Franklin. They brought Benjamin and James (Jim’s nephews) with them. They really enjoyed watching Jim play softball.
It’s A Whole New Ballgame
The Ideal Boltz preparing for their first game of the night. Notice the sombrero hanging on the dugout? Our friend Mike and fellow team member brought this to some games to get the guys riled up and back in the spirit of the game whenever they’d get down or lose. Notice the orange bucket of Whoop Ass? That’s Jim’s contribution to the motivational gear. The guys pictured here: Brett, Wes, Neil, Bobby, and John.
Keeping Score At Jim’s Softball Games
I frequently kept the score at Jim’s softball games. The only times it wasn’t fun: When I brought our dog Destin to the game and had to keep him occupied while keeping an eye on every play at the same time. Also not fun: when the other team was overly competitive, and they would question most plays or the score a lot.
Wes And Nick
Wes (coach) and Nick (wild boy with wild socks) are warming up before the start of the Ideal Boltz softball game. Nick actually started a “trend” among the youth on the team… Some of them started wearing wacky socks like Nick, or mis-matching colors. Often Brett showed up wearing one navy sock and one gold one (the team’s colors).
The obligatory “huddle” prior to each Ideal Boltz game. All of Jim’s teammates got together and shouted “Boltz!”
Jim On Third Base
For awhile (in terms of being able to photograph Jim from a different angle), it was a rare sight to see Jim anywhere beyond the 1st base line — because that’s what position he plays for the Ideal Boltz. So it was quite delightful when he actually made it to 3rd on this night!
Neil: Coach Of Ideal Boltz
The Ideal Boltz men’s softball team has 2 coaches: Wes and Neil. This is Neil, who with his wife Abby, became good friends of ours.
Last Game Of The Season
This was the last game of the season for the Ideal Boltz. By the looks of things, we didn’t win. Pictured: Mike, Neil, Wes, Jim, Abby, Jeff, and Jerry. Notice Jerry with a cigarette? He lights up between innings, between his times at bat, and between games. Yet he can still run faster than most of the other players on the team!
The guys are wrapping it all up for the season. Pictured: Jerry, Mike, Neil, Wes, and Jim. Good effort team Boltz!
Well, The Whoop Ass Came In Handy For Something…
Toward the end of the season, when the guys on the Ideal Boltz team started to get down a lot about their win-loss record, Jim poured a bunch of sand into this orange bucket and labeled it “Whoop Ass”. The bright orange bucket just hung out in the dugout most of the time. And, sometimes it came in handy as a seat.
Mike had alternative means of motivation for the Ideal Boltz team members: this sombrero. He’d put it on whenever the guys got really down in order to pump them back up and remind them there are more important things than just this softball game.
Desperately Seeking Shade
Notice our little dog Destin between Jim’s legs? He has a ball ever time I take him to Jim’s softball games. He likes to play with anyone there who will give him the attention. But he’ll also sit quietly if need be. Here, he’s enjoying the shade provided by Jim on the bleachers.
The Team Mascot
Our dog Destin has always enjoyed going to Jim’s softball games and he became the unofficial team mascot. He’s just a puppy here, and he looks a little scrawny because he’s still healing from all of his ailments.
Warming Up For Another Softball Game
Jim warming up before the start of the next Ideal Boltz softball game. They often played double-headers.
It Takes A Lot Of Balls…
…before you’re warmed up and ready to play.
Put On A Happy Face
From the looks of things… the Ideal Boltz didn’t win this game.
I’ve Got A New Best Friend
Destin likes going to Jim’s softball games, because he gets to play with his new best friend, Abby, the coach’s wife.
Fellow Ideal Boltz teammate Sean’s daughter, Shelby, is an animal-lover by nature. Destin has always clicked with her, and they spend most of the time walking around and playing together.
Post-Game Wrap Up
John, Neil and Jeff enjoying some down time after the Ideal Boltz game.
Nick And The Boys After The Game
Nick (wearing the yellow socks) did his best to lead the team when it came to fashion sense. Here Wes, Nick, Scott, Jerry and Jim are chatting after their Ideal Boltz softball game.
Wes Got A Black Eye!
Wes was pitching for the Ideal Boltz when the batter swung at just the right angle to send the ball directly into Wes’s eye. Fortunately, Wes wasn’t hurt… just a bad headache.
That’s Some Shiner You’ve Got There, Wes
Jim’s checking out the black eye Wes got when he was hit in the eye with the ball.
Jerry Refueling… With Nicotine!
A familiar sight at Jim’s Ideal Boltz softball games: Jerry smoking before, during, and after each softball game.
Jim After The Game
Jim’s sitting around chatting with his Ideal Boltz teammates about the softball game.
The Coaches Corner
This was the start of the 2005 BCC (Bellevue Community Church) men’s softball season. Here, Jim and Steve-o (co-coaches) determine some last-minute strategies prior to the game. Here are team photos and details about opening day at the ballpark!
After Their First Game… The Look of Defeat
Some of the BCC team players after they had just been defeated in their first game of the season. Things can only get better. Pictured here: Chuck, Steve-o, Jim, and Steve.
A Coach In Crisis
This is the look of a coach in crisis… Things weren’t going much better in the 2nd BCC game either.
Game Two of this BCC double-header resulted in a closer score, but still a defeat. NOW the guys are warmed up and ready to win, but everyone else wants to go home!
Bo calls me “the paparazzi” at the BCC softball games. I’m also known as the “team mom,” “reluctant scorekeeper,” and “rememberer of all things Coach Jim forgets to bring to the game.”
4th of July Softball Tournament
This was a big game for the BCC guys. They really put their heart into winning this tournament.
Fourth of July Hot Summer Meltdown
While the 4th of July is normally a time of celebration, there was no celebrating on this day. The guys gave it their all, but BCC didn’t win the softball tournament. They were runners-up. Mike (the pitcher) took it hardest of all… MIKE: “Jim, we need to be drinkin something stronger than this Powerade, don’t ya think?!”
Cookout With Softball Friends
At the end of the softball season, to celebrate a year well-done (runners-up!), we had a little cookout with some players from the Ideal Boltz team.
Mike and Wes (pictured here) both pitched for the Ideal Boltz softball team.
Our Fun Friends
Neil and Abby enjoying… the scenery? The beer? The music? Answer: All of the above. We also hung out with Neil and Abby a bunch of times other than at softball games:
- Playing Cranium
- Playing Euchre
- Playing Cornhole
- Vacationing at Lake Michigan
- Attending Spring Training Baseball games
Jim Singing Everyone To Sleep
Jim can’t resist the urge to play his guitar whenever there’s a captive audience! Yes, I was there too. But, looking through all the photos, we only managed to capture my feet in any of the photographs!
Drinkin To The Night
Chug-a-lug, Jim! Just kidding. He rarely drinks at all, but when he does it’s a double of Wild Turkey & Diet Coke (he’s watching his figure). Actually, this mason jar might hold a quadruple concoction, the way we mix ’em!
Pull Yourself Up A Chair, Mike!
MIKE: “Hey, we’re the semi-champs, right?… If that’s not a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is!”
Two Proud Semi-Champions…
These 2 provide the blood, sweat and tears behind the Ideal Boltz men’s softball team. Wes and Neil shared the job of coach.
Jim Enjoying A Fine Dining Experience
JIM: “I don’t care if we’re the champions or semi-champions… I’m eatin!” (Some day remind me to write something about these “fancy” paper plate holders. I love ’em!) Oh, and at least this time I was present in the form of framed photographs in the background!
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).