Aging Pains

After a year of being idle due to a recurring knee problem (softball induced) and a strained Achilles tendon (also softball induced) I find myself back on the baseball diamond.

At 44 I know I should be leaving the game to the young bucks, but I can’t not play. I am physically incapable of saying no when asked to play. The various injuries should be deterrent enough. I never said I was particularly bright.

Ok, the league I am playing in is a ‘fun league’, but like Pavlov’s dog, once those words are said ‘play ball!’ I may not start salivating, but I do play full-out. Injury or no, all other thoughts leave my head and the softball fills it. Hit it, catch it, throw it, SLIDE!!

I think it’s an age thing. When I was younger, it was about outplaying the other teams. It was balls to the wall adrenaline and testosterone. But now it’s about showing the cocky young guys that this old dog still has teeth.

I’m smarter now, craftier and I know the game. I still haven’t hit a homerun but I can get on base and if the pitcher throws one low, well lets just say they had better be quick on their feet.

Gone is the nostril flaring, chest thumping that comes with youth and inexperience. It is replaced instead with the sheer love of the game (clichéd, I know). Before there was the thrill of seeing the flat-out diving catch or basepath collision. Now I cringe when watching these things. A dislocated shoulder aches with sympathy, the cracked wrist tweaks in anticipation, the torn knee and Achilles tendons gripe. The worst complaint of all is the gray hair (or what’s left of it) on my head telling me I’m too old to play games.

It’s the camaraderie, the smell of clay and grass, of sunblock and leather, the sound of the bat punishing the ball. That’s what it’s about. Carrying on and joking with the players from the other team and congratulating them when they win or when they lose. Things that definitely come with age.

As far as I’m concerned, age is subjective. If you remain young at heart, you remain young in mind. You are never too old.

Uxbridge hospital? Prep the emergency beds, I’m playing ball!

About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
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12 Responses to Aging Pains

    You tell my story, Dave! Still love to play ball myself and climb trees, and do gymnastics and basketball. Some of my peers and cronies have made snide comments. I’m grateful for a husband who loves to play too.
    I enjoyed this piece.
    Let’s make a Write Brain Baseball Team.
    Oh, and let me know what room you’re in at Uxbridge Hospital. : )

    • Dale Long says:

      Dave?? D-A-L-E. 😉

      That’s the key, right Adele? Play.

      My mom and sister keep telling me I need to quit but I’m of the same mind as my coworker Bob. He said when his friends retired they went ‘funny’ so he’s never retiring.

  2. deepamwadds says:

    Never too old! I like the way you describe youthful ball-playing. It’s like everything – when we’re young we’re barreling ahead so fast we miss many of the nuances and deep pleasures of the things we love. The way we engage or play changes perhaps in equal measure to our increased appreciation of these things.

  3. Bonnie says:

    I only tell you to quit cause you always seem to get hurt. With you being a manly man who will only go see the doctor when the leg is green and falling off, I’m just trying to look out for your own welfare 🙂 BTW who says your old? Your YOUNGER and more agile sister will take them out.

  4. Lisa says:

    I remember when Joe Carter played for the Jays (back in the glory days when they were winning) and everyone thought he was way to OLD to still be playing. He was 40.

    So, you’re doing better than Joe Carter. And now that I’m in that same age group, all I can say is you go, dude! Prove to all these youngsters that our generation still has what it takes.

  5. I’m like you in that I can’t say “no” when asked to play a sport. Any sport really. I hope when I’m in my 70’s I’ll still be playing beach volleyball. Ever since I saw a program on TV about a 101 year old tennis player I decided age is just a number.

    • Dale Long says:

      Age IS just a number. Problem is the body complains louder and louder the day after 😉

      90 yr old beach volleyball? Ok, then I want to be a 90 yr old softball player!

  6. You make me want to play ball! That my friend is passion, and I didn’t know you have one that rivaled your lovely wife and your writing…but it sounds like a close running! Lucky Sue has a killer smile!

    Great piece, and play ball (safely!).

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