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!