Our summer softball league kicked off Wednesday night with a doubleheader against our longtime rivals. We swept the night – blowing them out 14-5 in the first game and eeking out a 9-7 win in the second.
It’s the start of my 5th season since I began playing again in early retirement. My return to the diamond followed an almost 25 year hiatus that put more than a few kinks in my swing (and joints).
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I’m realistic about my ability, but have a personal goal of reaching base on half of my trips to the plate. Over the full 4 seasons I’m at .461 on-base %, but reached .500 the last 2 seasons, as I started taking more walks. In the field, I generally catch, play second, or right field. I’m a better fielder than a hitter, but scouts would say I definitely lack arm strength.
At age 55, I’m not the oldest of the 12 guys on our team (3 are in their 60s), but I am moving up the charts. The team – which has been around for 32 years – is gradually being turned over to the next generation of guys in their 20s-30s.
As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised if my final at bat was at the end of this season or certainly in the next few years. I’m trying to keep moving as long as I can keep moving, but it is only a matter of time as softball is particularly tough on your body. Two Tylenol usually go down with my first post-game swig of beer.
Still, every Wednesday night, I consider it a thrill to lace up my cleats, grab my leather glove, and step onto the dark, green grass. It’s an absolute privilege to continue to play a team sport I’ve loved since childhood.
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