As mentioned in previous posts, I play in a 50-and-over softball league. I had been playing in my town, but that was 30 and over, my team had been together for a long time (although not with me as a member), and the other teams seemed to be getting younger every year.
It was heady business when I first joined the Amigos. I had to try out at a general draft where I did well enough to be the overall No. 1 pick. With all due modesty, I did quite well in my inaugural season, with numerous extra base hits and steady if not spectacular play in the field, despite a dislocated finger on my throwing hand sustained in my first game. We won our division championship in and as a “reward” were bumped up “D” to “A.” How times have changed.
Even though we have made it to the playoffs every year since (it’s almost like the NHL in that regard), we haven’t done well. Look, we’re all getting older, some faster than others it seems. This was my worst year ever. I never totally healed from a pulled abdominal muscle which made my speed shift from non-existent to negative and I developed arm issues that reduced my throwing from one of my better attributes to a liability. My offense was way off and my position in the batting order sank like a stone. I would like to think I’ll recover with better health club attendance and a more serious training regiment, but the possibility is there that this it it, that this is the way I will play from now on.
My friend Jeff, a fine player in his own right, had the philosophy that he’d rather be the worst player on a good team than vice versa, but sometime soon I will have to decide if bad softball is better than no softball at all.
Simon Yisrael Feuerman posted some similar sentiments in his essay on Tablet. Like him, I wonder if I devote too much time and thought to a game when goodness knows there are more important things to worry about. I guess it’s a measure of escapism, an attempt to remain young. Again, not meaning to blow my own horn, I’ve always been a good player, so the prospect of not being good any more really rankles. It’s a mortality issue.
I keep hoping that next year will be better. Perhaps if I lose 10 or 40 pounds…