Tuesday, July 22, 2008

41 Going on 14

Following my softball game this past Friday night, I commented to a teammate that I think I've just finally realized that I'm in my 40's. Despite the fact that I'm still in pretty good shape, and still run pretty well, I'm not holding up as well as I used to. Yet, I still play as hard as ever, and always seem to be the guy with the dirtiest uniform.

But, sometimes this is unnecessary. Take Friday night's game, for example. On one play, about midway through the game, I'm running from first on a groundball hit in the hole between short and third. I don't even remember who came up with the ball, but he didn't field it cleanly. By busting my ass and sliding hard into second, I was able to beat the throw, and knock the ball loose in the process. Well worth the effort, of course.

Then, later in the game, I do the same thing, in a similar situation. This time, however, the ball is fielded cleanly by the shortstop, and, while I make the play closer than most would have, I'm still out by five feet. After realizing that I had jammed my left hand into the ground in the process, and can barely grip the bat and squeeze my glove afterwards, I decide this one was not worth it.

So, at my game last night, my hand is feeling better, but I still can't grip the bat really well, and it occasionally hurts to catch the ball. So, what do I do? Late in the game, in trying to avoid being forced at second again, I slide into the bag, and wouldn't you know it? The same hand hits the ground, slightly aggravating the injury.

After the game, it takes me ten minutes to remove my cleats, put my sneakers back on, and tie the laces. Then, I limp to the car, my bad ankle suddenly feeling tender again, while each knee takes a turn feeling like it's going to give out. In the process, I'm reminded that, despite being a fairly svelte 5'10" and 160 lbs, and the fact that I still play like a kid, I am definitely getting old.

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