Voice of reason not very kind on the softball field.
By Bryan Gallegos
We had our first softball game. I had to talk my body into playing. Now it’s pissed off at me.
My doc said I would be OK in about 10 days.
My wife said I could come back in about 100 days.
My body said I could come back in about … never.
My choice, though. Sorry, Dear (wife, not doctor), I’m coming back.
Now I just have to convince my body again. It’s not going to be an easy sell. I might have better luck trying to tackle Adrian Peterson.
After the game, just about every part of my 54-year-old body is screaming at me. My back called me an idiot. My legs said I was crazy. My wrist said I make poor decisions and therefore not qualified to be president. My shoulder called me a stupid, stupid man. And my Achilles tendon is giving me the cold shoulder.
I thought I was ready for my first game since the Reagan era. After I helped put the paper to bed Wednesday afternoon, I stretched for about an hour. I felt pretty loose, confident and excited as I drove to the softball field.
I was there about 30 minutes before game time, ready to dominate the diamond like I was 18 again. I was going to stretch singles into doubles like “Charlie Hustle,” roam the outfield make over-the-shoulder catches like “The Say Hey Kid”, and pound the ball like “Hammering Hank.”
The team’s manager made out the lineup and put me at first base and ninth in the batting order. Not exactly what I was used to, but when you hadn’t played since before some of my teammates were born, you take what you can get.
The first batter we faced hit a grounder to the shortstop, who fielded it cleanly and fired a bullet in my general direction. It was low, but I stretched to snag it for an out. But I felt something pull in my hamstring.
Oh-oh. I put it out of my mind.
The next batter singled to left. But the next batter hit a grounder to our second baseman, who tossed the ball the shortstop covering second. He fired another low bullet to me, and I stretched to scoop it out of the dirt to complete the double play.
I felt another twinge. And that little voice that everybody has – you know, it’s that voice of reason – told me to pull yourself from the game. I told the voice to put a sock in it.
We batted around that first inning. I came up to bat with two outs, looking for that single to stretch into a double. I hit a line drive right at the third baseman to end the inning. But I somehow twisted my ankle as I made my swing.
Voice of reason: “Time to step down.”
Me: “Shut up.”
In the second inning, a batter hit a hard grounder to my right. I made a back-handed grab and I tossed the ball to the pitcher covering first base for the out. It was a good play and my teammates gave me an “atta boy” for it.
I was pumped, full of confidence. The old gray goose still had it.
We batted around in the second inning, and I got to bat again. This time, I hit a grounder in the hole. Somebody on my team encouraged me “to beat it out.”
My head said yes. My legs said, “Oh, hell no.” I tried to shift into high gear, but I felt my calves tighten. I was out by four steps.
Voice of Reason: “Get out. Now!”
Me: “Hush. I’m tough.”
Third inning started, a big ol’ Paul Bunyan-looking guy stepped into the batter’s box. He ripped a laser just to the right of me. I figured piece of cake, after all, I stopped the last one without a problem. With cat-like reflexes that looked like they were in slow motion, I dove for the ball.
Voice of Reason: “Nooooooo!”
Me: “Oh-oh …”
I went airborne, and missed. I lost my balance when I came back to Earth and … Ker Plunk. As the ground came rushing up to my face, I said out loud: “This is not going to be good.”
It wasn’t. Moments later I had a mouth full of dirt and body parts screaming at me. My shoulder hurt. My back hurt. My ribs hurt. My wrist hurt. My hamstring and calf were already hurting. My pride? It was his-toe-ree.
Voice of Reason: “Hello. Anybody home? Think McFly! Think! Put a sock in it because it is OVER!”
I picked myself up, put my hat back on my and dusted off the dirt. I took one step toward first base and heard that little voice again.
Voice of Reason: “If you don’t get yourself to the bench, I’m going to kick your butt.”
Me: “Sounds like good advice.”
Until next time.nhdfjh