"You're playing softball?" my client
said, with a gooney grin on his face. Okay, so he's always
seen me in heels and a skirt. But, there are other sides to me!
For the first time in a dozen summers, I wasn't sitting in
the bleachers cheering on a couple of Little Leaguers. It was my
turn to play ball.
The first practice offered lesson one: Damn, that
My favorite chef smirked, "There's nothing soft about
One shattered ring and a black and blue palm proved
him right. Those mitts sure aren't much protection.
Getting up to the plate for the first time in 20 years,
I honestly couldn't remember: Could I hit? Fortunately for
all of us, yes. Well, usually.
I'll deny there was an audible squeal when I caught my first
fly ball. Must have been a passing seagull.
Later, watching the crowd gather around an outfielder
who'd just taken a ball in the nose, our team's resident
artist looked at me and said, "Should we be doing this?"
My mother asked the same thing. . .although not so delicately, "You
can't play catcher. There are men on that team! They'll
run you right over."
The one guy who did run into me apologized profusely after
all he was watching out for the ball, not for me.
Another kid a real powerhouse, early 20s hit a long
one way out into the outfield. There he was, rounding second base
at full stride. . .coming around third base.
Uh, oh, he's coming my way, I realized. Please don't throw
me the ball! You don't really think I can get this guy out,
Two feet before the plate, the young jock came to almost a complete
"Excuse me," he said politely, stepping by me to claim
the base I was standing on. How sweet! But wait, did he do that
because I was old enough to be his mother? Couldn't be! I refuse
to get old. . .or grow up.
"It's good to see a woman your age not just
sitting around on her butt," another customer decided.
"My age?" I gave him the evil eye.
"Er, uh. . .our age," he backpedaled.
"Good save," I told him.
"Hmmph. I'd say that's beyond being saved,"
an eavesdropper muttered.
Somehow, I got on a team that played only the elite
of the league. One woman had more athletic prowess in two fingers
than I have in my whole being.
"And none of your bad traits," the paint pusher reminded
My grace on the dance floor was doing me no good now. My wimpy arms
needed strengthened and I hurt in places I didn't know even
could hurt. And, how did a tweak a muscle in my stomach?
Forget the beer. Who has a hot tub?
Doctor, diesel mechanic, hardwood floor guy, pub owner
what a great way to expand my circle of friends, get some
exercise and end up black and blue. Hmmm. . .what's wrong with
Our coach/ring leader was great. Patient, experienced
and quick to praise and tease. "This is just for fun,"
he assured. "Don't be afraid of the ball."
Tell that to the guy with the bloody nose.
One friend cracked up when she heard I was playing
"You'll do anything to find a man," she taunted.
"Brat!" I hissed.
Pondering the fact I was playing catcher, she said, "Well,
you should be okay with all that protective gear."
Slow pitch softball we weren't wearing any gear.
"What?" she said loudly towards her husband across the
room, "Larry, Sandy's not using any protection!"
Needless to say, hubby's eyebrows went up as did everybody
else's within a hundred feet.
"I'm playing softball. . .softball. . ."
"It's never too late to take up extreme
sports," another guy offered.
"Softball's an extreme sport?" I countered.
He grinned, "Depends on how old you are. . ."
Halfway through the season, I was attacked at Memorial
Field by a huge marmot. It grabbed my ankle and tried to pull me
down its hole!
That had to be what happened. Couldn't be I was so exhausted,
I tripped over my own stupid feet. No way! I'm sticking to
the marmot story!
My fall tweaked the knee royally. It's been seven weeks, and
although the swelling's gone, the knee has definitely not recovered.
So much for wanting to get a little more exercise.
A year and a half later,
the knee still needs babied.
Hey, but what could be sexier than dancing in a short black skirt
with a neoprene knee support? It even has a cute little hole for
my kneecap to poke through. . .