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What can I say? At least I tried. . .

 

Softball's fun, but a knee killer


By Sandy Hershelman

 

"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 ball hurts!
My favorite chef smirked, "There's nothing soft about a softball."
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, do you?
Two feet before the plate, the young jock came to almost a complete stop.
"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 me.
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 this picture?

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 softball.
"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. . .

 

hershelman@olympus.net
Date Last Modified:9/23/03
Copyright © 2001-2003 Sandy Hershelman. All rights reserved.