Heartstrings & Hamstrings

December 1, 2022

It wasn't a "comeback", it was just coming back. I recently wrapped up the 2022 Slowpitch season, after nearly a decade away from the field. That wasn't really intentional, but it was a "life gets in the way" reality. We're talking about beer league, hanging with your buddies, nursing injuries, swinging for the fence, smack talking softball.

You know the kind of league. Young guys in the outfield because they can still run. Older guys shifting to 1B because they can't.

Slowpitch is not baseball, of course, but it is a hell of a good time, and I"m glad to have remembered why it is. A lot of laughs, a chance to be competitive, and to enjoy the baseball-elements again. Its also hard. Much harder than most think. Yes, it is a giant ball pitched at an arc that you are designed to hit. "Hitting" it is the easy part. Hitting it where you want to, and where "they ain't" isn't so.

When I first showed up in the spring, there were a few things on my mind. I knew I could still hit and that my game instincts would kick in. However, I was worried that I was out of shape. Turns out that those worries were founded.

Game one, inning one, playing my old position - LF - and I'm gassed. A few balls up the line, a ball over my head off the double-fence, and then a merciful easy F7 that I struggled to see under the lights.

Wow. A reality check.

Fast forward an inning or two and I'm standing on first base with a 5-hole groundball single. Next guy up strokes a ball in the gap and I take off and round second and my right leg said, "NOPE."

Hamstring. Done.

I finished off the night at catcher, and had to utilize a pinch runner, but never came out of the game because - well in typical beer league fashion...we didn't have enough dudes.

Eventually first base became my new home. There were a few lucky rainouts, and a business trip that helped me heal up that leg only to usher in new and exciting middle-aged injuries.

As the summer rolled on and into the fall season, I found my stroke and ended up with a pretty decent year at the plate. But it was still definitely a reality check in the "mind says you still can, body says not-so-fast" department.