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Monday, 15 July 2013

My Last Softball Game

By Carl Hansen

Although I have never been an outstanding athlete, in my younger years I enjoyed playing both baseball and softball. In high school and college days, I was part of a fast-pitch softball team in a church league in Denver, Colorado, where I played a number of positions: pitcher, first base, and outfield.

During my college years, I continued to play those positions on inter-mural teams but when I went on to seminary and graduate school, participation in softball came to an end forever - or so I thought.

Once I had my Master’s Degree in hand, I was invited by my alma mater to take a faculty position teaching religion and philosophy. When spring neared, a notice in our church bulletin caught my eye: plans were being made to field a slow-pitch softball team and players were needed.

My competitive juices began to stir. Although I was nearing 30, I decided to show up for the first practice to see if I still had at least a modicum of the abilities that had lain dormant for several years. The practice went well and I was signed up to play in the first game scheduled the following week.

When I arrived at the field that night, I learned that only one position was still unfilled: catcher. Although I had never played this position, I reasoned that since I would be equipped with a mask for protection, catching slow-pitch should not be all that difficult.

Wrong.

The first couple of innings went reasonably well. I did not embarass myself or my team, although getting down in the squat position behind the batter was straining muscles I had not used for a long time.

The real trouble began in the fourth inning when I split the back-side of my jeans getting into position. While that was a bit embarrassing, what happened next was worse.

Guarding the plate against a runner coming in from third base, I neglected to take off the mask and when the runner bowled me over, it jammed into my throat. When I managed to get to my feet, complete with bruises and skinned arms, I realized I could not talk and had worries about how that was going to affect my flegling career as a college professor.

Team members helped me limp to my car and I was able to make it home safely to the comfort of a hot bath and the discomfort of the “I-told-you-so” eyes of my wife.

In time, the bruises disappeared, the scratches healed and best of all there was no long-term damage to my throat and vocal chords (or my marriage.) But needless to say, I never played softball again.


[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

You were lucky. I am happy you were still able to continue your teaching. I don't blame you for giving up the game.

This is a good example of why a man should listen to the woman.
( Ha! )

Carl:
Fine story about a painful recollection. It reminded me of the time I pitched a slow softball to the kid up at bat, and he hit a line drive to guess where?(I survived).

Great story, Carl. I think being catcher is the most dangerous position in softball or baseball.

When my son was playing Little League baseball, none of the boys wanted to be catcher, but a girl agreed to play the position.

I was a baseball catcher for years, and have the scars to prove it. You actually were fortunate to end your career at that position in your first game. Good story!

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