No, really. I’m fine.
I’m playing softball. Again. This summer. Even though I said I wouldn’t. Go figure…
A few weeks ago, one of my boys asked if I was playing this year. My answer an emphatic “No.” Little did I know. I know, right? (Don’t answer that.) Last summer, either of my hamstrings were strung too tight and I limped about the days after game nights. Then in January-ish, I pinched a nerve in my neck and had pain and numbness down my left arm radiating to my fingertips. Not good for a dude with limited tips o’ finger.
The logical choice was to declare my retirement and take my expert analysis to the booth. But even the best-laid plans have wrenched thrown right the fuck in their workses. Our minor league Phillies, riding a 22-game win streak dating back to last season, played (and won!) tonight. After the game, the men of East Falls/City Softball League made their ways to the field—one of those teams being my former squad. Plus, this year, a bunch of my boys are playing after not and/or playing for other teams. Yeah, I got the itch, but 4 comes early in the morning and I’m dedicating myself to dedicating myself to the new job.
On my way out of the park, I walked past the playground. Shortly thereafter, I ran into my friend Jenna and her two friends (one of which is a real troublemaker;). She greeted me with a hug as we’ve not seen each other in months. While she told me of her new man, a couple guys from walked by on the field. Murph yelled to me,
“Rob, we need you.”
That was all it took. Jenna did her best to coax me but I was already in, but not without misgivings. See, something’s up with my head. Equilibrium or something. I’ve been getting these quickhits of dizziness whenever I crane my neck or look too fast to one side or another. Happens while I’m driving, especially when I look up from my texting to see traffic. Between that and my allergies, which gave me hell all day, I acutely knew I was in condition to not play. I was wearing big ol’ cargo shorts and I purposely don’t own a glove since my last mitt turned to dust last year. Unequipped was I for the physical exertion of gameplay. Eh. Fuck it.
There I was, gray cargo shorts and all, digging errant throws out of the dirt, throwing runners out on overthrows. Oh, there was I also swinging and missing horribly for the final two strikes of my first at-bat of the year. Early in the first inning, I informed my friend Bobby that my heart was beating out of my chest.
“Nah, just feel like shit.”
Then my second AB. I turned around at hit from the right side because I just wanted to make contact. I lunged at the first offering and tipped it just enough that it dribbled down the third base line like the inaugural spoonful of mushy carrots does down an infant’s chin. A swinging bunt, if bunts didn’t go so far. Fair ball, so I obligated myself to dart down the first-base line. Safe. Wheels, kid.
At first, the sarcastic cheers from my ‘mates reverberated off the thumping in my chest before rattling my eardrums. Oh, and the heavy breathing. Had a creep been nearby, dialed a strange number, and held the receiver to my face, the unsuspecting woman on the other end would have instantly assumed to have teleported to a horrible, B-reel “thriller” from back when movies sucked and, for some reason. boobs were extremely pointy.
First and third, two outs, and I near death, Timmy stepped to the plate and lined out to right. I jogged toward second, glad the ball was caught. Running was over for the night. I turned and cut toward the bench to retrieve my borrowed leather and, then, bam. Vomit. On the grass behind pitchers mound. Once more on the turf before I hit the bench, I was cooked. Literally. Sweat rained down my face and the back of my head like Katrina, only with less bitching about the government.
With my head between my knees, and not in a fun, look-what-I-can-do kinda way, I wretched some more before the guys realized what was occurring. I summoned my replacement to the field and stumbled over to a light pole behind the “dugout” where I bent into a couch and threw the remaining contents of my guts up. At least I was getting an ab workout.
Luckily, other people were around and gave me sprite and ice and water and told me to go sit down until the sweat left and the color returned. Oh, and my heart relocated to its proper position in my chest cavity. After a while, I regained my composure, but without any answers as to why this happened, short of I’m out of shape even though consistently lighter than I’ve been in years.
My buddy Jeff asked if I’m still drinking a lot of coffee. I affirmed that indeed I am. Or diet coke. Or energy drinks. Or kerosene. Or liquid decaying particles. Most of the guys and girls in the area checked on me, some more concerned than others, none taking it lightly. I declined the 9-1-1 call.
Forty is still a year-and-some-change away. I’m going to die soon.
I feel fine right now, short of the reality that I work in 6 1/2 hours. I’ll make it. There’s a good chance I was dehydrated. And sucking wind from inactivity. Don’t worry, the doctor will tomorrow tell me that I need to do this or that and I’ll follow instructions like the compliant patient I am.
Tomorrow marks an unretirement of sorts in another arena. Dating. I will be eating dinner and perhaps seeing a movie with a nice young woman who thus far has tolerated my whateveritisIdo. Yup. I’ve somehow convinced yet another beautiful woman that I am worthy of some time and attention. We shall see how it goes, but I’m chill. Tonight’s neardeath goround has again reminded me that life is short and sweet and to be savored and shared. To be lived. Happy. Not waiting or wanting but doing and being and getting and anthinging you want. Live it up. Fuck it.
Just don’t hurt anyone. Don’t use people. Don’t ignore the people who mean anything to you. Don’t let others tell you what’s right for you. And so forth. Long story short, I’ll be eating sushi and watching some flick while having my cheeks shoved away from this woman’s, in an attempt to just be friends or whatever she convinces herself we should do.
You know I’m going to have a good time. You know I’m totally going to make out. Then I’ll announce my re-retirement. Maybe I’ll take my talents to South Beach with a lot of other retirees. Make of that what you will…
That’s my story.
But while I’m talking of retirement, apparently the talk is that the Eagle are bringing McNabb back on the day Andy Reid and the KC Chiefs play here in the fall. Five is signing a one-day deal so he may retire from the NFL as a member of the Birds. His number 5 is also being retired. I do believe he deserves that honor. He was an excellent player on the best Eagles teams during its best era (see: Reid).
Donovan McNabb the player was frustrating and exciting and mostly-reliable. Except. He puked in big games (sound familiar) and fell short of potential (I’m still working on that). Had he simply puked and came back, or even puked and left the field, it would have been forgivable. To an extent, of course, as he is a highly-paid professional athlete. (Whereas, I am just a guy with a gut and a pair of spikes.) The issue I have with this guy is that he still denies ever puking. Punk. He also badmouths Philadelphia fans every chance he gets in front of the national media. The dude is a chump. Why? Because he is phony. He believes what the national people say about being underappreciated in Philly. But we are the ones who saw him, week in and week out. We know what the dude is made of: a whole friggin’ lot of physical ability and little by way of thick skin or common sense or for fuck’s sake balls. He never once stood up for himself in a manner that garners respect. He whined. Whines. All. The. Fucking. Time. He blamed the fans. The defense. The playcalling. And he blamed everything but what was under that 5. The heart, or lack thereof. The intestinal fortitude, or lack thereof. Donovan has yet to own his true career. His true presence among the locker room and among the fans.
It’s very easy for me to bash McNabb. And I enjoy doing so. But I would gladly respect him if he’d just shut the hell up. Or, insisting he talk, say something that might be truth. Or an original thought. I hope when he comes out for the retirement ceremony, he bangs on the plexiglas and plays air guitar like a jackass. Like he did before his last, abysmal game in midnight green.
It’s all about how you finish, gentle reader. As long as you got breath, you got time to finish strong. Get knocked down, knocked around and get the fuck back up. The season is young. I’ll get a few hits. Legit hits. I’ll run the bases without fiving. And I’ll walk my date to her door tomorrow night, kiss her, and say goodnight.
And then I’ll retire for the evening, knowing full-well I shall unretire in the morning. And then I’ll try to figure out why my date’s phone is disconnected… Thanks for stopping by, my friend. Don’t be a stranger.
Read. Comment. Subscribe.