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  • As I lay in my jacuzzi last night at midnight, totally enjoying the 104 degree F jets of water soothing my aching muscles in the cool late night air, after a couple of hard-played softball games - the Diamond Dogs finally won their first game! - I enjoyed a realization, kind of an answer to a question I've had for myself, recently.

    Why do I enjoy playing softball so much? Am I just some middle-aged guy trying to relive his youth? That just doesn't ring true. Then, what is it?

    The answer lay in how I felt in that moment, laying there at midnight under the stars, in my jacuzzi, looking up through the trees, completely in the moment.

    Much as I love all aspects of playing the game itself; the strategy involved in assembling a team and managing it, the challenge of getting 10 guys to play up to their potential, the competition of the contest itself, the personal challenge of doing my best at whichever position I'm playing (last night I played 3rd Base, 2nd Base and Catcher), the compiling of the statistics afterwards, sending out my "midnight rambler" recaps to the guys after I've compiled the stats, relishing my play if I had a good night, analyzing what I could have done differently if I didn't - that stuff is all part of it, but are definitely not "It".

    This is it. The way my body feels right now. Grounded. Spent but Satisfied. Alert. Here. Now. In this moment - without even thinking about it. Just is.

    Growing up, it took until my 12th year of eduction until I "got" education. What I did up until then was enjoy the physical aspects of life. I played a lot of sports. I was never a "jock" - I just loved to play. I was never very good at anything I played. I just loved to play.

    Nothing was better than the way I felt after a hard, 3 hour knock-down-drag-out battle of tackle football without pads or helmets, in the rain and the mud. I usually played Center on offense, Defensive End on Defense. Neither glamour positions, both tailor-made for someone who enjoys being in the trenches of battle. I was a skinny kid with big feet, but damnit, I had heart! I just loved it. If I could go out there today and do it, I would. But, alas, age does have its limitations, even for me, who takes pride in defying, nay, spitting in the face of "age". Go ahead - try to make me feel old! Bring it on - I'm up for a fight.

    I know that day may eventually come, but when and if it does, I will know that I left it all out there on the fields of life. It's part of who I am. I am unapologetic about it. In fact, I love this about myself. I am a fighter. I love to battle. I love the way I feel when the battle is over - win or lose. It feels like life. I am here. I have lived - this day.
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