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  • Last night was a brutal night on the Diamond. The conditions were downright nasty. Everything was wet, every base was slippery, every ball that made it past the infield would just die in the wet grass of the outfield, making the ball wet, slippery, and unpredictable in its flight patterns. Outfielders and infielders were dropping routine fly balls and pop-ups that would normally be an easy out. Fog was drifting up from the grass, and the outfielders were hard to make out from the infield, as a result. We were short one player, so only had 3 outfielders instead of the usual 4. We were kind of hoping that Shoeless Joe Jackson would wander in from the fog and the cornfields (a la “Field of Dreams”) to man the vacant outfield post, but he, unfortunately, never appeared. We really could have used Joseph out there!

    None of us could believe we were even playing. All of the games at most of the other fields had been cancelled, but for whatever reason, the games on our field were still on. Kathy and I had driven back from my sister’s place in New Jersey, through the driving rain most of the way, certain that my games would be canceled. Never happened.

    It was my penultimate night of softball for the year, my finale with the Diamond Flames. The Diamond Dawgs have a pair to play on Wednesday night. I had no idea who was coming. Young, dumb Mike called me at 7:15, and I told him games were on, and we needed him. He texts me at 8:30, 10 minutes before game time, to let me know he fell asleep and wasn’t sure if we were playing. Translation: “I was high as a kite and completely forgot that I just spoke to you at 7:15”. Thus, we were a player short.
  • So, I had to play shortstop. I’ve been mostly playing Third Base, Catcher, and Outfield this year. Last year, I played shortstop a lot. But, I could never get really comfortable there, last night. I kept feeling like I was positioning myself wrong – too far towards Third, too far towards Second, too deep, too shallow – and, I was right about that, most of the time. They kept hitting it where I wasn’t. I made the plays on the ones that I could get to, or that came to me. Until the diving line drive, that is. That damn ball, all wet with bits of mud on it, was on me in a split second, but I had the glove down, ready to snag it before it hit the ground – my “Third Baseman reflexes” were still sharp – but the damned ball dipped under my glove at the last second and really nailed me right on the top of my left ankle with a sickening “Thwak” sound, echoing in the fog. I managed to knock the ricocheting ball down with my glove to keep it from going out into the swamps of neverending turmoil in the outfield, but as I went to retrieve it on the edge of the infield, I went down as soon as I planted my left foot. It didn’t hurt, yet – I just couldn’t feel it. It was completely numb. I walked it off, and once the pain registered with my brain, I tested it and decided I could keep playing, but I moved over to Second Base. The next inning, and the rest of the game, I played First Base. Whenever I got on base, I let somebody run for me, until all of the feeling came back, and I felt like I could run without damaging it further.

    Today, I feel like I played tackle football without equipment last night. I like the feeling. I’m sure there must be something wrong with me that I do, but it’s true – I like it. Every bone and muscle in my body has an ache, a bruise, or a special message to tell me – “You’re frickin’ too old to be doing this shit, dude”.

    I’ve been icing the ankle, and shortly I will pay a visit to my favorite back yard jacuzzi on a perfectly overcast, cold Fall Columbus Day holiday. Man, I’m not sure if it gets any better than this.
  • Wait. Yes, it does. In 5 days, we get on a plane at 6 a.m. out of Dulles, land at LAX at 10:00 West Coast time, get to spend the day with J.B., then next morning, board the Disney Cruise Ship “Wonder”, bound for Hawaii and 2 weeks of cruising the Pacific.

    Yes, that’s even better than this! I have a ton of work to do today, and the rest of the week, before we go, but right now, for this moment, I am relishing the thought of pulling out of that port on Sunday afternoon, to sail an ocean I’ve not sailed across before. Life is good.
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