Wednesday, July 15, 2009

For the Moonlight (Graham) In All of Us

I know not who is the source of the observation that, "Insanity is the doing of the same thing over and over and hoping for a different result" although I suspect that she bears a striking resemblance to my bride. Summer is the "pursuit of eternal youth" season in our house (I spend the other three seasons attempting to hone my Olympic-level immaturity) as I play softball on a team that a couple of my friends from law school have put together.

In some shape or form, the core group of five or six of us has played together since the summer of 1995. Like vagabonds, we have pinballed from one league to another in search of a game. For the past several seasons, we have toiled under the banner of the City of Newark Law Department in the Essex County Lawyer's League. I suspect you are thinking - lawyers playing softball? Is the League motto, "our level of play stinks but our arguments are epic" or some such thing? No, but perhaps it could be. At least on some evenings.

In the interest of full disclosure, it must be acknowledged that at the zenith of my athletic career I was not very - athletic that is. Not much has changed in that regard here on the downhill side of the speed bump that represented the height of my prowess. On a good night, I am decidedly average. On a bad night, I am the guy who provides the ice water that we all drink on the bench. The back of my Topps softball card lists my position at "Hydrator". It does not but it certainly would not be a stretch.

For years I have defied conventional wisdom and coefficients of friction and insisted on playing softball in shorts - as opposed to baseball pants - while continuing to insist on running the bases (at 42) with the same type of abandon I did at an age one third or one half of my present age. I am an above-average base runner but given my tendency to push the envelope's edge more often than not, I tend to spend a disproportionate amount of time sliding and/or diving during my warm summer evening's trip around the bases. Over the past fifteen years that has led to the accrual of a significant number of scars on my right leg (principally from the knee down), which are the residue of cuts, abrasions and the occasional infection that were the immediate consequence of a particular base-running action. I wish I owned stock in Neosporin if for no other reason than to take advantage of an owner's discount.

We played our third game of the season last night (blame not us but Mother Nature). In the top of the final inning, during a play on the bases that kinda, sorta resembled a jailbreak I ended up having to slide into 2nd base. The good news was I was safe. The bad news was that my trusty sliding pad did not work as well as the packaging promised when I purchased it a few seasons back. I ended up, yet again, with a mix of blood, dirt and sand where parts of my right leg used to be. Having seen this movie before, I know how it ends. In about 7-10 days, I will have a new scar taking its rightful place among the others on that appendage.

Needless to say Margaret was thrilled to see me when I arrived home last night after the game (at least that was the message I gleaned from what she was saying - although it was kind of subliminal and required rather adroit reading between the lines as it were). I could actually feel the cold stare of my wife on the back of my head as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep. Boy am I really looking forward to that 4 + hour flight to Denver with her on Saturday morning now!

The good news is that Margaret's anger - like the searing pain in my right leg - shall abate. Time heals all wounds, right? I think I shall stop at the pharmacy on the way home tonight to stock up on Neosporin - just to be safe.


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