Monday, August 24, 2009

The Autumn of My Years

This evening we shall put a bow on another summer of softball. Well, we shall play our final regular season game at least. For the past few seasons we have participated in the Essex County Lawyer's League. While I tend to lose track of these things, I think this season marks our 4th campaign in this particular league and in seasons past, our season has extended only one game into the post-season. Last year might have been the most disappointing inasmuch as we completed the entire regular season, winning all twelve games, before flat lining in our first playoff game. Our playoff history in this league would have to improve significantly in order to become spotty. To date, we have never won a playoff game in this league. Not one.

I do not mean to overstate the point. It is inarguable that it is a good day when the worst thing that happens to you is your Lawyers League softball team loses a playoff game. I need look no further than all that my wife and her family have endured in the past twelve months or so for examples of truly horrific, life-altering things that can truly worsen one's day. Under no construct with which I am familiar does losing on the field of slow-pitch softball make that list.

Yet I approach tonight's game and the conclusion of tonight's regular season differently than I have seasons past. For while I am not an old man, it seems to me as if over the course of this summer I have aged terribly on the diamond. Once upon a time (OK, as recently as two or three seasons ago) I was at least a serviceable player - good fielder and an average hitter (not much power but a good contact hitter). Now I am at best half of the hitter I once was. If the high water mark on my portable sliding scale had been Williamsesque, then my somewhat precipitous descent would not be quite so bad. Since it was not, it has been.

I am seriously contemplating making this the final summer during which I participate as a regular member of our team. No longer playing as a member of our "regular eleven" but instead on an "as needed" basis - occupying a place on the field only when Diego and Dave cannot fill out the roster (vacation, work conflicts, etc.) While gaining weight has never been a problem for me, carrying it this season has been particularly difficult. And I do not want to put my two friends - Diego and Dave - in the unenviable position of having to kick my old ass to the curb. There is something to be said for getting out while the decision to leave any stage still belongs to you and not to someone else.

I shall enjoy this evening and however many more evenings we play this summer. Whenever the season ends, I will have to come face-to-face with the prospect of playing no longer. Hopefully it is a decision I shall not have to make for another three or four games.

-AK

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