Thursday, September 17, 2009

Was That A Wink Of That Young Girl's Eye?

From the moment that I bumped into Maureen McGovern traipsing around the lido deck last April I knew that eventually we would end up here. Regardless of the route we travel, we inevitably end up in the same place every year. It is fitting perhaps that on the final Wednesday evening of the final Summer of the decade of Aught, our ragtag little softball team saw our season come to an end in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs.

There were moments over the course of the past several months when it seemed to me as if the season was endless. Yet, once the final out was recorded last night and we were lining up for the post-game handshake with the team that vanquished us (a firm by the way that has more lawyers named "David" than we do players on our roster) it seemed as if it had passed by in no time at all. As my teammates were all gathering up their belongings and we were considering where to go to observe and honor the passing of another season into posterity, I spent a moment or two sitting on the bleachers, alone, thinking about things.

It occurred to me that in the rather brief amount of time that comprises a season, I had seen and/or gone through quite a bit in the adult side of my life. I had changed jobs (escaping a self-created and self-imposed sentence in Hell for the sanctity and peace of something familiar and significantly better), I had fairly severely screwed up my lower back (spending about six weeks walking around doing my impersonation of Frank Gorshin's arch-villain costume) and saddest and most significant of all I had watched my wife, her dad and her big brother bury her mom.

We started in May and we finished in September. In between quite a bit happened. I spent a lot of time this year wondering if I would have any interest in playing next year. Once upon a time, I was a pretty fair softball player but this year I was the opposition's best friend. For the latter half of the season I was so unproductive at the plate that my Delta Tau Delta name was "Where Rallies Go To Die" (try fitting that on a pledge pin). It was a nice change of pace last night to get a couple of hits. It would have been nicer had we been on the heavy side of the 8-5 final score but life being the original unscripted drama it was not to be.

Last night we gathered one final time at the Star Tavern to talk about what was and what might have been but, more importantly, to share some food, some adult beverages and a lot of laughs about a lot of things - including softball. I realized driving home last night that as long as Advil dulls the pains in my joints and my back sufficiently to enable me to play and as long as Diego and Dave keep telling me when and where we play each season, I will continue to participate. The older we get, the less time it seems that life allots us for pure, unadulterated fun. When we find something that provides it to us, we should tie a knot in the end of the line and hold on with both hands for all we are worth to it.

It's not about trying to recapture a little of the old glory. It's about trying to hold on just a bit longer to that which makes us happy and that which brings us peace - even if for just a little while.


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