Monday, July 28, 2008
I came home from the Bombers softball games on Sunday in a funk. I had played terribly, and the team had lost both games we played. I was muddy and sweaty. MY WIFE greeted me with a smile. She looked at my filthy uniform, and said:
"Wow! You played hard today!"
I growled a greeting that included obscenities. The obscenities weren't meant for her, but they came out of my mouth in her direction, unfortunately. Anyway, couldn’t she see that I was a bum who had made three errors and gone hitless? Was she blind?
She continued being upbeat. I continued being a grouch. Then I realized what an a-hole I was being.
I had just come home to a loving woman speaking words of encouragement. Our home was comfortable. There were plenty of good things to eat. A nice hot shower would take away the dirt and sweat, and I had fresh clean clothes to put on afterwards. If I so chose, a bed awaited me; a nice nap with baseball on the radio for my listening pleasure. Meanwhile, she was working to make things even better. She was diligently cleaning house.
Earlier, the games were lost, but I had a chance to spend three hours with a great bunch of guys, my teammates. The field was muddy, but the sun was shining. I got some desperately needed exercise. As I beat myself up for the errors and no hits, guys came up to me and told me nice things. The general tenor of their comments: "It’s just a game, Sully. Relax. We still love you."
And now it’s six hours after the games. I took the cleansing shower; kissed and hugged and otherwise received love from MY WIFE four or five times; had food to eat that three-quarters of the world might consider a royal feast; napped with the amazing XM radio giving me a broadcast of the Colorado Rockies – Cincinnati Reds game (and I absolutely love the Reds’ broadcasters. It was an 11 – 0 Colorado lead, so they were arguing about who comprised Motley Crue. One of the guys was having a hard time convincing the other that there was actually someone named Nicki Sixx); and awoke in time to watch the end of The Canadian Open golf tournament on TV. As I was typing this, MY WIFE awoke from a nap that she took, came out of the bedroom, and the first thing out of her mouth was, "How are you feeling, sunshine?"
I told her I was feeling great. And so I am.
I suck. I’m not a good ballplayer anymore. I was absolutely correct in my judgment last year. I retired. That was the right decision. Due to extenuating circumstances, however, I was asked to play again this year. My teams were short players for a couple of games. I played, and helped them to wins. It felt good.
My mistake since then has been in believing that perhaps I could do more than I had already done. That’s often a failing of mine, believing that I’m capable of more than I actually am. So, I bought a new uniform and some batting gloves, and talked myself into the belief that I was 25 again. I’m not. I’m an overweight, out-of-shape, 51-year-old. I have two bum knees and a bum arm. My vision is not 20-20, and my once-excellent reflexes have deserted me.
But, life is good. God doesn’t suck. I continue to be blessed beyond anything a jerk like me even remotely deserves.
Next week, we have two more games. I’m going to greatly enjoy coaching third base, watching all of my teammates run by me on the way to home. If we win one or two, we’ll go to the playoffs, where I’ll enjoy watching them again. If, for some insane reason, Jack calls my number, I'll be ready to play to the best of my remaining abilities. What I'm hoping for is that the rest of the guys just pound our opposition and I have a good view of it.
Me? I don’t need to run the bases anymore. I don’t need to get to home. I have a lovely home waiting for me after every game, and another awaiting me in Heaven when I die.
(Don't worry. I'm not dead yet, and I don't plan on being so any time soon.)
I have a home in the kind words of my friends, and in the loving embrace of MY WIFE. I have homes in many different cities and towns, friends and relatives ready to welcome me with open arms and a shower of love.
And, perhaps most important for the present, I am now at home in my skin. Sure, I would rather have had a hit and made the plays. But, if I had, I’d still be kidding myself. Now I know, for sure, that I’m absolutely, positively done. I made my contributions for the year - and I’m happy that I could - but now I’m finished. And I'm very comfortable with that fact. If I get back on the field beyond today, it's gravy. I'll enjoy it, but I'll keep reality in my field of declining vision.
Hooray for me! I had a great time. Wish you were there.
Soon, with more better stuff.