Monday, July 28, 2008

I Suck, God Doesn't

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.


lime said...

allow me to add to your list...

you have a teachable spirit and a wise perspective born of gratitude. something some people never have no matter how blessed they are. well done, my friend.

mlh said...

Definitely a Hooray to you! And I do wish I was there...

Janet said...

I've heard the Reds announcers. All Kentucky announcers are the same way. If the team is losing they'll talk about ANYTHING rather than the actual game. If they're winning, they become obnoxious louts.
Glad you were able to get out of the doldrums. Sometimes they can conspire to keep you there. Or at least that can happen to me. Not so much as it used to.

Minnesotablue said...

It's such a comfort, being comfortable in your own skin. I reached there about a year ago and have been much happier since!

Hilary said...

I have no choice but to be comfortable in my own skin. It fits so loosely these days. ;)

Great post, Sully. Perspective really is everything. You have a gem in your Wife, and she in you.

Jeni said...

Being comfortable in one's own skin - now there's a concept I'm still struggling with. Granted I'm getting there but it's a slow process. Just hope I get there before the undertaker comes to pick my body up! However, that being said about me, with your spirit, your attitude, you can come visit and "play" along on my team -for whatever that's worth -any day your pea-picking heart desires. Nothing better than reading some of your wild and crazy, zany rantings or your stories about family and friends -even if many of them do center around basketball! Keep 'em coming anyway. You're just moving on to a higher plane on the playing field -leader, director, instead of being the one doing all the grunt work!

Chucka Stone Designs said...

Terrific to reflect and be suddenly grateful for all you do have. :) You deserve it all!

Chris Stone said...

"keep reality in my field of declining vision." great phrase!

i didn't realize how competative softball is! I haven't played softball.. . since the 3rd grade when a friend of mine got hit in the mouth with the ball. she was bloody but alright. and i decided kickball was more my thing.

Sandra Ree said...

Just when I think I'm comfortable in my skin, life throws me a curveball.

You really are quite lucky, Sul. What you have in this stage of your life is all we could ever hope for.

Another great post. :)

Rooster said...


The next game you play in you'll go 3 for 3 and make a gfame saving defensive play, and then softball will be wonderful again. I've lived through it many times. it is such a rollercoaster.

Just have fun with it, and remember all of us who wish we were still out on the field!

Buck said...

Then I realized what an a-hole I was being.

That's an admirable trait in anyone, but in a husband (OR a wife!) it's pure gold. YOUR WIFE is a lucky woman, indeed, Jim. And you're a great person for your knowledge of self. Or, as you and others put it... "comfortable in your own skin." That's a Great Good Thing.

Mushy said...

I takes some folks many years to come to this truth! I have to keep reminding myself.

Rebecca said...

Yes, it's definitely difficult accepting the fact that we just can't do the things we once were able to do; or rather - we can do them, but just not as well. Embracing who we are as opposed to who we used to be is not only a lesson in humility, but it can be surprisingly "freeing". :)

You are fortunate to have a loving home because that in of itself makes the metamorphis of self acceptance that much easier.

You rock Suldog. :)

Suldog said...

You are all very nice, and I appreciate the encouragement. I really am comfortable with not playing now - or playing in a reduced capacity. When I "retired" following last season, I left on a high note, going 6 for 8 in my final two games. Even though I knew I had made the right decision, those two games left me saying, "Maybe..."

Now, with the games I've had this year, I know for sure. I needed to know, and I do know. I'm fine with it.

Thank you, again, very much!

Jason said...

Sully, stop taking it so hard i counted on the day a lot of mistakes no matter if was a 51 year old first baseman a 20 year old CF a 18 year old and 40 year old not running out a play to me and everybody that played that day on both sides.

Just keep on playing it makes you happy even on a bad day, shit we are not in the Major Leagues and dam they make mistakes also

Sully + Bombers = Fun

Bombers - sully = not so much fun

Sully 7 years we have been playing together and i hope you will at least play one more year.

I even let you use my glove



Suldog said...

Jay, you big softy -

Thanks, man.

I know I get over-dramatic, but it's just that I care so much, you know? More than feeling bad for myself, I hate to have let the rest of the guys down.

Love you, big guy. Thanks again.

Shrinky said...

Suldog, you may be a lot of things, but one thing you 'aint is a jerk (just ask your wife) x