There, I said it. I have lost a step. Or 18.
There are all kinds of reasons. My impending 44th birthday, for one. Broken leg, repeatedly sprained ankles, knee surgery, horrible arthritis are some more. Weight gain. Yeah, that’s certainly a reason.
I should put it out there that I was never all that fast to begin with. I did “OK” with sprints, but I certainly wasn’t going to break any records and all in all, I am just not a fast runner. In softball, as long as I could hit the ball well enough, far enough, that was ok. But, today I had a pretty crappy hitting day. It was cold, I was sore from a heavy duty kettlebell workout yesterday, reintroducing the gluten into my system has not been pleasant (and am taking it back out again … different subject for a different blog). So after I hit the ball infield, on the ground and was thrown out at first, the team “manager” came over and dropped a bomb on me.
“Next time you get on base, I am putting *Lucy* in to run for you.”
Huh? I just looked at him. “Why? Because of my knee?”
“She runs faster than you.” He laughs.
“Can you even do that? I mean, I thought the player had to be injured in order to call for a pinch runner?”
“I’m getting one for me cuz I am slow, too …” He laughs again. Then he left to go bat and I stood there with my jaw dropped.
I wasn’t even sure how to feel about that whole exchange of words.
First a few clarifications. 1) it is not legal to put a pinch runner in, unless the batter is injured. And the runner put in is simply the last male or female (depending upon what sex the injured runner is) who made an out. You don’t get to choose the young sprinter (who is fairly inept at fielding and hitting the ball) to just go in and run for the fat old lady. 2) This is a church league. It is competitive, but it is supposed to be fun, first. 3) Our “manager” is the Pastor of the church sponsoring the league. Aren’t they supposed to be honest and kind?
He’s been riding me for quite some time. Last year, he was unhappy with how I play my position (catcher). And he never fails to criticize my batting. Unfortunately, I know it is off … and oddly, I am much better when he is not around. Inferiority complex much? Last week’s practice he was complaining that my throw back to the pitcher was not good enough. I need to be 100% accurate getting it back so the pitcher doesn’t ever have to move and therefore won’t get tired out. I need to throw the ball harder. I told him maybe he needed to find a new catcher because I was doing my best and that just wasn’t good enough. Apparently.
I should note that I have already asked to be relieved of the position. My knees are old and damaged. I know I am not as good as I used to be. I am more than happy to sit on the bench and be a designated hitter, or a designated cheerleader. For the first time in my life, I really am ok with that. Unfortunately, NOBODY else wants to play catcher. We make a lot of plays at home. Balls whiz in at 100 miles an hour from the outfield and the catcher needs to be pretty good at … catching. And I am. I am the first to admit that I am not as good as I used to be, but I have made more plays than I have missed by a wide margin over my softball career. Catcher is the last line of defense. If everything else has fallen apart, your last chance to eliminate the run is a play at home. Nobody wants the job.
So, to make a long blog entry even longer … this, tonight, this hurt my feelings. I am incredibly disappointed in my manager. I am … demoralized. Today I wonder if I should just walk away, hang up my cleats and not look back. I feel defeated … and old … and incredibly sore. I LOVE my team, I have been playing with them for about 7 years now … and it would break my heart to walk away, but … at this moment, right here and now … I can’t think of a single reason to stay.
I’m just not as fast as I used to be. Did you really need to demean me during a game?