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Age-related Frustration

That's me batting. Photo by Ernie Fuller.

As I've gotten older, I've learned that with age comes a lot of nasty things, no matter how hard you might fight against it. Creaky bones. Bad backs. Pains in the joints. Falling out hair. Flab where muscles used to be. It ain't a pretty sight.

But that's the least of it, what it looks like.

The most frustrating part of all is how it places limits on your ability to enjoy your favorite activities. Now, I'm not talking about in the bedroom -- those things can be fixed. I'm talking about playing softball.

For the past several years, I've played a lot of senior softball (senior, meaning geezers over 60). I've played left field. Third base. Second base. Catcher. Center field. Right field. Left-center field. Right-center field. Oh yea, in senior softball we have four outfielders, plus a rover who plays between the outfielders and the infielders. I've played that position, too.

Since I've been in South Carolina for the past year, I've played with a great group of guys in a pickup league, usually three and maybe even four times a week. Last spring I also played in a night league of over age-50 players, and we played a doubleheader once a week. So that was a lot of softball.

I'm not a great player. I'm pretty fast (for my age), I can field my position pretty well -- especially since I had cataract surgery and got these new super dooper artificial lenses in my eyeballs that give me 20-20 vision, both near and far. I dream about diving for sinking line drives and rolling over acrobatically. But I never do.

I'm a Punch-and-Judy hitter, usually slapping the ball around for singles, when I'm lucky enough to get it out of the infield. One night last spring, one of my teammates, Ernie Fuller, said to me as I got ready to bat with a guy on first, "Remember, your job is to NOT hit into a double play." Nice.

My big problem is my throwing arm. I have so much pain in my right shoulder due to tendonitis, bursitis and a bone spur that's poking into my rotator cuff that I can hardly throw the ball 30 feet -- and that's not good for an outfielder when the fences are 300 feet from home plate and we actually have guys who can hit it that far. When I was catching in the night league, I would go home after a game and my arm would throb so badly it would keep me awake. All because of all those throws back to the pitcher.

So now, trying to avoid surgery, I'm in shoulder therapy and I've been ordered by two different orthopedic surgeons to take at least two months off from playing softball.

It's driving me crazy. I hate it. I miss my softball buddies.

Art, the guy in charge of our pickup league, told me to come out and umpire and they'd let me hit as well. I might take them up on that, but I'm afraid if I go, I'll want to play. I'll start throwing and then anything I've accomplished will be lost.

So instead, I complain, grumble, and drive Jackie nuts.

Guess I just have a nasty case of age-related frustration.

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