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22 Seasons Later & Still Swinging

Well, this week I started to play softball again. I have not played since my Sophomore year in high school.  Oh, how sweet it is. Regretfully, I lost my original glove and borrowed my wife’s. I bought new cleats and softball clothes (whatever you call those pants that go just below the knees). I was the first one at practice and started to think I was in the wrong place. Then 4 other women showed up.

I realized that I am on a team and in a league that makes me one of the youngest women. One woman on my team is close to 60 and the others seem to be my age and up through mid to late 40’s. Wow! I am playing on a hilltown team. That means that I am up in the country playing with what I considered the straight gals. There is a Noho Women’s Softball League that is all Lesbos and gay women (the difference is irrelevant). I did not want the drama associated with the L Word League. Who is dating who? Who just broke up? On the straight girl’s team, I am just another player who happens to have a wife. I can get all the straight jokes and make a few of my own.

Funny how life works. I remember a time where I would have loved to play on an L word team but now that part of my identity is integrated and free.  Don’t get me wrong, would I love for the conversations about the validity and morality of my marriage to stop of course. Would I love for my wife and I not to have to be vigilant while we walk down streets and consider if we should hold hands or not at risk of violence—of course. But part of living free is living each day in the world as we want believe it is. But I digress—softball.

As I entered the field and felt the grass under my cleats, I felt this urge to run around the field and warm up but didn’t take off running. After introductions, we started to play catch. Wow! It was so much fun. Some gals didn’t know how to throw and I just thought wow they are still having fun. I quickly remembered how serious I took the game and had to keep reminding myself this wasn’t the playoffs nor  the Olympics. Just a couple of over 35 plus women playing. We will be having practice 2x per week for the next two months then in mid June the season starts. I have started to go to the gym to work out with weights and keep up the strength in my arms or rather build strength in my arms.

When I played softball, there was no weight training for athletes or the idea that you stop playing when in pain. I remember pitching in almost every game for two seasons and spending each summer in physical therapy because both shoulders were hanging by a thread. I just can’t believe 22 seasons have passed. Time flies. Life flies in a blink. I felt good out there. However, as with each grounder and fly I contemplated do I run full speed and hope I don’t get it in the face or is it worth getting hit in the face. Is it worth diving for and potentially injuring myself—no.

I guess since my ACL repair 20 seasons ago, I made a lot of decisions to just not risk the repair and I stopped considering playing organized sports. I did a brief stint on a L word basketball team in Cambridge about 10 seasons ago. I wasn’t committed. I didn’t go all the time and these chics were tough and serious. I didn’t have it in me to be so serious nor did I have the fight in me. I remember wrestling Erika Logan and Melissa Reeder for the ball back in town league basketball—those days were long ago and I don’t have that kind of aggression anymore.

I need to work on my hitting—my swing is off. I keep trying too hard to hit it. Ahhh….the story of my adult life—trying to hard to hit it big and not just breathing in, relaxing, and swinging.  Is that the secret to life—play it like you are swinging a bat? Maybe it is. With each passing day, I feel like I am swinging life more like and less like I am trying to hit it out of the park. Timing is everything.

About Joy Rain

Joy has been a diversity and inclusion consultant and mediator for over ten years. Prior to consulting, she was professor of Psychology and Women Studies. Joy has a Master of Arts in Psychology (Boston University) and a Master of Education in Social Justice Education (UMASS Amherst).

Discussion

One thought on “22 Seasons Later & Still Swinging

  1. Hey Joy- I stumbled upon this and really enjoyed reading it. I play in “the L word league” but I can tell you that not all teams are drama! So if your current team/league doesn’t work out, or if you want to come to one of our games, let me know. We don’t practice but have games twice a week starting next week. I too, continue to try to hit it out of the park instead of breathing in and letting the ball come to me! See you around –Kate Moriarty

    Posted by Kate Moriarty | May 25, 2012, 1:07 pm

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