At the end of the 2009 softball season (co-ed rec league), I mulled retirement. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that it was time to hang up my cleats.
Truth is I’d been wavering back and forth since the great knee injury of 2006. I was, as usual, playing third base and fielded a sharply hit grounder to my left. As I came up, still running, to throw the ball, my left foot stuck to the ground while my body continued moving to the left. I went down hard after feeling my knee pull apart and snap back together.
My shortstop came over to help me up. I told him to call for an ambulance. I wasn’t going anywhere on my own. Turned out to be a partial tear on my ACL. I got lucky. No surgery. (For the record, I did throw the guy out at first.)
That was the first time I thought about retirement.
But I came back and played first base that fall even though I couldn’t run. I could barely hobble. I’m a glutton for punishment.
I missed the 2008 summer season because I was pregnant but played that fall. We won the league championship. Still, I wondered if I shouldn’t stop. My newborn was my top priority.
Again, I came back for the summer 2009 season. Somewhere along the way, softball stopped being fun. I didn’t enjoy being on the field at all. Even my fun-loving teammates were getting on my last nerve. So that was it. I decided then and there that I was done.
My old team needed a girl for the playoffs on Sunday. I didn’t have anything else going on and the games were early so I said why not, figuring this to be a one-time, good-deal. Plus the weather was great for October.
We sucked big time, losing both games. My fielding wasn’t great, but I was out of practice. I went 1 for 2 with a walk in the first game and 2-4 in the second. There was only one at-bat that wasn’t quality.
Most importantly, I had a blast. I joked with my team and our opponents. I told the outfielders to “Stop playing like Randy Winn and hit the cut-off man” and the pitcher to “Stop pitching like Lohse, we need Wainwright”. That got several chuckles. When one guy on an opposing team came to bat, I shouted “He’s been drinking heavily; get him out.” He shook his head at me with a big grin.
Whatever was missing last summer had return. Softball was fun again. I relished it.
After the game, the manager asked me if I was going to play next year.
I smiled then told him I’d think about it.
I’ve got time.