I played my first season of slowpitch softball in 1982 and over the last 30 years I put together a nice career that included two league championships and innumerable great memories. But this season had a different feeling about it almost from the start … a dark feeling. Even when my team won, even when I played well, I just wasn’t enjoying myself.
Tonight my team lost in the playoffs and I played poorly. This isn’t how I wanted the season to end, and it certainly isn’t how I wanted my softball career to end. But I think this is what I will live with, because I’m pretty sure I’m done. The game that was so good to me for so long turned into little more than a weekly obligation that took me away from what I really wanted to do: ride the bike. And it introduced what ultimately became an unacceptable risk of injury, sometimes realized. I’m still feeling the effects of a shoulder injury I sustained three weeks ago, and I’m very lucky that it didn’t compromise my cycling ambitions.
It’s kind of funny: I’m abandoning softball for the sake of cycling but originally I got into cycling because of softball. Once I reached my 30s I needed to strengthen my legs to keep playing ball. I was having all sorts of overuse injuries, so in 2003 I bought a mountain bike just to ride around town for a couple of hours per week. The overuse injuries went away and I enjoyed several more productive seasons. And I’m still physically capable, but my heart isn’t in it.
So, if this is it, I leave softball with some pretty solid career statistics. If you read my blog regularly, then you know I love cycling stats. Well, long before I ever turned a pedal in anger, there was softball:
GAMES AT-BATS RUNS HITS RBI 2B 3B HR BATTING AVG.
343 1,026 309 503 309 118 14 25 .490