OK folks, I made my softball debut last night and I will be the first to admit, it was NOT pretty. Growing up I loved to play softball & baseball almost daily. I never claimed to be good at the game, average at my best, which was seldom..lol. I had not played softball in well over five years and even then I played only one or two games that were really just for "fun". I don’t think we even kept score. At the beginning of the season Thomas had ask me if I wanted to play & I declined due to my physical disability, but faithfully tried to make each game to cheer our guys on. As many of you know I have a condition called "ankylosing spondylitis (AS)" in the advanced stages. Most people do not know what AS really is. It is a genetically acquired, progressive, autoimmune disease that attacks the spine, joints, & organs. As the disease progresses joints and the spine fuse together causing loss of mobility, constant pain, severe fatigue, pain, inflammation in the organs and joints (severe arthritis) and did I mention pain. My hips and pelvis as of three years ago were already partially fused making it very hard and painful to bend, walk, stretch and run. Falls can be hard and breakage can occur easily. Nevertheless the more I watched the more I wanted to play. I love to compete and over the years have really learned to play games such as softball for the fun. Yes winning is awesome, but I was so competitive, that I took the fun out of games for everyone, myself included! Anyway, last night for me was "AWESOME". I had a great time & loads of fun. Unfortunately I was unable to help our team much. The first time the ball was hit my way (in the right outfield), I ran as fast as I could (granted it was not very fast or pretty and probably looked a bit humorous to any one watching) and made a heroic effort to catch the ball. I actually kinda dove and fell at the same time much to the horror of my concerned wife and others and….. missed the ball. My team mates and the faithful cheering section (God bless them all) were very concerned that I hurt myself. I was laughing the whole time and thinking WOW what a rush & dang I should of caught that. I’m sure the dive/fall looked very graceful. I did thank my wife for not going into panic mode and rushing the field screaming hysterically. When I came up to bat I was a little nervous to say the least. First pitch …ball. Second pitch…strike. Third pitch…swing & a miss. Fourth pitch, I caught a piece of the ball…for an impressive third strike…I’m OUT….bummer. The next inning the other team had it all figured out. Hit it to right field, the guy can’t run fast and can barely stay on his feet. I did OK on a few plays eventually getting to the ball and not throwing it 6 feet above or to the right or left of whomever I was throwing it to. There was a real nice easy fly ball coming my way, I ran, hobbled, or whatever you care to call it, to the ball, got under it (well next to it) put my glove up, said a quick prayer, took my eye off of the ball for just a split second (I know ALWAYS watch the ball THROUGH the catch), and it glanced off the top of my glove and bounced behind me. My next at bat was better. I actually hit the ball (to the third baseman I think), I exploded in an amazing exhibition of speed that would make most Olympic sprinters jealous to first base. Actually, It was more like a three legged turtle speeding to first base. I made it to the base and was safe, but that is because the play for the other team was at second base and unfortunately our third out. The other team continued to attempt to hit the ball my way for obvious reasons making many of my team mates angry, not at me, but at the other team. Lets face it, this is church softball, and the other team was already solidly winning the game and we were a player short also. It is not like there was money involved, or careers at stake. Winning is great, everyone likes to win, nobody enjoys losing, but this is church softball, Christians competing against Christians. I am so proud of the guys on Newpoint’s softball team. They play to win, but for the most part as far as I can tell, they are having fun, keeping the game in its proper perspective and most importantly representing Christ and our church in a way that we can be proud of.
THANK YOU for allowing me to play! I had an awesome time! Everyone there was extremely supportive towards me, when it would have been easy to point out my glaring lack of ability. A specials thanks to everyone that cheered me on, especially my wife & two daughters. Everybody’s attitude and support really helped me over look the mistakes I made and have a GREAT time. Pastor Ryan jokingly said I should be the MVP. I think that stands for "Most Vulnerable Player"…lol. You guys are winners in my book because you keep Christ first. The important records are not win/losses on the softball field, but how you represent Christ in those wins and losses.
Yes, I AM SORE TODAY! I may try to be on the team next year as long as everyone understands that I do not have to be played unless we don’t have enough guys, or are so far ahead that we can’t lose. Brenda says it is OK as long as I do not dive for any more balls and do NOT wear those black & HOT pink striped pants, but I can get striped socks like Mitch wears (they are awesome)!