Just when I thought I was out, it pulled me back in.
As you will see to the right of my beautiful mugshot and my masterful column this week, Tuesday night I ventured out to the First Assembly Church of God softball field for a story about the Sikeston Church Softball League.
I took part in a full season of the men's league last year which I've got to say was a lot of fun. But, trying to balance my duties as a sports writer and becoming the best thing to ever happen to softball since Jennie Finch, I had to hang up my cleats and store away the magnet that was my glove and put an end to my short, but legendary softball career.
So, Tuesday night was my first trip out to the old ball field since I was part of a team. With camera in my hand and recorder in my pocket, the only thing I was supposed to scoop was a story. Not a hot-shot down the line.
As members of my former team began to arrive, I caught notice that they were going to be one player short. Now remember, I was there to take pictures of an actual game being played and having a shortage of players meant a forfeit would be the only option.
So being the team player that I am for the Standard Democrat and the ball team, I trudged on out to my old position at third base and offered my services for the good of the team and my career.
I started out with a bang, a boom and a pow in my very first at-bat. Watching the first pitch go by for a ball, I knew I was going to get something decent to hit the second pitch. It happened to be a low-lining pitch that was sure to be called a strike. With my tongue wagging and waiting for the fattest pitch ever to be thrown in softball, apparently that low-liner was a bit lower than I imagined. My bat, as well as my dignity, swung right over the top of it.
I had swung and missed in slow pitch softball.
With an embarrassing stroll out of the batter's box to pick up the remaining pieces of my pride, I begrudgingly dug back in and took another pitch. This time I surprisingly made contact. But, being the legend of a softball player that I am, I fell to one knee after just one step towards first base. Apparently, your foot has to go over and across that thing they call home plate to advance further on the journey to first base.
Maybe the real reasons of me quitting the first time are finally starting to reveal themselves.
Thankfully, there wasn't a ball hit to me in the infield all night. I showed my rust in that department during the later innings when, finally, a ball was actually thrown my way and it bounced right off the web of my glove and onto the dirt. It could have been the third out. Amazingly, it didn't come back to hurt the club.
See, what had happened, I was using an unfamiliar glove, I had street clothes on, no cleats, the sun was in my eyes, the cars driving by were too loud, I was hungry, the ball was too yellow for my taste and the wind was blowing.
Are those enough excuses for me to get out of a dropped ball?
Heading to the field I never thought I'd be playing. I just showed up with a camera and recorder. So, unless I was going to shoot a few pictures of a screaming line drive and then follow the runner around the bases while doing an interview, I wasn't going to see the field.
And although we lost, I couldn't hit, I couldn't run standing up and I couldn't catch a cold, I'd say it was a lot of fun. It was good to get back on the field again and at least I may have sweated out a few pounds while doing it. Probably not, but, one can dream can't he?
I may have gotten my work clothes dirty, my tennis shoes dusty and about 96% of my confidence busted in just one hour, but that's what being involved with sports does to you. You live and you learn and then you learn to say no, even if your story or your friends depend on you.
I still can't believe I fell down.