Monday, July 30, 2007

Finding joy in the pain

Softball is killing me. It wants me to die.

This past weekend I was in Birmingham for a 2-day softball tournament, terrifically fun. I played third base for the tourney, not my normal position, but played my usual aggressive game. My first slide into second saw me called safe and a bit of a burn on my left leg. The second slide (called out) got more of the skin so that I've got some really nice scabby bits now.

Fielding did me no better. When going for a particularly well-hit grounder, it thwacked my so hard on the leg that it not only left me with a bump and a bruise, but also imprinted the pattern of my sock onto my shin. Another grounder bounced up and knocked me on my bicep, leaving another bruise.

I did everything to keep my old body together in order to be able to play two days of softball. I took some paracetamol (acetaminophen) to lessen the stiffness and pain, and went to the treatment tent to get some massage on my troublesome left hamstring and both Achilles tendons. I drank an alternating programme of water and sports drink, like Serena Williams did at Wimbledon, to keep hydrated -- drank so much that I peed about nine times on Saturday. I ate cashews between the second and third games and at the end of the games on Saturday after reading that the Olympic 400m gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes ate them between training sessions to help her recover more quickly. I chewed mint gum cos I also read that it made people not think of the pain as much. And as everyone took up the bevvie after dinner, me and Roomie took to our beds early. And I needed all of it and more.

The pain didn't stop at the weekend, though. Today at training, my knee ached as I crouched, as the catcher behind home plate, where I was hit to the throat by a ball. I don't think that there's any part of my body that hasn't been bruised, battered, crunched or left creaking by softball.

I haven't played since leaving high school and when I stopped, I mourned the loss of playing team sports. For it meant that I would never again be able to experience the best of what it means to play with a group of people: the camaraderie. In the past, I believe I stated that volleyball is my favourite ever sport. But I might need to take that back, and substitute it for softball, the first sport I ever played. This past season of softball -- nay, this past weekend of softball -- has reminded me of the highs, the lows and, ultimately, the joys of playing as a team. A joy which I don't think, truthfully, I've fully experienced while in my volleyball renaissance.

I had never played with the vast majority of the women on my team, but they welcomed me like an old friend. Game by game we began to gel, and with it, our confidence as a team grew, which became a bud of respect, blossoming into a flower of true fondness. Without Zizzy, Roomie (aka Shifty, aka Canuck, aka Wheat Free, aka WiFi), the Captain, Lil Evil and the rest of the ragtag group, I would have easily succumb to the tiredness and pain I felt. Yes, softball was killing me this weekend, but because of them, I (aka the Fortress), was loving it.


Anonymous Amah said...

I'm glad you've rediscovered the joy of team camaraderie.

Don't forget that this Sunday is our conference call. :-P

Thursday, 2 August 2007 at 19:23:00 BST  

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