Last night, in 45 degree weather, I sat behind homeplate watching my daughter's softball team bring home a win - their second of the season. Softball brings her this great amount of joy. Not only does she love to see her friends a few nights a week, but she also loves learning about this game. In years past it hasn't been like this. She was a decent hitter, but not great in the fundamentals department. She liked playing but it wasn't her favorite thing to do. Lately her love of the game has been radiating from her fingertips.
For me it is quite the opposite. This year marks my 26 years in the game; I have been playing since I was 5. I was practically born on a diamond. While my three older brothers played baseball, I was dragged from field to field, with a layer of dirt covering every inch of my skin, and a small bag containing Matchbox cars and a shovel.
The ball fields have been my second home as long as I can remember. '
And I love being there. I love eating horrible, highly-caloric foods. I love sitting on the bleachers for so long that I can't stand up straight afterward. I love listening to the coaches acting like this is the ALCU championship game when in fact it is a recreational league and you win a free trophy that was Made in China for .01 cent. I love when it is 45 degrees outside, I am swathed in a blanket, yet somehow I get completely sunburned. The sights, the attractions, the foul balls, the popcorn, the bright lights... I love all of it. With the exception of the "playing" part.
Over the last few years, softball has become a chore instead of a love. When it is rainy out, I become super excited that maybe my games will get cancelled. When it is a holiday and we are off that weekend, I do mental cartwheels because I don't have to go to ball. This is exactly how I know that I am done playing on leagues. When it stops becoming fun there is a problem. I suppose the same could go for realtionships, but that sounds like a topic I could blog about all on it's own. I have just recognized the probelm early on and decided not to beat a dead horse.
I am going to retire from softball.
Not like I will get some kind of pension from it or cash out my 401K, but I will hang up my cleats and stick to watching ball and coaching my daughter - who is becoming an good little ball player. I am proud of my daughter. She has that spark that I seemed to have lost.
And I am okay with having lost it. I still love the game. I love being knowledgable, rooting for the Tigers, and playing catch in the yard or hitting grounders to her in an attempt to improve her fundamentals. Even drawing maps of diamonds on computer paper and explaining to her "turning two" or why an out was forced or not. Baseball is in my blood and I am certain it will be until I die. My love for the game hasn't gone anywhere.
My love for playing the game, however, has been dragged out back and slaughtered.