I feel like an old man when I move

These weeks of activity are taking their toll on my body. As I take stock of my parts, I realize that there are more that hurt than don’t. There’s the left ankle, which I believe may be sprained from bad cleats and twisting. I have remnants of a blood blister on a right toe. My big toenails are almost done growing back in after the skiing incident in November. The left shin is mostly healed, but still a little sensitive from an intersection with a softball. The backs of the knees hurt a lot when I move them after staying still for a while, and they really don’t like twisting. My hip joints don’t particularly like it after I run for a while. My elbows are scabbed from a collision in softball. I’ve got bruises on my hands and wrists from ultimate frisbee, and my left thumb just doesn’t feel normal after some pretty nasty catches of the softball.

Yes, I’m complaining, and I’m even considering seeking medical attention for the ankle and thumb. Last week I took it very easy with the sports in an attempt to recover, but I think it might take a while for some of these problems. Anyway, I’m still having fun doing all the things I do, so I’ll keep an eye on my anatomy and try not to do any permanent damage.

Double or nothing? Nah

I had another softball game today. If you haven’t read “I win beer” yet, go read that one first. Then continue on to the next paragraph.

After last week’s performance, as I step up to bat for the first time today I ask the coach if it’s a standing offer with a case of beer for every home run. Not wanting to sustain more losses, she refuses, but then says ‘double or nothing.’ A tempting idea indeed. If I hit another home run, I get two cases of beer. If I don’t hit a home run, I get nothing. I had intended to give the beer to the team anyway, so it wasn’t really a decision that was about me. Realizing the chances of getting a second consecutive home run were slim, I decided not to take the bet and stick with the single case.

I should have taken the bet. The pitcher was throwing all over the place, so it took a couple throws before I had one I liked. I swung, and it felt good. Straight over first base but closer than the right fielder. My favorite pocket of grass. I didn’t have to run as hard this time, and there wasn’t anybody trying to stop me at the home plate. It was a clean home run. Too bad there wasn’t anybody else on base for me to bring in, though. My home run was worth just one point.

It was a good game, and we emerged victorious in the end. Our first win. We have definitely been pulling together as a team. We had a couple double plays, some nice catches, good communication, great hits. The next time I was at bat I tried the same thing but ended up with a foul ball just outside of right field, so the outfield shifted to close up my hole. I had to change tactics, so I hit a line drive through the pitcher and got just a base run. They were on to me and my strategy, so I had to practice hitting to other areas of the field. I still get a little excited every time I look at where I want to hit the ball and then hit it exactly where I intend.

After the game we went out for celebratory drinks at the local bar. The rest of the season is going to be a lot of fun.

I Win Beer

It was almost perfectly scripted. We’re playing softball, and it’s our last turn at bat. We’re down a bit, and there is almost no way of catching up, but we are still in good spirits. The team captain had promised a case of beer to someone if he had hit a home run, so I ask her for the same deal as I prepare to go up to bat. She agrees, and as I walk out to the plate I verify. The first pitch is long and inside, but the second suits me well. I swing a little late, but it ends up for the better; it slices right between the first baseman and the foul line, low and fast. By the time I round first, nobody’s there yet, so I head for second. I usually have no problems making it to second, so this wasn’t unusual for me. But as I make it to the base, I hear yelling, and it’s not the “stay there” kind. I pick up speed and head for third. By the time I hit third I’m thinking about my beer more than whether I can make it home safely, so I don’t even look at where the ball is. I think I hear people saying go home, which only supports my resolution. As I make the final feet I see the ball coming in to home, and a small Asian lady crouched and poised on the plate to catch it. In my final steps I manage to tag the base, but instead of plowing into her I opt to instead roll over her in a move that leaves me very dirty and scratched up, but leaves her in great shape. I stand up, begin to dust myself off, point to the captain, and with a big smile say “You owe me beer!”

The spirit of the game

I went to my first ultimate frisbee tournament this weekend. Left on Saturday morning to go up to Wenatchee for The Hot Apple Tournament (THAT). Our first game was in the rain, but we were all good-natured. We lost, but the game and the other team were just so much fun that it didn’t matter. That’s the thing that’s so cool about ultimate; ‘the spirit of the game’ is a strong part of the sport, so everything is really relaxed and friendly. There are no umpires and disputes are mediated in a friendly manner. You can introduce yourself to your defender and strike up conversations on the sideline. Of course it’s competitive and we want to win, but it’s all about having a good time, too. After each game both teams give the other team a cheer, which can be a poem or song whose lyrics have been changed, or a miniature friendly game like tag or dodge disc (dodgeball with big foam discs).

Our second game was a horrible defeat, made worse by the opponent’s seeming lack of effort. The third game we barely won, but they were a fun group to play. Our fourth game was a challenge, and it wasn’t until halftime that we discovered a strategy that successfully defended their deep throws. Unfortunately, we discovered it too late. We went out to dinner afterwards, and then to the camp site. After getting appropriately buzzed, we headed over to the lodge for the main festivities. I stayed late dancing, even after the rest of my team had left. At bars I feel very uncomfortable being alone on a dance floor. Here everyone was so friendly and inclusive that I had no problems making friends and dancing with everyone else.

Sunday we were all sore. To make matters worse, we were stuck on a small field with poor drainage. Massive bogs occupied significant chunks of the field, and the smell indicated that it probably wasn’t just water from the sprinklers. We barely lost the game, but had a good time anyway. We should have had a bye, but the other team we were to play wanted to leave early, too, so we found a nearby field and played a short game. Oddly, it was the best field we’d played on at the tournament. It was a good friendly game, and the weather, though drizzly, was not unpleasant. It, too, was close, but fun. Afterwards we went to Rusty Burger (an unknown but extremely popular local burger joint), then drove home.

I had a great time. Everyone was friendly, most people were my age and chill, I got to score a few times and play as much as I wanted, and I learned a lot about ultimate frisbee strategy. I’ll be a while in recovery, but it was worth it.

ow ow ow

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been playing racquetball on tuesdays and thursdays with friends. It’s a great workout, but it can get a little rough sometimes. Now that the weather is getting better, I’m starting to do more outdoor sports. My weekly schedule is now packed with after-work sports:

Mondays: Disc golf
Tuesdays: Racquetball
Wednesdays: Ultimate Frisbee
Thursdays: Racquetball

This was the first week of the full regimen, and it sure took a toll on me. I’ve got a patch of raw skin on my throwing hand from disc golf where the disc rests. That’ll stay raw until it becomes calloused. I bring bandaids to disc golf in case it breaks and starts bleeding.

Tuesday got a little rough with the racquetball, and I took a racquet to the mouth, resulting in a little blood. That started a spiral of suckiness from which I could not escape that night.

Wednesday at ultimate frisbee was the first time I had run long distances for an extended duration. I played better than I expected, but without cleats I slipped a few times and landed less than perfectly on an elbow.

Today I was sore all day from running the day before. It hurt to stand up. But I played racquetball anyway. It was the least painful workout all week, and unless I go dancing tomorrow night, I think I’m done exercising until next week.