I woke up this morning. That’s a good thing. But as I rolled out of bed, I first felt the soreness in my right shoulder. I tried to pinpoint the ache as I used my left hand to massage a spot or two, then I realized the arthritis in my left thumb was acting up and for a split second the pain in my shoulder went away as I quickly grabbed my wrist with my right hand.
I then put both feet on the floor only to receive a shock wave that extended from my toes up to my ankles.
I’m just three weeks away from a trip to Phoenix to compete in the 2009 Men’s Senior League Baseball (MSBL) World Series, and in my mind, I’m faced with the thought: will I be able to run, hit or throw? What’s my problem?
I guess it’s the fact I’m 64 years old and I should put a stop to the idea that I can beat back the clock.
But, awaiting me, in Phoenix, is 3,200 players and 340 teams — and they all have rosters filled with “over the hill” athletes who still play for the love of the game. I have friends who have told me on more than one occassion. “Give it up fool, you’re crazy to play baseball at your age!”
Maybe…just maybe, this will be my last hurrah. My heart doctor shakes his head, but encourages me to persevere. Just 21 months ago I left the hospital after surviving a quadruple bypass. After getting all the morphine and a dozen other medications out of my system, I began to walk around my neighborhood. A month later I began rehab and exactly four months after my heart attack I was back on the field playing baseball.
I recently read an article about the baby boomers generation and how all the ERs across this great country of ours has seen a 47 percent increase in activity from that age group (44–62). I guess I’m considered a late-bloomer at 64, but I’ll add myself to the group…who cares?
Even after writing this article, I’m still committed. I’ll still take the field in October and chances are I’ll meet plenty of players with the same aches and pains as I have. We’ll shake hands after each game and maybe even discuss the reasons why we battle “father time” and all our injuries to play the game we love. Let’s play ball!
Folks! I wrote the above article 12 years ago. I’m just one week away from playing in yet another Men’s Senior Baseball League World Series. This time it’s the 34th annual MSBL WS — my 14th appearance at the prestigous amateur event, and close to 4,000 players are expected to play this year in thirteen different age groups.
I’m at the end of the line as I play in the 73-and-over division.
I turned 76 in July.
We have battled with the coronavirus for another year. Last year less teams showed up for the senior world series. The teams from Australia, Canada and the Virgin Islands stayed away. This year all the teams are back, all converging in Phoenix and will play at all the spring training facilities though out the Valley of the Sun.
As for me, I write or I play baseball. For the next 18 days my focus is on baseball. The championship game is slated for Halloween Day, and rings will be awarded to the winner — just like in the Majors.
Trick or treat!
I have reached my mid 70s now, but I’m still swinging away. I have my daily conversation with Father Time.
“How long can I keep going?” I question. “I have a new pain, somewhere between my head and my feet, what is that all about, or why is it first base seems further away?”
To be honest, I’ve never met Father Time in person, but in my mind I imagine him as a dead ringer for Moses. His voice is pleasant and his lengthy white beard twirls in the breeze. Yet, you get the sense, in the middle of a conversation, that he knows what lies ahead and he knows exactly where I’m headed.
Right now it’s to the ballfield.