I'm still in one piece ... although many of my pieces are sore this morning.
I didn't completely embarrass myself; I only partially embarrassed myself.
And I really like my teammates.
So went my first 12-inch softball game in 18 years.
Since moving to Charlotte in August 2010, I'd been looking for an outlet to suit both my competitive nature and my male-bonding instincts. I finally found one: the city's 45-and-over softball league.
The season opened last night, and I played second base and batted eighth for the Blue Thunder.
The last time I had played softball -- not counting the half-dozen or so games of the 16-inch variety I had played during my Chicago years -- I was living in the Twin Cities suburb of Apple Valley back in the summer of 1994. I was 33, and I was one of the team's older players.
Now I'm 51 -- and I am one of the team's youngsters. Pretty funny.
Despite our 19-12 loss to the Maroon Platoon, I really did enjoy it ... when I wasn't losing a pop-up in the lights and grounding out with two on in the fifth inning with us desperately trying to come back.
Other than the aforementioned pop-up humiliation, I handled my position fine. I took one hard grounder off my chin but kept the ball in front of me and made the play, grabbed a few easier grounders and almost turned a double play.
I also forgot to go out to right field for the cut-off throw once and, on another occasion, didn't cover second base when I should have.
At the plate, I was 1-for-3, with a single up the middle and two groundouts. I would have beaten out the fifth-inning grounder for a hit but we had runners on first and second, so the third baseman was able to scramble to the bag and just barely get the out. I scored a run and had an RBI.
My teammates, guys whom I just met a couple of weeks ago, were extremely supportive when I screwed up ... as was I when they did. I was hardly alone in the mess-up department, which is why we allowed 19 runs.
We hit the ball pretty well, though, scored a dozen runs and made some really nice plays. I definitely see potential for a pretty good team.
As important, several guys promised they'd be willing to grab a drink and/or bite after future games. I mean, if softball isn't a social venture, why bother, right?