Sunday, August 7, 2016

If you can't be an athlete...

For the last few weeks, I've been trying to educate my friend Molly as she's worked to inform Angie's List about our annual softball tournament. There are a ton more people who do not play softball than there are those who agree to, and I among those who agree to but shouldn't.

And if there were more of a choice, I'm sure I'd be relegated quickly to the cheer squad. But the cheer squad is important, as the mission of the softball tournament is to raise money for the AL Foundation, which helps a ton of great nonprofits in our corporate neighborhood.

Molly resisted my efforts to use what I thought was a perfect line -- the school announcer from Rydell High: "If you can't be an athlete, be an athletic supporter." I chuckled every time I encouraged Molly to put it into an internal communique.

Sadly, Molly is more sophisticated than I am. And the lack of that phrase didn't curb our efforts. We missed our goal of raising $45,000 by less than $3K.

Though happy at the donations, I am still in recovery from the tournament. Our team started incredibly strong because it was stacked mostly with Kelsey Taylor's family, some other men who were high school standouts, and Jeff Reed in his second annual tour as pitcher. We had a few injuries and after my first few good plays, I rapidly descended to perform at the level of a 52-year-old person who plays softball once a year.

It occurred to me about six hours in that I was terribly misplaced. One of our guys was talking about how he'd been with his girlfriend for 12 years but at 24, he was just not ready for marriage. I opted not to tell him that college romances, let alone middle school, don't count. I was too busy reeling from the idea that I had almost three decades of living on him. How that happened, I just don't know.

It seemed like yesterday that I was playing softball at least once a week. Kind of terribly. But still. I could run the bases and make outs. So yeah. I need a new team. A geezer league. Jeff, who actually does still play regularly, didn't seem to suffer as much as I did.

We played from around 6 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday. By the time I crawled into our tent, I was filthy, stinky, sore and blinded by my need to sleep. Jeff stayed up a while, he said. He could have been in there with me for all I knew. Once I got prone, I was dead to the world.

Alison, who'd had plans on the West Side and thus had to camp out with us, didn't watch us play. She walked around a bit and chatted with folks but then couldn't resist the lure of her new Harry Potter book. She finished it before we finished our games.

Earlier in the week -- her last full week off before school starts -- saw her building Camp Kick Ass in our living room and then blowing up a bunch of balloons and stuffing them in my shower. Jeff and I took them out when she was distracted and put them in her bedroom. I came home to find them in my bathroom. They're in my bathtub now and I'm debating finding the energy to stuff them in her tub.

We had a very short visit from Uncle Peter and Alison's favorite cousin, Nicodemus. Peter and Jen are planning a Harley Davidson trip to Sturgis, South Dakota. He's driving  out and she will fly to meet him. The only think I know about Sturgis is my sister, Debbie, on a similar trip, was struck by lightning and made the local paper.

Tomorrow is the annual Ali and Mom day-before-school extravaganza. I'm glad I had Saturday and Sunday to prepare. We don't have a plan yet, and I'm a little worried that our day out will be interrupted by the Olympics.

Since she was able to escape him, Alison has not been a committed sports fan. She used to watch the Red Sox with Jeff and she created a great painting once that had the Yankees descending into hell. But for a long time, sports have not been a focal point.

This morning, as I cleaned cars, she crawled into bed with Jeff and the of them stayed there until late afternoon watching various Olympic events. I'm sure the neighbors could hear them cheering and gasping and calling out "No!" and "Yeah!" and wincing out loud.

I wandered in for the end of women's cycling and was crushed right along with them when Mara Abbott lost her lead and finished fourth. 

Regardless of the outcomes, the captain was in heaven. She begged him to have Sunday dinner downstairs so they could keep watching. I'm not sure what happened to cause this sudden fascination with sports, but it's been fun to listen to them.

Just before dinner, they relocated from our bedroom to the family room downstairs and she took on a less active couch potato role. But he was still beaming.

Despite my aching everything, I'd have to say that life is good today.

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