On Day Five, I ate a delicious supper. J-M helped me choose Fridays as the day of the week I would eat during my fast because that’s the day we pretend we’re athletes by participating in a Christian baseball house league. I need all the sustenance I can get to keep up the act.
Let me first say that I have not played baseball competitively since Grade 8. I have not played baseball recreationally since I was 18. On Friday, I was trying to play like I hadn’t missed the last 20 years of practice. I swung the bat furiously, threw the ball energetically, sprinted around the bases zealously. By the third inning, my body started rebelling.
I was pitcher in the fourth inning because I have no idea why. I’d been able to load the bases like a pro. The pressure was on. When the next batter got up to bat, you can imagine I was getting desperate for an out. The batter was hungry and swung at what was clearly not even close to the plate. The ball, skimmed by the bat, came skidding toward me. I lunged at it with every ounce of energy I had. In that moment, I felt a rip in my thigh, but it was so much more important to me to snag the ball and get the batter out. I limp-dashed toward first base and tossed it for the out. Woohoo! I was in major pain, but did you see? Did you see? I GOT THE BATTER OUT.
When I doddered to bat at the bottom of the inning, the umpire asked if I need a runner. Cha-right! I swung furiously but got just a piece of the ball; it remained within reach of the infield. I pumped it to first base like a maniac (not unlike my sprint at KLM airport) and felt the kind of pain the shoots through your body and catches your breath. In that moment, all my brain would say it, YOU ARE NOT 18! NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!
My sister, who is a coach and phys. ed. teacher tells me that this is called Weekend Warrior Syndrome. I thought it sounded pretty cool until she defined it. When people over the age of 35 engage in sports just once a week, without stretching or regular exercise, they often have muscle injury, like pulls, tears, sprains. I am a Weekend Warrior and it is nothing to be proud of. She suggested I ice the injury for 24 hours, take it easy for a couple weeks and start building my exercise regime during the week.
In another story, J-M pulled his groin crossing the street. He’s not 18 either.
That night, we lay in bed with ice packs on our parts, looked at each other and asked, This? THIS is what we’ve come to?