Thursday, May 5, 2011

Yesterday I Pulled My Groin Muscle, and That's Okay

Our co-ed DC alumni network softball league started up yesterday. Each year alumni from more than 70 schools form teams in the DC area. Divisions are set, new rule clarifications are issued by the league officers – it’s a pretty well organized affair.

Yesterday, we played Bucknell. It’s been three years since I last played on the team, and a lot has changed since I left. Mainly, we got good. Three years ago we barely eked out five wins (out of 20 or so games). Last season Georgia finished seventh in the league.

Two years ago we started acquiring some new talent, including a new pitcher that has special throws for each batter. Keep in mind this is slow pitch softball. I never know you could have throws in slow pitch.

He also hits the ball a mile nearly every time he steps up to the plate. If you couldn’t tell, this guy (named Marieo) is my new hero.

While I’m glad the team has risen so far in the ranks, I was disheartened to learn that when I guy goes off to the Peace Corps to serve his country, he doesn’t retain his place in the batting order like one does his job. Before I had been a solid top five hitter, and how I only merited eleventh place in the order.
My first at bat I swung too hard at the first pitch (a mistake in itself) and knocked a slow moving dribbler that rolled up to the pitcher. Out. End of the inning.

My second at bat I resolved not to swing until the pitcher put at least one strike on the board, forcing me to swing after that (two strikes is an out in our league). First pitch: ball. Second pitch: ball. Third: strike. Time to start swinging. The fourth pitch was pretty good, about waist high over the plate. I made an even swing and knocked a line drive between the shortstop and third baseman. I took my base. Now this is what I remember of softball.

The next batter hit another line drive and as I approached second base, I heard our third base coach telling me to continue on to third. Only I hadn’t given myself the right angle for rounding second, so instead, I tried to step on second and push off the base to begin my progression to third base.

Big mistake. I forgot our bases weren’t anchored to the ground. The base went sliding and my right leg went moving farther from the base of my body. I felt a pain run through my body, made a quick skip, and then hopped my way awkwardly to third base.

Groin pull. It was pretty obvious after stretching it a bit. This had never happened to me. A few teammates asked me if I was alright, and then our coach motioned for someone to sub-in and pinch run for me. I acquiesced.
Since then I’ve found my groin pull to not be such a bad thing. I can still move forward and back without too much pain – just a little discomfort. I get to make a joke when girls at the game asked me if I was okay, like “can you help me with this? I just need to warm it up a bit.”

I have an excuse for ambling along now, whereas before I would just be seen as a lollygagger.

Lesson Learned: Groin pull = acceptable excuse for lollygagging

Walking like a pirate or cowboy is enjoyable. I even find myself hoping this groin pull sticks around a few more days.

In the last inning we were down by two runs, and with one out we came to Marieo in the lineup. We knew the pressure was on him a little bit because he’d only hit one home run on the day (he usually hits home runs almost every time). He tightened his gloves and stepped up to bat. After letting a couple of balls pass him by, he let loose a massive cut and sent the ball rocketing over the center fielder. I think she was still running when Marieo crossed home plate. Georgia wins. A groin is pulled. Lollygagging is acceptable. All is right in the world.

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