Okay, Okay, I play a lot of Baseball, what can I say I love the sport.
Technically it’s Softball I wholeheartedly throw myself into. But it’s not the typical Beer League Slow-Pitch you may have played or even heard of. We aren’t your regular beer swilling ball players. Yes, we drink beer (a lot of beer) but we also play at an extremely competitive level.
We don’t wear jeans or jean shorts and most of the girls I play with (including myself) can throw a guy out at two from the outfield. We dive, slide or stand in front a ball hit 100 miles an hour using whatever part of our body we can to make the play. It may sound crazy to the regular people, the one’s that see us after a ball tournament tattered, scraped and bruised. (In my case usually broken, stitched or sprained.) But to us softball players it is a way of life. We give all we have, leave every bit of ourselves on the field after each inning. Without heart, there is no game. I believe that of everything I do.
I have thrown a ball as hard as I can, from the moment my first coach placed a hardball in my hand. Something clicked inside me, and I fell deeply in love with the sport. I play this game hard; I give everything I have to make a play for the other nine players that stand with me as a team. We all do.
This past weekend
my team my family went to Nationals. I say, family, because these people pick you up when you are down. My team family did just that for me this weekend.
Nationals, like other competitive tournaments, brings out the animal in most ball players. So much to the point the energy rages throughout the dugout. A team of caged monkeys if you will. I have played ball for over 35 years, and there is no better feeling than that butterfly stomach I get before each game. It makes me feel alive, ready and willing to do anything for my team. This past weekend like every other tournament before it. I stood ready, nerves and all, to win the gold.
Then it happened.
First inning, fourth batter, a fucking lefty.
Standing on first base, I was ready. With a crack of the bat, the ball comes hard down the line. I get set, my instincts kick in, I’ve got this. It’s a hard one hopper. I put my glove down as the ball hits the ground I have less than a second as it bounces up towards my face. I block it with my bare hand.
Saving myself from possible dental surgery.
Always save your face
As the ball deflects off my thumb and flies into right-field, I feel the initial pain but am not worried. I have been hit hard before. The runner advances to two as my second baseman picks up the ball. My only thoughts are: fuck; I should have had that. I should have taken the short hop. As the play comes to an end, and I get set for the next batter, I look down at my thumb, just to make sure it isn’t too badly bruised.
My thumb, not bruised, but split open. I say to my pitcher “I just need a minute.” For those of you that don’t know, you can not stand on the field if you show any blood. So my thoughts were to go get some tape and cover it up. Unfortunately, a couple of teammates took a good look at my injury and quickly realized, I would need more than just tape. Stitches were a definite, and after I too looked much closer at my injury, I realized you could see right down into the muscle.
Shit! We only have ten players; I have to play the rest of the game
Taped up and willing to do whatever I could for my team I stood on the field ready to play. The next seven innings were tough, batting with an almost severed thumb is not a task I hope any of you ever have to endure.
At the end of the game, knowing full well I would need to go to the hospital. The ever supportive Tweeder #55 did as many others have and dragged his ass along with me. (Thank you, Sweetie, love you) The hospital had a five-hour wait, and every clinic in town was not taking patients. After speaking with my coach and only having a three-hour window until the next game. I decided the best thing for my team would be to play the next game. I would get my stitches after. (In Nationals if you forfeit one game, you forfeit the entire tournament, I could not do that to my team.)
The next game my team rallied together. As we stood in our pre-game circle, my family said let’s do this for Darla. (Tears, I did not show because – there is no crying in baseball.) We won that game and went on to play six more games. Through adversity is what makes a team become a family.
After that game back to the hospital I went. At this point and after playing two games in pain as well as the heat of 44 Degrees Celsius (112 degrees Fahrenheit) I started to become weak, almost passing out while waiting to be admitted. That got me in relatively quick, apparently passing out is the best way to get to triage, just a quick PSA.
The doctor put me in a soft cast after a stinging like-hell-on-earth needle full of lidocaine, an x-ray and a bunch of stitches. I’m reasonably sure this was done to deter me from playing any more games.
It. Did. Not.
Don’t worry, I didn’t actually play, I ran a couple of times. One time, I might add, gave us the tie in our Bronze winning game. I slid and ripped my leg open and did what I had to for my team. It is what I do.
So if you ever wonder, why I am out there, getting broken or bruised it is because I do this with my whole heart. I leave every bit of me on that field, every time I play.
I play for the love of the game.
Don’t get me wrong, I do get hurt more often than others, and there are some strange circumstances in which my injuries have occurred. But I will forever stand on the field, thumb hanging off or not, to make my team proud. They are my family, and I am lucky to have them.
I will leave you with just some pictures of my ball injuries.