Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Am Old

Ninety five percent of the people reading this are either going to immediately think "haha yeah he is old" or "man I wish I was 29 he's got another thing coming" but that's not really the point. I've had two experiences in the past week that have saddened me greatly by showing me that my body simply is not capable of what it once once. First, the worst softball game of my life.

I spent the entire 7 inning disaster at my natural position, second base, making a mess of basically everything. I fielded one high chopper cleanly, but that about sums up all the things I did well for the entire affair. A guy smashed a ball directly at me, and I chose to field it cleanly off my left wrist. The ball hit me so squarely that I was able to pick it up and actually make the play at first, with lace impressions already bulging out where those little veins are supposed to be. A little flair got hit behind the first baseman, a ball I should field easily if I can just get on my horse and get there. Oh I got there, but when I reached behind my head to snag it I had slightly over pursued and didn't get my glove open enough and well yeah that didn't work. Another high chopper came up the middle, one that when I was 14 I'd have fielded successfully 100 times in a row. I slid to the right and practically didn't even touch it with my glove. Another easy grounder that I fortunately knocked down, picked up and threw to first turning a routine play into a 3 act circus, was the final act, but occurred after the climax of our show.

Our opponent's lone lefty had smoked his previous two hits between myself and the first basemen, one on the ground, the other at face level. I decided in my infinite wisdom to put on the shift, moving 20 or so feet to my left and backing up 10 or so feet onto the grass. I'm so smart, I said to myself. This asshole is going to hit the ball right at me. Yup, he hit it right at me, right on the ground, right up until the point where it hit the lip of grass between the infield and outfield, at which point it made a beeline directly for my face. A younger, faster, better Jesse would have probably managed to get his glove up to protect himself. The older, slower, worse Jesse simply turned his head in terror, praying not to be knocked unconscious. I took the ball squarely on the right shoulder and basically couldn't lift my arm over my head for the rest of the night. This disaster probably contributed to at least two of the aforementioned errors, but that just shouldn't happen. I played baseball for 10 years, and now all of a sudden I'm Roger Fucking Dorn?

OK fine, so I suck at softball (for the record we lost the game something like 17-4, so it's not like the rest of my team played very well). That's fine, really not a big deal. Most people suck at softball. It hurts a bit because I used to be pretty decent at baseball and at a bare minimum was above average defensively at second base, but whatever. This second part, however, was way worse.

Danielle and I spent most of this weekend camping in the San Giorgino (sp?) mountains, and to make a long story short attempted an 8 mile round trip hike on Saturday morning/afternoon that almost killed me. Strength wise? Fine. Heart/lungs wise, even with the hike STARTING at 6500 feet and ending at 9200? Fine. Back/neck/shoulder wise, carrying something like 120 ounces of fluid, two lunches, and an extra pair of shoes in case we had to cross a creek? Fine.

Knees? Epic. Fucking. Fail. On the way up everything was just hunky dory, with Danielle actually getting a little fatigued and feeling the effects of being at over 9000 feet with a barely 18 hours to get acclimated, but me miraculously feeling fantastic. Then we turned around. Within a mile of starting the outside of my right knee started to burn. By the second mile I was agony with almost every step and was trying to use a walking stick as a sort of crutch to take some of the pounding off my enfeebled joint. By the 3rd mile my left knee was getting in on the act, and the final mile was perhaps the most painful prolonged experience of my entire life. It literally felt like someone was jabbing an ice pick at my knee from the outside edge of my leg every time I took a step down the hill. I cannot believe how much it hurt, and how awful it made me feel about the fact that at 29 walking like a duck (those of you who have met me have probably noticed that my toes point outward at an absurd angle...this trait was useful for the 200 breast stroke, but pretty much a disaster for every other facet of human existence) has finally caught up to me.

So I am old, weak, slow, and degrading. I cannot field ground balls, and I cannot walk downhill. Somebody get the fat lady and tell her to start warming up.


AdamStover01 said...

Sounds like you have tendonitis (which I have had.)

The knee straps are really helpful, actually.

And spinning/quad strengthening can really make your tendons a lot better. I used to have wear a strap for any run over 10 miles, my last marathon was strapless (queue awesome puns.)

Steve said...

I don't think it's age so much as you being out of shape/practice, imo. I would suggest fat as well, but you are pretty good at the don't-eat-so-your-body-atrophies-all-muscles diet.

Billy said...

Sitting at a poker table, knees bent all the time and then taxing them like that is bound to have disastrous results eventually. No excuse for not exercising if you're setting your own schedule...