Monday, July 27, 2015

Pop Goes The Hamstring!

Pop goes the hamstring.

Two days earlier I celebrated my 42nd birthday.

Coming off a pretty majestic fence-clearing blast, my next hit was a solid line drive into the gap. For some, "gap" means double. For Timmy it means least. In full stride, at the half way point, I had already assessed that nothing was going to stop me from scoring.

Pop goes the hamstring.

I gave up my major league dream when I realized I wasn't willing to pursue it with the necessary 100%. Plus I was 38. However, whenever I've stepped foot on any diamond - as a kid, adult or as an adult against kids - I've always given 106%. Minimum. I mean, just because I'm not in The Show doesn't mean I can't put on a show.

Pop goes the hamstring.

I've spent all 33 years of my double-digit life playing some form of "baseball". It's my happy place. As a result, I have a deep love-hate relationship with winter. I hate it because the deep freeze keeps me from a fiery passion and love it because the icy break gives my broken body a chance to heal.

Pop goes the hamstring.

Playing the Grand Old Game has left me injured many times. Although I'm not a doctor (officially) I am convinced there isn't a muscle or joint in my body that hasn't been tweaked, twisted, strained or sprained over the years. But...I have never been to the hospital and I've never, ever, had a game ending "boo-boo".

Pop goes the hamstring.

It is no secret that I have every intention of playing ball for most, if not all, of my 140 years on this planet. In fact, my heart is set on being a senior citizen center fielder who boldly - and correctly - tells the young hot-shot teammates on either side of him to play the lines...and “stay out of my way!”

Pop goes the hamstring.

In sports, even at the highest level, athletes make errors and get hurt. But, at some point in a player's life, elements once recognized as universal "part of the game" realities transform into solely "age-related" phenomenons. At 18, when a ball rolls out of your glove after a great diving attempt it's “Wow. How'd you even get there?” At 36, when the same thing happens, it's “You would have had it when you were 18.” If you pop a hamstring legging out a triple at is an unfortunate fluke. When you pop a hamstring going for third at was a foregone conclusion.

Pop goes the hamstring.

I didn't fall. I didn't scream. I didn't cry. But when I felt it...I knew. Everyone knew. In an attempt to continue, I stood on third base for a few seconds as an inner battle raged. With Wisdom winning a super tight decision over Pride I limped into the dugout. For the first time in my life, I wasn't going to “walk it off” and take the field again. I was heading home...

...but not before I heard this: “Your getting old.”

Believe me. That bothered me WAY more than the pop.

I'm actually okay with the aging process and have zero problems telling people I'm in my 40's. But aging comes with it's own real issues, so don't attribute it to things that aren't age-related. The hamstring pull has proven to be no respecter or age or physical fitness. In fact, joining the Hammy Club has put me in the elite company of some very young major league baseball players who have recently suffered a similar fate. 

Will my recovery time take a little longer because I'm 42? Quite possibly. Should I be more dedicated to an exercise & stretching program because I'm in a 5th decade? Definitely. Am I currently decommissioned because I'm getting old?

No way!

It was an unfortunate fluke...not a foregone conclusion. My leg is resting, iced, compressed & elevated because of one thing: I'm still playing ball incredibly well and hard!

When I pop a hammy while watching TV then we'll talk age. Until then, once I'm healed, I'll keep diving, sliding & laughin' my way to triples.

42 and still putting on a show,

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