That would be as in "Disabled List," not "Down Low."
Little about me is on the Down Low.
So Saturday was softball, two games against the Noreasters. We were playing at the fields on Pier 40, the mammoth pier that I always thought was just a parking garage on the Hudson River at the end of Houston Street.
First stop that day was to pay a visit on Bruiser. He has a new apartment and wants to do some painting, and needed some painting advice. His apartment, a duplex, kicks ass. Great space, and he's picked out some good colors. With a two story space, it's gonna be tricky to do the painting, but not impossible. After the painting consult, we took a cab across town. I stopped in to visit with his place of employment, where I've dropped a lot of money over the years, then I grabbed an iced latté and headed to the grass pier at the end of Christopher Street. After taking some sun, I headed down the walkway to Pier 40.
With No Idea about the ordeal that awaited!
Pier 40 is an amazing space, a big industrial box with astroturf covered fields in the middle. But it's not ideal. The three-tiered parking garage that skirts the pier means that nary a breeze off the surrounding Hudson River reaches you, and the astro-turf reflects the heat. So the fields were broiling.
The first game we were shut out. First time ever. Only once did one of our guys manage to make it to third base. They used a short outfielder as their defensive strategy, and Man! Did that ever work well for them. I was on the bench for the first game, so I only had to watch the grueling defeat, and not participate in it.
After a fifteen minute break, we started in on the second game. I was catching (Yay! I have embraced catching). We took the lead early on, and did a not too bad job at holding them with a couple of scoreless innings. And our pitcher/manager did some brilliant strategy, walking a batter to load up the bases so we could get a forced out at any base to end the inning. And it worked! Of course, if it hadn't, and they had gotten a grand slam or something,
I had two at bats. Both of my hits were lame (what the hell??? I'm doing pretty good at my weekly trips down to the batting cages! Just one good hit. That's all I ask. Is that too much to ask?), but I got on base both times thanks to my amazing speed. The first time, I was stranded on base. The second time, the Noreasters had managed to overtake us and take the lead. I got on first, advanced to second, and then, when the next batter got a good solid hit, I headed for third, and there was the third base coach waving me on to home, so I kept on going. But ahead of me, I saw the Noreasters' catcher crouching, looking to get thrown the ball and tag me out!
I gave it everything I had, and heard that awful squish and felt that Ow! in my left leg. Which didn't slow me down at all, and coming across the plate, I was the tying run. And it really hurt. I had torn a hamstring.
I bore up as best I could, and maybe I did too good a job at that, because I got No Sympathy Whatsoever! The focus of my team mates was on the game, of course, rather than on whiny old me, so I can't say that I blame them. Although there was an awkward moment when the inning was over and I told the other guy who catches for us that there was no way that I could do that. This was not Game II of the World Series, and I am not Curt Schilling.
And see what a good job I've been doing at manning up and dealing with the excruciating pain I was feeling? Billy, the other catcher, was like, "Uh... Why?"
But he headed out.
We managed to hold them scoreless, so we were going into the last inning with a tie score. (It just wouldn't be the Ball Breakers without drama like that, huh?)
I came up in the batting order again. When I was on deck, I limped over to Diana our manager and Softball Rules Maven and said, "I don't know that I can do my at bat."
Diana, concerned, explained that I was in the batting order, so it would be an automatic out.
I had an image of myself lunging and screaming running to first, possibly doing considerably more damage to my leg than I had done already.
But then, none other than Norsky Bear got a great hit, and Papa came running from second to win the game for the Ball Breakers when he crossed home. And I didn't have to bat. Game over. We won.
Okay! Time to pack up my gear, change out of my cleats back to my boots, and head to my car. That only took a couple of hours.
It was my fond hope that a good night's sleep would do wonders for my poor hurtin' leg. On Sunday, I was meeting up with the one and only Leather Egg after years and years and years of us bumping up against each other in one internet forum or another--we're talking way back in the AOL days. He was down here in Bucks county for a get together with bunches of his friends from college. Leather Egg proposed that we meet up in New Hope, but I was able to disabuse him of that notion. There is very little that can compel me to battle the crowds and spend hours looking for parking in New Hope on a summer Sunday, especially when Doylestown is a mere nine miles up the road.
I got up early--a good thing, since it took me a good ten minutes of wincing strategizing to get my boots on. And standing in the shower with the water hitting the back of my thigh felt so good that I didn't want to let go of it. And for a good half an hour, I just didn't.
Leather Egg and I met up at Starbucks in Doylestown--like you didn't see that coming, huh?--and headed across the street to Basically Burgers to get some chow. I was challenged to go beyond the 1/2 pould burger I usually get to go for a one pound hamburger feast. So yeah sure, I'm in. It was good, but I had to call it quits at the 7/8th of a pound burger. Then, probably looking not unlike Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy, Leather Egg and I wandered up the hill to check out the Mercer Museum, then back to Starbucks for iced lattés and a sampling of some cigars (maduro robusto... how did he know???) that Leather Egg had brought along with him. Uhhh... Aged maduro robustos. I tend not to do the whole self denial thing when it comes to cigars, but I have never had cigars as wonderful as these. And I got the last few in the box as a gift.
So today, two days later, my hamstrings still hurt like hell. It feels a little bit better, but I know from experience that torn muscles can take a while to heal.
But of course, in the mean time, I get the great experience of having people ask me, "Oh gosh! What happened?" and me get to give a brave smile and grunt out the answer, "Pulled a hamstring playing softball."