Strawberries, and not the kind you want to eat

 

Last Wednesday, my first-ever full season of men’s league slowpitch softball ended. It was a blast, especially once I figured out how to really hit the thing. I guess that’s one upside of a failed baseball career. You get really good at softball. 

My team was in the D League out, where there were leagues A, B, C, D, Open, and Church. We won our league tournament pretty handily, putting us in the city tournament, where we competed against the best men’s softball teams Wilmington has to offer. And man, that was fun. To some guys, softball is everything, and to a lot of those guys, it becomes a source of great pride. You could see it in the teams we were playing. That swagger, that sneer, that “Yeah, we’re about to kill you guys” look. 

And then we killed them. 

Our team was good but not great. There were three of us that could really crush the ball on a consistent basis, and the rest of the guys were solid. When we had a bad night, we had a BAD night. But for some reason, in the city tournament, we played awesome. 

Games are ended after an hour. That’s the time limit. First game of the tournament, though, we played for two hours. Extra innings, against a B League team. In softball, it’s a lot about defense, sure, but mostly about offense. I think there were 50 total runs scored that game, a game we ended up losing in like the fifteenth inning. Can’t remember how many there were, but it was something like that. 

Then we managed to survive until last Tuesday’s game. We were playing the cockiest teams yet. I was fired up. I don’t really show it too much, because I’m not a real big cheerleading type, but man, I love beating cocky guys. We won our first game, so we had to turn around and play again immediately, and then we killed that team, too. We scored 45 runs total in those two games, 15-run-ruling one team and 10-run-ruling the other. Couldn’t believe how well we played. And I almost couldn’t believe how much I wanted to win. 

All of that to say, in my second at-bat of the second game, I hit a line drive into left field. The guy was playing pretty deep, so there was no way it was getting past him, but I saw him lollygag in to get it. So I took off for second. If the throw was to the right, so I dove to the left, maybe the only time I’ve ever slid out there. I was safe, and I scored on the next hit. 

But I gashed my knee open good. Got me a real nice strawberry. One of the biggest ones ever. 

Now, a week later, it still affects my life. It still makes me walk differently, makes me adjust my jeans or my shorts constantly so it’s not rubbing against it. Going to bed actually takes some extra thought and effort so I don’t break it open. And we ran out of the bandages I need for it. 

Funny, the life lessons boo-boos can teach us. When we want something, we do things we wouldn’t normally do. Like sliding in softball. But doing those things lead to consequences, like getting a big, fat strawberry. And those consequences last, carrying over into our ordinary, everyday lives, for a lot longer than we think they will.

So live life, and live it hard, and live it well, but be conscious of the consequences, because they are always waiting. Sometimes consequences are good. Sometimes they are bad. Best as you can, know which one whatever you’re doing will create.