Summer Softball

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

I was somewhat amused when I read that Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, while playing in a charity softball game, took a line drive off his face and suffered a broken nose. He will require surgery.

Now, don’t think I took great pleasure in this event; it’s just because of all the ways NFL’er Clay Matthews might be injured in athletics, I would not have thought it would be playing softball in a charity game.

But I can certainly relate. Allow me to first offer a little background.  I grew up playing football, basketball, and baseball.  From the time I started Little League baseball, there was really no down time as one season merged right in with the next and after finishing up a high school baseball season, summer baseball and summer basketball followed.  It was sports all-year round.

I then went on to play college basketball for two years and college baseball for four years. I bring this up only to make the point that I was never injured.  Sure, I had sore muscles and some aches and pains along the way.  I injured my elbow once while pitching, but never missed a game.

After college, I continued to play summer basketball and Blue Mountain League baseball. Again, I never got injured.

Greater responsibilities (two daughters) finally caught up to me and my playing days, for the most part, were over – except, of course, for the one team sport that awaits all over-the-hill athletes – slow-pitch softball. I dug out the glove, joined my friends, and signed up for two nights a week.

The camaraderie was great; the juices flowed; and the love of competition came back. But so did physical vulnerability.  During my tenure as a shortstop, I pulled a groin muscle running to first base.  I suffered heat stroke during a softball tournament and was rushed to the hospital after suffering excruciating cramps.  An intravenous potassium drip helped me recuperate, but it took hours.

The last straw came when I was chasing a pop fly into the outfield during a fall tournament. Our left fielder weighed about 250 pounds and was coming in to catch the ball as I was going out to do the same.  He made the catch, but also wiped me out.  I knew I was hurt. The naked eye revealed a broken collar bone.  Off to the hospital again!

The bone was popped back into place and I was forced to wear a harness and sleep in a recliner for about two weeks. I missed five days of school as a teacher (the only sick days of my career, mind you) and was in quite a bit of pain.  I was also unable to perform my duties as a PA announcer for the one and only time.

So, to recap – I played around fifty football games, 200+ basketball and 200+ baseball games in my career and was never seriously injured. Slow-pitch softball led to three major injuries: a broken bone and two hospital visits.

So the moral to this story (if indeed there is one) is for all the “jocks” who want to continue the glory days, think more seriously about how to do it.

Because, when it comes to softball, let me offer up the same advice given by the police captain every week on the TV show Hill Street Blues before the officers were sent out into the streets – “Let’s be careful out there.”

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. In my last blog, I made mention that the Phillies were in first place. I believe the day I wrote that was the last time they were in first place. Now they are three games out of first and have lost seven of their last 10 games. And, some disgruntlement is setting in among some of the players. This could be a critical time for the season as they finish up their road trip.
  2. The NBA playoffs are showcasing unbelievable basketball talent. LeBron, KD and Steph are just beyond description. I don’t think they need to be compared to anyone in the past (LeBron and Jordan, for instance). Just sit back and marvel at what they can do in today’s age.
  3. Congratulations to the Freedom Patriots baseball team who won only their second district baseball championship and their first in 20 years when they beat Parkland 2-1 last week. Both teams are in the state playoffs and we wish them great success.
  4. RCN was once again proud to be a Silver Sponsor for the Gala in the Garden benefitting Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Emily Howatt Pliskatt Pediatric Unit. Over $315,000 was raised in a record-setting year. It is gratifying to be around people who perform miracles every day.
  5. RCN-TV is happy to bring you Blue Mountain League baseball again this summer. It all starts on Tuesday, June 12, at 9:30pm when we bring you the Easton at Berlinsville game. Watch men who play because they love the game.

 

Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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