It’s been a couple days now and I’m still slightly recovering from this weekend’s, um, accident.
As many know, I love baseball in all its forms: playing, watching it, analyzing it and talking about it. Unfortunately, I’m a terrible athlete and I was never really good at playing the sport no matter how much I practiced and worked. I was the guy who always rode the bench and when I did play, it was in the dreaded right field position where coaches hide their worst players when they need to play them.
Yup, I was the kid in right field who was always excited to play, chewing gum and popping the biggest bubbles my Big League Chew would allow and every once in a while, I would make a ridiculous play not knowing what I did.
I was the scrub on the team and I was okay with that. I accepted my lack of ability early on and it never bothered me.
Thankfully, when you get old and out of college, there’s a thing called beer league softball and fortunately for me, you don’t have to be good to play. You just have to be able to catch, hit the ball and run as fast as you can. Thankfully these are things I can do.
I haven’t played much over the last year because I’ve been busy and there’s nothing like having game conflicts when you’re supposed to be watching your kid. That said I was able to get out to the field this past weekend to play with the church league team I joined a couple months back. It was hot at hell but I knew I wanted to get out there because with traveling and cancellations, I hadn’t played in over a month.
For the most part, the doubleheader started out like many of our other games: disorganization of the team at first, guys rubbing Ben Gay on arms and legs to “loosen up” while other attempted to warm-up by jogging. There were errors, base hits and the occasional diving snag by a shortstop or outfielder.
Luck would have it on this fateful Saturday I was to participate but I didn’t make a stellar catch or bases-clearing hit. I was in right and it was a typical game — nothing came my way. I landed on the flipside of the top-ten highlight and was involved in the embarrassing play that makes everyone cringe.
I can only say this about the play: it’s one thing to have your 3-year-old run right into you when they give you a hug. It’s another to take a big, yellow softball in the shorts. There’s a WORLD of a difference.
When the ball came off the bat and it seemed to be a fly ball that might land in no-man’s land so I raced in from deep right field to try and make the catch. As I got closer I thought I might make the catch without having to dive, slide or anything like that. I’m not sure if I should have slid in hindsight as the ball came down much faster than I anticipated, took a bad bounce and smacked me right in the junk.
I thought I was about to die as I flung my glove off, and bent over immediately. There were stars surrounding me and after the initial five to ten seconds of eternity, I didn’t know what was going on but I instantaneously thought of my roommate Jake who always said you couldn’t cry in baseball nor could you “rub it out” when you got hit by a baseball. Only pussies rubbed out the pain.
“Fuck you Jake, this hurts!”
I then felt this uneasy desire to throw up right there on the field. While my stomach grumbled uncontrollably, another sensation washed over me, and it was worse. I felt like my ass was going to explode and I was going to crap myself in front of everyone while vomit was going to shoot out of me at the same time. There has only been one other time in my life where I had the same sensation and it was after getting food poisoning.
This was 100 times worse.
I walked back to the dugout and several people asked if I was okay.
“Really,” I thought. “I just took a God damn softball to my nuts! How the hell do you think I’m doing? Like I’m fucking singing and dancing over here while they swell to the size of a grapefruit! I’m in pain bitches!”
After I sat on the bench and focused on not shitting myself or throwing up, all kinds of thoughts came flooding in.
“I wonder if I should go to the emergency room. Can I even get back to my car? Where’s my phone? Fuck, it’s in the car. I wonder if anyone will notice if I leave right now? Probably, because I’m going to have to wobble out of here like one of those punching bags for kids. I’m sure that’s going to look great. Even if I get to the doctor, what do I say? There’s no way to explain this without looking like an idiot.”
I was sure someone was going to ask why I wasn’t wearing a cup and the answer was simple: I just didn’t because I knew I was playing in right and the ball hardly ever goes out there. It’s right field!
Boy, what luck.
I was then overcome with this terrible feeling of having to explain my situation to my girlfriend, which could not go well. I played though what the phone call might sound like in my head and the conversation worsened quickly.
“Hey babe, how are ya? Sooooo, I need to share some bad news with you. I was an idiot today and got hit in the balls today at softball … No, I didn’t wear a cup … Because, I’m an idiot and didn’t wear it … No, I’m pretty worried right now and it hurts like hell to walk right now let alone touch them to see if they are swollen … God, yes they hurt … No, I am not going to go to the hospital just yet, maybe tomorrow if they don’t get better tonight … No, I don’t anticipate being able to do anything like ‘that’ at this point, let alone for at least a week if I’m lucky … No, I don’t know what this means for the future, I’m trying to get through the next couple hours … No, I don’t know what this means about having kids … Yes, I said kids … What happens next? I ice my balls … No, I don’t know if this means surgery … No, I don’t think radiation is needed, I don’t have cancer … Shit, do you think I could develop cancer because of this? What happens if I lose a ball? Crap, I’m such an idiot.”
The conversation later that night actually did follow something similar, only difference was I told her I didn’t know if this meant I wouldn’t have kids. Being the wise and good person she is, her response was, “It’s okay, we could adopt,” but I knew there was some disappointment in her voice.
Somehow I made it home, showered and I swear I was going through shock because I kept having crazy cold and hot flashes. I iced down things, downed some pills and fell asleep with images of me walking around slightly to the left like a limp because the injured one was removed. Almost like a pimp walk but not as cool.
Because I lost a ball.
Because I’m an idiot.
They were terrible thoughts to fall asleep to and I swear I had nightmares. Thankfully my short-term dream memory is abysmal and I have no idea if I did because the second I woke up I forgot all of my dreams. Instead, when I awoke Sunday, my first action was to grab myself.
“Please God, let them be okay. I wanna have kids.”
Much to my surprise, there was no pain like the night before. In fact, I had to turnover to my back and it was easy — no shooting pain anywhere.
“Hallelujah!! I’m okay,” I blurted out and jumped out of bed.
My son must have been waiting outside the door because he opened the door, ran tonto the room right into me at full speed yelling, “Good morning Daddy!”
Ironically, his head landed right in my crotch.