The joys of getting older: Softball is not what it once was

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

Aging is a reality all athletes have to come to terms with. Some do it gracefully, while others fight it tooth and nail. Personally, I’d like to think I’m somewhere in the middle. If I were to be completely honest, though, I’m probably closer to the tooth and nail end of the spectrum.

Last weekend, I received my registration form for the 50-plus Senior Softball League in the mail. That single piece of paper has caused an all-out power struggle within my being. It’s mind versus body in an epic battle.

My mind is basing its strategy purely on emotion. I’d love to play softball again this year. My body is using the more practical debate strategy known as logic. The body is playing dirty tricks on me by reminding me of all the aches and pains I endured last spring and summer.

At first, it wasn’t so bad … a minor bruise on my forearm caused by a bobbled grounder, a scraped-up knee as a result of a slip on the base path. From there, it got progressively worse.

Next thing I knew, I was limping profusely thanks to a pulled hamstring. That came about because I thought it would be a good idea to really race full speed out of the batter’s box on a softly-hit grounder up the middle. There was no way in Hades I would have ever been safe. Why did I try so intensely? It’s that mind-versus-body thing again.

The pulled hamstring healed just in time for me to twist an ankle. If it weren’t for those minor setbacks, I might have actually enjoyed the whole 50-plus softball experience. Instead, it turned out to be a test of survival. Would I still be upright in one piece and not in a hospital bed at the end of the season?

This debate will continue. I still have plenty of time before I have to decide whether to listen to the body and let good, sound logic reign supreme. That would call for me to gracefully hang up the glove for good. Or, do I let my emotions win and try to fight off the aches, pains and nagging injuries for one more year?

The new season doesn’t begin until the middle of April. There will be a players’ meeting at Rascal’s Bar and Grill (5223 Torque Road) in Loves Park at 2 p.m., March 11. I have at least until then before I have to reach a final decision.

One thing is for sure, if I do decide to play one more season, you can rest assured I won’t be trying to beat out any more softly-hit ground balls, and I’m investing in a value-sized bottle of ibuprofen. Man, I hate getting older!

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the Feb. 22-28, 2012, issue

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