(Sunday Paper, Volume III, Issue 32)
Recently, I had a sportsy day.
I had the opportunity to take some swings in a batting cage and to hit some golf balls on the driving range.
It was the first time I had done either in a while, and it got me thinking about the old times, as Bruce Springsteen might say.
And I came to the realization that time has slipped away and left me with nothing, mister, but boring stories of glory days.
I was never a great athlete.
I was a good baseball player. I was a decent basketball player.
I think it's appropriate to use past tense because I haven't done those activities in a very long time.
That's kind of the point.
Because when I stepped into the batting cage for my 15 pitches I was confident. It'll be just like when I was younger, I thought - I might not crush the ball, but I'll make good contact and maybe tear into one.
I set the speed to the highest setting, which in this case was 70 mph, and took my stance.
And that machine threw that speedball by me...made me look like a fool, boy.
Now, there's a chance that the 70 mph was broken and those balls were coming in at like 90 mph. Because it was really fast. So I used my last token on another 15 pitches and arrogantly figured I'd catch up to the 70 mph this time...and I swung and missed 15 more times.
I'm having a hard time forgetting about it - this happened almost two weeks ago.
I still think maybe the machine was broken.
But I have definitely slowed down. That was a pretty tangible realization that came from this.
The other realization was that I still really like golf.
I was never a great golfer (are you sensing a theme here?) but I love the chasing-your-own-score aspect of the sport.
But it had been almost a decade since I had played. I'm pretty sure I hadn't played a round of golf - or even swung a club - since my second daughter was born.
And the same day I was embarrassed by a pitching machine I also had the opportunity to hit a bunch of balls on the driving range. And I made a pretty good showing of myself - I think I actually hit the ball better than I ever had in my life.
This was without my own clubs, but I think that makes it even more notable, because I was just using the range's loaner clubs. In theory, with my clubs I'll hit better.
And I really got the itch to go golfing again, so I'm looking forward to that.
Because, as challenging a sport as golf is, I have one thing working in my favor that means I have a shot at being competitive:
That golf ball is never moving more than 0 mph when I'm trying to hit it.
Writing and Comedy
*I'm not going to lie: August has been a lazy, lazy month. I'm getting some writing done, but it has been by far the slowest month of what has been a pretty good year of work so far. Part of that is because the work is drying up a bit, and part of that is because I have been taking some time to myself and hanging with the girls and just enjoying some lazy summer days. It's not the best way to behave in general when you have to hustle for every dollar, but things will pick up again when my school job starts up again in September so I'm pretty confident I can afford to take this time right now.
*As for the comedy portion of August, I've been out to see a show or two, but I'm not performing much since Framingham Comedy Weekend ended. That's OK, too, because I have some stuff lined up in the fall and I'm sure I'll finish the calendar year pretty strong. And it's been good to clear my mind of which show I'm going to when and where and which ones do I need to perform on next...it'll make me feel fresher when it's time to get back on stage consistently.
What I've Been Enjoying
*I'm not sure I talked much about my birthday on here (after the fact, haha...I know I talked about it a lot beforehand), but you may or may not know it was spent at Citi Field with a bunch of family and friends. Kathy organized it and it was wonderful. But because she organized a big group outing, they gave her a couple of free tickets, provided it was a weekday night game in August. Which was a pretty narrow window of games. But on Tuesday I drove down and used the tickets with an old friend of mine and we had a nice chance to catch up and - despite an hour, 40 minute rain delay (and an incredible thunder and lightning show) - it was a great time.
I just love Citi Field. I get overwhelmed going there I love it so much. I think that's partly because I have such fond memories of going to Mets games all my life but it's also because I love new ballparks and Citi Field is a great one and I got there super early and I was all by myself walking around and taking pictures and it made me so happy. It was like a bonus birthday gift a month after my birthday.
*I want to take a stand and not watch the NFL but I can't help it - I found out this week that the Jets open the season on Monday Night Football and I'm excited to watch it. Maybe they won't be any good and I'll lose interest. But, as I do, I am now super-excited about the possibility that the Jets will be good this year. I'm such a sucker.
*(I am also excited to see more of Sam Darnold, their rookie quarterback. He looked good in the preseason, which is always hard to judge because you don't know if he's doing well against bad players or not, but he looked like he had an arm and poise of the sort that I haven't seen much of from the Jets in my lifetime.)
*In the caption to the picture at the top of the post I teased the picture it reminded me of - this one, from almost ten years ago. David Wright, after being concussed by a pitch to the head, came back with a trial effort by Major League Baseball at a more protective helmet. It was widely ridiculed, because, well, it looks kind of ridiculous. But I think I look a little more ridiculous in my helmet.
*Also, it was announced yesterday that today David Wright will play a minor league baseball game as he attempts to come back from a possibly career-ending back injury. His major league career is effectively over, but I just hope so much to see him play for the Mets before the end of this season and retire on his terms. If you have no idea who or what I'm talking about, that's fine - but I'm just letting you know that you should root for David Wright.
*As a reward, if you've made it this far, at the left is video of one of my golf swings. I thought, considering how long it's been, the swing was good. This wasn't even my best-looking swing or shot...it's just one we captured on video.
*And bonus reward is below, where Kathy actually caught the one ball I made contact with in a picture, which I was able to transfer into a quick quick video. Not a bad little swing. Just too slow on the reflexes. Not unlike David Wright, my major league aspirations are effectively over.