I think my favorite part of this summer (aside from our annual sister party, watching movies on our garage door instead of doing fireworks, and, you know, being warm) has been playing softball. At first I thought my days-long happiness was because I was so proud of myself for getting out of my apartment on a week night, but that's only part of it. There's a basketball-sized portion of my consciousness, awakened when I was a little girl, that just loves to compete. And not just compete, but compete well.
Sports have taken a backseat since I got my first job as a CSR at Domino's. It was time to prepare for adult things, like buying a car and saving for college, so that meant letting go of certain "childish" delights. I still followed sports--basketball, mainly--when I could, but I'll admit a big motivator for that was my determination to shock people out of the mindset that I'm a girly girl. I resigned myself to the fact that the most sporty I was likely to ever get again was the bouncing sessions I participated in every time an intense basketball game was on (Sweet 16, anyone?).
One of the great things about graduating from college, though, is that you have time to do things that you haven't done for years, even the things you abandoned in the name of adulthood. Last year, I played softball for the first time in eight years, but I didn't go to enough of the games to get past my rusty stage. I spent more time lamenting my lost skills than I did basking in the funness of the game.
This year has been different. I've gone to every game the Union YSA Ward has played in so far and while we're not as good as we were last year, I've enjoyed it a lot more because I shave off a little bit of rust every game. Sure, the first few games I couldn't throw straight and I had to resort to stopping grounders with my bare shins because my mind and body weren't quite in sync yet, but over time my aim got better and so did my hand-eye coordination.
Then special sporty moments start happening. I stop a grounder at third, throw it to first, and as I'm watching the ball soar through the air, I hear a guy behind me say, "It's good!" before the ball plants itself firmly in the first baseman's mitt. I hit a perfectly pitched ball to my sweet spot (center field) and I hear the catcher behind me say, "Woah, that was a nice hit" before I take off running.
Moments like these are what make sports so fun--not necessarily the exclamations of awe, but rather the awesome power that spreads through your body when you make a good play or the satisfying tingling you feel in your hands minutes after you hit that ball into the gap in the outfield.
Ah, sports. I'm glad we've gotten back together.