Balls, bats and Neoprene, old bones sliding home
For us, just getting to the airport at 5 a.m. was an experience. Only two times in the past three years have I set my cellphone's alarm. Because I wasn't sure it worked I woke up every 15 minutes until I finally got up five minutes before it was supposed to go off. It rang right on time at 3 a.m. We were flying out of T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island, so the whole anxiety level and intimidation factor of maneuvering through a large airport was pretty low until we got there and realized that half the Northeast was flying somewhere at the same time.
Going through security was interesting; they had to pat down my right armpit. I got my shoes back but had to throw away my half-filled 8-ounce mini-bottle of Poland Spring. With a cold, and without a gulp of water, I was worrying myself into a coughing fit. The public looks at you funny if you start coughing and can't stop. I figured if it happened on the plane they'd bump me in Newark. My husband bought the smallest bottle of water they had at one of those news outlet shops; it cost $4. I'm not cheap, I'm practical, that bottle could have hydrated Death Valley.
The flight was pretty uneventful. I was able to eat my purse-packed bagel and cream cheese with a pretty decent cup of airplane coffee and I nodded off over Jersey until just before we landed in Florida, where it was was overcast and drizzling, but warm.
We were in Florida for only four days - not a lot of time. One half of our host couple still works so we stayed pretty close to home, beach, the back yard and lanai - lanai is a fancy Florida word for screened-in back porch.
While we were there we went to a senior softball game - I know, I laughed too. The teams were sponsored by area merchants and were uniformed; our host wore a red T-shirt and was sponsored by a bar located near the water treatment plant.
What was amazing to me was how hard and how well the seniors, ages 55 to 71, actually played. They were good, but for some who were off center and pin wheeling couldn't get their bodies to cooperate. Every time someone slid into a base the spectators - wives in matching red T-shirts and floppy hats, groaned from the impact of old bones against red clay.
"He's going to feel that tomorrow," was the mantra heard over and over again. Our host was sore the next morning, as sliding into third and being called out will do that to you.
During the game I counted nine black Neoprene knee braces, plus one strange looking metal knee contraption - and that was just on our team. There were seven black braces on opponents' knees, plus taped broken fingers and a first base coach wearing one of those huge black boots because of a broken foot. A few players sat out due to injuries and infirmities best left unmentioned.
Our team was victorious so we celebrated at the sponsor's bar; one can't turn down free pitchers of beer after sitting in the sun for a couple of hours.
I came home from Florida with a patch of sunburn the size of a quarter on my neck. I told everybody it was from going to the beach, but really it was from hanging out next to the dugout. Enough said.
CAROLYNN PIANTA CAN'T PITCH, CATCH OR RUN; SHE STAYS CLOSE TO HOME. EMAIL HER AT CP.ENOUGHSAID@AOL.COM.