Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Play Ball!


In a week, we make the transition from kids' sports to Dad's sports. Little League and spring soccer wind down this week and my softball league begins the week after. It's a 40-and-over league that I more than qualify for by age. There are only two things remarkable about the league:

1) It's amazing that, given the shape of some of the players, more people do not get injured just from warming up. 

2) This is my third year playing, and hopefully, it's my first season that won't have missed games due to biopsies (two years ago) or chemo fatigue (last year) . 

Hopefully, chemo is in my rear view window and nowhere to be seen on the horizon. While I still think about cancer often, I find that, true to common wisdom, I'm not thinking about my cancer as often -- except of course, when I have a muscle ache, or a joint ache, or a cold.

I always play sports with a fair amount of intensity. But last year, when I patrolled center field (or anywhere in the outfield), I did it with at least a modicum of ambivalence, torn between feeling like I should be fatigued and wanting to prove to everyone that, screw cancer, I could still play. Ironically, there were only two people on my team who had any idea I had cancer, let alone that I was going through chemo. But as is true with much of my sports playing, the proving is really to myself.

There's a great line from The Princess Bride.  When Inigo Montoya finally meets the evil, six-fingered man for whom he's been searching all his life, the man (spoiler alert) stabs him and as Montoya struggles, he says, "You have an overdeveloped sense of vengeance. One of these days, it's going to get you in trouble." 

This year, I have no overdeveloped sense of cancer vengeance. I'm just going to enjoy the games. I have nothing to prove to my teammates or myself. Cancer. Biopsy. Chemo. Whatever. I know I can play. I don't even need steroids to help me.   

 --Michael