Joel Reichenberger: Pain in the bat

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Joel Reichenberger

Steamboat Pilot & Today sports reporter and photographer Joel Reichenberger can be reached at 871-4253 or jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by Joel here.

— What is it about a couple of hours of softball that leaves me sore for days afterward?

Seriously, I don’t get it, but somehow the minimal physical effort I exert in two softball games taxes my body as much as anything else I do.

I’m admittedly far from fit, especially at the moment, but the problem hasn’t been limited to this week, when I woke from bed every morning with aches and pains from my shoulders to my legs.

The amazing thing really is how little I actually do on a softball field.

Our team — composed of co-workers, friends and about anyone else we could persuade to play — has been a staple in the city’s coed D League division for two seasons now. We play D League because there’s not an E League. Our season-opening doubleheader Wednesday night was reminiscent of our entry in previous seasons not only because we got pounded twice but also because our new players all said the same things:

“Huh. Ya know, I don’t think I’ve played baseball or softball since I was 13,” one rookie said, echoing statements from virtually everyone who’s donned our uniform.

So, we’re not that awesome at softball, and on Wednesday, I didn’t bat much. I went to the plate three times in two games. I made solid contact with exactly one ball, and it flew foul in left field. I came away with two hits, dribblers to third base in which I beat the throw.

I swung the bat maybe six times in competition, another couple of times warming up, and that all made my shoulders sore? Yikes.

I jogged across the outfield every other inning throughout the night and sprinted to first base twice and second base once, and that made my legs and torso ache? I did run backward in left field in my only attempt to catch a fly ball. That’s yet again embarrassing — you’d think I’d learned nothing in youth baseball — but I can’t imagine that explains the pain, either.

I’d be scared, but little of this is new.

Somehow, some way, even my gentle brand of softball taxes muscles I otherwise never, ever use.

That became obvious in our first year. I actually was in decent shape then. I had just wrapped up an eight-week fitness regimen with Fusion Fit in Steamboat when our season started. Still, I sustained a horrific injury in our second week. I felt both of my hamstrings give out as I ran to first base. It felt like someone had shot them with a gun. Perhaps I was a bit overdramatic, but I was fairly convinced that I’d never play again. I didn’t even rule out surgery that day.

It took a little while, but somehow I returned to full strength without a single amputation.

The same seemed to prove true this week. What left me convinced I was bedridden Thursday morning became manageable by Friday and mostly healed by Saturday.

So, I’m OK — until our next game, anyway. Then, once again, I’ll sacrifice my body for the glory that is two dribblers to third and another week of sweet D league softball.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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