Home-Running it Through the Bucket List

chicago sport and social softball

Number 11 on my bucket list this summer was to join a summer sports league.

I put it on my bucket list because I’ve never actually joined a recreational sports team for young professionals.  I’ve seen many a group walking around sporting ZogSports or Chicago Sport and Social Club t-shirts… and really wanted one.

There are a host of excuses for why in the 6 years post college I have not yet participated.  I’m busy.  I’m a figure skater (i.e. not a soccer/football/baseball player).  None of my friend groups have ever organized a team.  Games are held in inconvenient locations.  The last time I played football in fourth grade I was tackled and couldn’t feel my body for a bit.  The other girls have more experience.

Basically, I’ve been too chicken-shit.

Time to amend this issue.

This summer I’ve joined a Chicago Sport and Social Club softball league with about 20 of my co-workers (read: public humiliation is even more fun when carried to the workplace).

And today was the first game.

Today was also, conveniently, the hottest day Chicago has seen this summer.

Let the shirt-soaking fun begin.

I took a cab found my way to the field and joined everyone for beers warm-ups.

I quickly found out that laying low wasn’t in the cards.  Turns out league rules state that each team must have at least 4 girls on the team at all times, 4 girls in the outfield and must rotate a girl batter every two players. (I haven’t decided how I feel about this gender equality driven rule-book as of yet).

Either way…we had 5 girls.  I had to woman-up and learn fast.

I started the game as the Center-fielder.  By the grace of some guardian angel, the other team’s first line-up couldn’t hit a ball the size of a kickball had some trouble and struck out quickly.  I had another beer with my teammates/coworkers and prepared to bat for the first time.

Everyone started to cheer me on as I went up.  I swung once and missed and then got a walk to first.  I was pretty psyched.  We struck out shortly after, but I was starting to get the hang of it.

My next turn at center-fielder, I was the recipient of a giant welt on the side of my knee stopped a ball hurled straight towards me and was able to get it to the second-base in time to hear “out” called on the other team.

At some point during the game the other team started to kick our ass play really well.

Any judgment passed in the beginning of the game flew straight out the window (lesson learned).  This team didn’t have matching uniforms, seemed disorganized and had one member with an artificial leg.

You’d think the score would have at least been close.  NOPE. (I will refrain from divulging the actual score)

We lost.

I’m pretty sure that bystanders couldn’t tell the difference though.  We immediately began toasting and drinking beers on the field and continuing the hyper excitement of the past 2 hours.

After on-field drinks, we moved the matching t-shirt party to a local bar where we toasted to our next game.

Playing with a team of coworkers/friends/new team members at sunset on a summer day was Awesome.

Looking forward to next week’s game.

Fish, Forceps and the ER

hospital ER waiting for doctor

Day 38 started out as a typical day and left me thankful.

I went to work. I had a conference call.  I had a work lunch.

You’d think I’d eat my meal, enjoy the view (of the Hudson) and get back to work.

The lunch Gods had other plans.

In an effort to go with a more “healthy” choice, I chose the trout with green beans instead of the salmon with mashed potatoes (my fave).  A few bites into my yummy meal, I realized (a bit too late) that the fish was in fact not de-boned and there was a bit of an uncomfortable scratch in my throat.

You guessed it: one of the fish bones was stuck.

I ate a loaf of bread (as grandma would have recommended), I ate more bread, I ate a plum and I inhaled fluids.  Nothing helped.

45 minutes later I was in the ER.

While waiting the obligatory 7 hours to be seen by a doctor (it’s only fair), the nurses calmly did what they could to keep me calm and assure me of the upcoming positive outcome:

  • they shared (horror) stories about others with bone lodging situations, tossed out (horror-inducing) scenarios of extraction and prepped possible IV situations (thanks guys!).

My friend the bone was finally removed with a giant plier-looking apparatus.  It was swift and painless and I couldn’t have been happier to have it out.

The day shaped up to be really interesting, but…while I waited for the king of doctors to make a decision on the manner of retrieval, I was overwhelmed by text messages, phone calls and emails wishing me well.  Friends and colleagues offered to leave work and wait with me, my brother and his friends made me laugh by sending me pictures of Gerber food, coworkers sent best wishes, family called to listen to me whimper and offer anecdotes and opinions on the healthcare system (thanks for the solidarity, dad!).

There were moments of fear but there were also moments of relief and perspective: being in the hospital and realizing you can walk out unscathed is a blessing.  Having people to lean on is a gift.  and having the means for “swift” medical care is lucky and pretty Awesome.