Sometime this month, I will walk off of a baseball field competitively for the final time.
There will be no fanfare, no victory tour where opposing teams shower me with gifts. I will amble into the dugout, change from my cleats into sneakers, grab my car keys, my bag and my bat, and get into my car and drive home. There will be no teary press conference, no “I’m am the luckiest man in the world” speech, nor kind words from the team’s sponsor, high-fives or butt-slaps from teammates.
There might be a celebratory post-game drink, and even then, the tab will probably be mine to pick up. After playing ball for 35 years, this chapter of my life is ending.
While this might seem like a sad tale, it is an indifferent one. I’ll miss the thrill of playing, especially since the past two years I’ve had a rebirth in my batting average. I’m not calling it quits because of performance. It just seems like time to focus on my family and the kids’ activities, which are growing by the day.
It isn’t like I’m giving up a lucrative paycheck. In fact, I’ll actually profit by sitting out. No yearly $300 dues to pay as well as the equipment that sets me back another couple of hundred smackers each season.
I’m not walking away from adoration. We might get 10 fans watching our games on a good night, and the majority of them are chasing rugrats around instead of cheering us on.
At some point life becomes less about me and more about others. It is at that point now. Because of football, gymnastics, lacrosse and my baseball, we average one night a week where we can dependably have dinner together.
It has been a great run. Our team has won the Charlotte Adult Baseball League title three times in the past five years. We might win it again this year. I don’t know when my last game will be because the playoffs start this week.
I’m hoping it will be when we hoist the trophy again, which will make it a storybook ending.
Even then, there will be no champagne showers and post-game interviews to do. I will jog into the dugout, change from my cleats into sneakers, grab my car keys, my bag and my bat and get into my car and drive home.
And I’ll be just as happy as before.