|The old captain at third base during a practice this spring|
First, the Portland spring has come even earlier than usual. Typically the camellias & magnolias start blooming in mid to late February, with the cherries starting to come on in early March. Everything has been pushed up a couple of weeks this year, & it’s been great to enjoy all the blossoms as well as the unusual amount of sunshine & unusually warm temperatures. Yesterday the mercury almost rose to 80 degrees!
That said, it was a challenging winter physically. I suffered a bout of food poisoning during the holidays, & then came down with a nasty chest cold in early February. Since my lungs are already compromised by Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, it took me a long time to shake that, & indeed, today may be the first day I’ve felt completely back to normal.
But this only relates to the blog’s title by virtue of the fact that my softball team, the Underhanded Compliments, started practicing on February 15th, just a couple of days after I took sick, & I somehow managed to make it to the field every weekend—in fact, on both Saturday & Sunday the last couple of weeks!
Nothing says spring to me like the advent of softball & baseball. Standing on the infield dirt taking ground balls or taking swings on a real diamond as opposed to an indoor batting cage facility—these are as much the signs of spring for me as the cherry blossoms & the trill of the songbirds. While some friends have suggested that I might have been better served on at least a couple of those weekends by curling up on the couch with a book rather than being at the field, it really lifted my spirits to be out there.
The Underhanded Compliments will be starting their second year. For those who haven’t kept up with the softball news, it’s the team I captain (I also participate in an over-50 men’s league in the summer.) On this team, I’m the old man—probably a good 20 years older than the next oldest member of the team, & close to 35 years older than the youngest members. It’s a great group of folks, & I really feel it’s a privilege to be able to administer, manage & coach the team. & I also feel fortunate that I can still make positive contributions on the field—last year I did chip in with a .500 batting average over three seasons (spring, summer & fall.)
But mostly…well, you tell them about it, Jimmy: