A couple of weeks ago I decided to sign up online for a rec league, that pretty much had teams and leagues for any kind of sports. This was kind of those, ‘Ok Shannon, you’re out of school, it’s time to branch out, join an Adult League, and meet some new friends,‘ kind of decisions. Luckily, after about a week I was contacted by a team captain who noticed I was interested in joining a softball team. After a few weeks of not being able to go to practice due to prior engagements, I started to dread the next Sunday, my potential first day of practice. I had the first day jitters, worried that I was either not going to fit in with the team, or that I would completely embarrass myself on the field since I’ve been out of practice since HS. Regardless, I toughed it out and showed up this past Sunday for practice.

After the awkward introductions and some small talk, I asked the girl next to me if she wanted to warm-up and throw some. It took me an extra second to get used to the feeling of my 10 year-old glove on my right hand, and hoped it would at least hold out on me for this one day. The first throw was quite painful. Pretty sure every joint from my wrist to shoulder to back on my left side cracked as I softly threw the ball across 30 yards. This is where I would usually talk about my arthritic joints, or the fact that I’ve been out of the game for 4 years, or blah blah, but actually…despite being startled by the excessive joint crackage (my own word), that first throw felt good.

It felt good to be back on the field again, back to the ol’ stomping grounds. Back to the place that used to be my life from age 9-17. From little league, to high school, to club ball, I used to eat, breath, and live the game. I also played basketball and volleyball for school, but it was always softball that stood out amongst the rest. I made a lifelong list of memories and great friendships, and even though most of us have gone our separate ways, I know we could always pick up right where we left off.

And then when it came time for college, I decided to pack it up and try something new. Every now and then, as I would throw the frisbee back and forth on the IM fields, I would wonder what it would’ve been like if I had stuck with softball. It sucked at first, I often thought I lost a certain part of me. How could you just up and quit something that defined you? something that you truly loved?

Most of the time, I didn’t really have a clear answer. But in the end, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I left the game on a good note, and I was able to preserve the great times I had back in the day. I left the game and found a new game, and went on to make new friendships and new memories.

But when Sunday’s practice rolled around, it was also a good feeling to know that I still had it in me, and that it hadn’t lost its fire.