by Dan Bolles
It should have been great.
Following what was otherwise a rather pedestrian day at the plate (2-5, 2 singles, a groundout, a popup and reaching base on an error), I laced a searing line drive into the gap in left-center. Rounding first, I saw that ball had scooted past the roving outfielder — we play with four, as opposed to the traditional three — and was making its way to the fence. Giddyup.
In beer league softball, my game is predicated on speed. I have what they call "warning track power." Or, just enough "pop" to be dangerous — if only to myself — if I get designs on Ruthian glory. In six seasons, I've never actually put one out. Instead, I shoot for the gaps and run like hell. It's usually an effective strategy.
Deciding to challenge the centerfielder's arm, I grazed second and dug in for third. Wind at my back, I neared the base and lept into a textbook feet-first slide, hoping to duck the tag. Though I couldn't see it, I could sense the the third baseman readying himself to receive the throw — like the pressure dropping before a thunderstorm, you can always feel when a play will be close.
Just then, my right cleat, instead of slicing through what passes for infield dirt in our league, caught and held true to the earth. Sadly, my foot forgot to relay the message to rest of my body.
Momentum carried my leg forward, juxtaposing my foot and ankle at unnatural angles. There was a sickening, audible "snap," as I landed in heap on top of the bag. The third base coach, doubling as an umpire, spread his arms wide: the universal signal for "safe." Clutching my lower leg, I unleashed an epic string of profanities that would make George Carlin blush (R.I.P., you brilliant man).
It wasn't the pain, so much. OK, it was. But more than that, what was truly terrifying was the sound. There are few noises more genuinely frightening — especially for a pseudo-athlete — than the pop of a joint. In particular, those emanating from the Rube Goldberg machine that is the human ankle. Thankfully, as I would find out following a six-hour ordeal at the Fanny Allen walk-in clinic, said sound did not signal a fracture.
Rather, I have "the dreaded high-ankle sprain," so designated — at least in fantasy football geek circles — for its notoriously slow recovery time and the fact that it's incredibly easy to reinjure, even after you think it's healed. As I type this, I am laying on my couch, right leg elevated and sporting a nifty — and uncomfortably hot — air cast. It's a pose I'll need to get used to.
The reason I'm telling you all of this — aside from the fact that I am physically unable to do anything beyond typing at the moment — is that I had plans to swing by Gezellig Theater tonight to catch the Radiator benny. It features a Boston-based band called Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, whom Radio Bean's Lee Anderson made a point of calling me to rave about a couple of weeks back — which he never does.
Also on the bill are local singerin'-songwriterin' ingenue Maryse Smith and my current favorite local act — whom I have yet to catch live and, sadly, will miss yet again — Paul & the Mystery of Gravity.
So, denizens of Solid State, I call on you to do me a, well, solid. Go support our local community radio station. And also, report back and let me know how it was, as it appears I will be vicariously living through you for the next few weeks. Show starts at 8:30 and costs a meager five bucks. And as always, if you don't know where Gezellig is, ask a hipster.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'd like to go back to moping over the cosmic injustice of being made an invalid on the exact day summer finally decided to show up.