For the last seven years, I have had a recurring dream. I’m on a softball field, playing third base, and the ball is hit to me. I field it cleanly, then move to throw it to first. But the ball either won’t come out of my hand, or I throw it and it bounces on the ground right in front of it, trickling over to the first baseman too late to make the out. Then, I’m up to bat, but I strike out swinging on three perfect pitches. Over and over I’ve had this dream, probably once a month. Once a month for seven years is a lot – 84 times, for you math phobes. I figure that this is because seven years ago, I quit playing competitive softball. I’d had enough. However, I didn’t have that last game: I quit the day before our first game of the season. I didn’t get to go out on a high note. Softball had been a huge part of my life since I was seven years old, and, even though it had been making me unhappy for some time before I finally quit, it had also brought me great friends and great memories. When I quit, I had to deal with anger from my friends, teammates, and coaches, which I worked through, but I also had to figure out who I was beyond softball. And I did, and my life went on. But still, I regretted not playing in that last game. For the rest of high school, I umpired girls’ games, and I would occasionally fill in on a slow pitch team here and there. After high school, though, I never played with a team again. I stopped going to the batting cages, or throwing the ball around, and I generally left softball behind. Sometimes I would talk on the phone with Tara, and we would talk about softball and how we missed playing catch with each other. We’d always say that we were going to throw the ball around the next time we saw each other. I kept my glove in the back of my car just in case. About two or three years went by until I finally threw with my dad. Then, on Christmas day this last year, Tara and I finally threw to each other for the first time since the day I quit our team. It was so much fun, and we talked about joining a league and playing together again. I ran it by Mike, and we decided it would be fun. He knew of a league in his area, but it didn’t start until July. Flash forward to yesterday. Mike and I, despite talking about it all the time, still haven’t thrown the ball around, even though we BOTH keep our gloves in the back of our cars. I was sitting on the couch, eating my dinner, when Jackie came home from work. She asked me if I wanted to come play on her company’s softball team, they had a game and were short on women. I totally jumped at the opportunity. I was a bit apprehensive, though. What if my dream came true? What if I couldn’t hit, and I couldn’t throw, and I made a total ass of myself? Luckily, none of that came true. I took batting practice and managed to get a good piece of most of the pitches. I was a little spooked fielding before the game, but I knew that I was being silly. And if the ball hit me, oh well, right? It was fun to play with Jackie and her work friends, they were all very nice, and my old roomie Alyssa was playing, too. I played centerfield and third base, and I got the ball a few times backing up the infielders. I didn’t have any throwing problems. I hit the ball every time I was up, although I only reached base once. All in all, a good experience (except for seeing an ex-boyfriend before the game, but that is another story for another time…and it isn’t very exciting anyway). When I got home, I talked to Mike and we agreed that we would sign up for the league in his area on the first day of registration. AND – I didn’t have my crazy softball dream last night. Hopefully I put it to rest, so to speak.