This is my new nick-name on our softball team.  I have played baseball/softball for 40 years (well, there you have it, if you have to say you have done anything for 40 years, you are old).   I am probably 5 years older than any of the other players on the team as well as many of our opponents.  This year we have a stacked team.  They are young, strong, home run hitters who aren’t afraid to take one off the chin if necessary to make the catch and get the guy out.   The last two games I have been the cheer-leader for the most part, and a very good one I might add.  I get to play second base only when we are leading by 10 runs.   A token “senior player” you might say.   These guys are great to let me play and are valuable friends.  I consider it an honor just to sit the bench with guys like this. 

The experiences on the field and with the teams have always been  passion-filled moments and I look forward to suiting up every week.  But I can tell, from my reflexes and recovery time from the soreness, that my days are numbered.  Kind of reminds me of Ozzie Smith in his last days.  Ozzie, best short-stop ever (challenge that!), had a hard time stepping aside when his time came.  His reflexes began to slow, his arm began to loose strength in the throws, his speed was still good, but the younger guys were moving up and showing great skills.   FOX Sports has a weekly show called “Beyond the Glory” that sometimes covers the Ozzie story.   

Now, on a weekly basis I have to think about suiting up just to get to play in an inning or two in a game.  My reflexes are slowing.  My speed is slowing.   But my kidding around, building friendships, encouraging the guys may have gotten better over the last few years.  I asked my coach, “as all this young talent comes up what happens to us?”  He laughed and pointed to the dugout and said, “it ain’t about us buddy-boy.”  I knew right then that this Old Man had some days left to mentor, share Jesus, and influence the next generation of ballplayers for the Kingdom, even if I’m not on the field. 

Guess that is what the Really Old Guys mean when they say “Retirement is never mentioned in the Bible.” 

I have a lot of other stories to share about this thought, but I have to get to practice.