Getting to first base isn’t as easy as it used to be.

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To me, my arthritis is defined by unpredictability and seemingly inexplicable aches, pains and soreness. I’m thankful that it doesn’t feel that way all of the time, but a majority of my life is spent with something hurting. Usually it’s the kind of hurt that I can efficiently ignore, but sometimes it’s the kind of hurt that sidelines me entirely.

Here’s the catch: whenever I don’t feel any pain or soreness, I want more than anything to play ball or do something physical and fun. But inevitably, afterwards I am saddled with soreness and a type of pain that really puts me in a bad mood, makes me hobble (at best) and reminds me that I’m no athlete (or fit to be one). London 2012 ain’t happenin’.

This past week is a good example. The first softball game of the season! In Central Park at dusk, against a team of accountants (read: not that good). I love smacking the ball really hard, and then trotting to first base, but sometimes it doesn’t work that way. Instead I’ll hit a ground ball up the left side and need to run it out. Accelerating to a sprint is not advisable when you have the kind of arthritis that I do, but if you ever met my softball coach, you’d know that there’s no room for excuses. So I put my head down and I ran like Forest Gump was actually being chased.

After the game I “walked it off” and made my way home, but by the time I put my feet up in bed, I had already calculated the amount of pain that was to follow: lots. Three days and counting I could feel my hips, ankles and knees really pissed at me for what I did, and, like a good Catholic boy (don’t tell my arthritis that I’m Jewish), I’ll ask for forgiveness.

Until next game, that is.

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