Saturday, December 6, 2008

Woodturning is Like Softball

I played third base in fastpitch softball for 26 years.

During that time, I snagged line drives that were travelling so fast, bystanders were looking in the outfield to see where the ball had landed, not realizing it had been caught.

I hit pitches that were screaming toward me at 85 mph from only 40 feet away. I dove for grounders, slid headfirst into bases, and was bloody most every game.

People thought I was fearless.

And then came the game when both of our catchers were sick. I was asked to fill in. No prob, right? Wrong. I gained new respect for catchers that day.

When a batter swings a lethal weapon in front of your face as a ball the size of a grapefruit is careening toward your head, you'd better have nerves of steel. Or be wearing adult diapers.

But because there were onlookers and because I would never let my team down, I hung in there and didn't embarrass myself, but I sure was glad when the game was over.

As a newbie turner with very few hours of lathework under my belt, I had never had a mishap.....until a few days ago. The gouge I was using snagged the wood and the workpiece snapped in two and came flying toward my face (I was wearing a mask). It missed, but my nerves were shot.

I'm back at the lathe today but pretty jumpy. What should take a half an hour to turn is taking hours.

The lathe has made a girl out of me.

Maybe if I had onlookers or better yet, catcher's equipment, I'd at least be able to fake fearlessness.

Or maybe I should just buy some Depends.