I turned 57 the other day and with that comes questions of mortality. I'm in unchartered territory. I mean, I've never been this old before.
The questions surface a lot while playing the APBA baseball game, too. I've been mired in replaying the 1991 baseball season for nearly two years now. I'm about 40 percent finished. In the past, I would have already completed this season, playing games at a rapid pace each night. This time, however, things are different. I have a new life; the playing of games is less frequent; my time is divested in other things.
But when I do roll a game or two, I tend to think ahead. I've purchased a lot of seasons over the years of playing this game and, as we always do, my mind wanders to the potentials of other seasons to replay. I want to do 1961 to see if Roger Maris can replicate his real-life 61-homer season. There's 1972 to play — a season I really became aware of baseball and followed it closely from start to finish. I have Black Sox' 1919 season in the wings and 1934 as well, and I'd like to replay the 1954 season with the amazing Cleveland Indians' pitching staff.
But is there time enough? Will I live long enough to do all of them? I think it's a question all the APBA players eventually come around and think about.
To accentuate the issue, on my 57th birthday, I received a message on my phone from the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation. “We have your blood work. You need to call immediately about the results,” the person said.
Talk about a Happy Birthday message. I called immediately. Well, not exactly immediately. I first had to run around screaming in panic and frothing at the mouth. I had some issues late last year when I got pretty sick and ended up in the emergency room. Later, I told my doctor I couldn't pee worth a crap and, after apologizing for mixing the bathroom simile, learned that was common for “men my age.”
I had reached “that age.” The doctor did tell me that I had to monitor it, saying if things worsened, I could have early symptoms of prostate cancer.
So, the prostate foundation call was a bit of a shocker.
When I called back, the person said they use a 3.0 rating as a “marker” on PSA tests, which measures protein produced by prostate cells. “It's our cutoff,” she said. Anything above a 3.0 is red-flagged and the patient is notified, the association person said.
The words “cutoff” and “prostate” didn't go together well, I thought, but I digressed.
My rating was 3.09. Nothing to be too worried about, she said. But she advised that I “keep an eye on it.”
So, I was okay. For now.
When I returned to rolling games that evening, I thought about all the seasons I still have ahead of me. And, as I play those seasons, those collections of baseball eras, players and history, the APBA company keeps producing new seasons. It's an endless cycle.
I was a late starter with the baseball game. I was introduced to APBA with the football game in 1977 and didn't get into the baseball replay game until 1998. There are so many seasons and games left to play and my time, as dramatically as it sounds, is running out.
But enough pondering. Toronto is playing Cleveland next in my 1991 season and then Houston is hosting Philadelphia. I will continue playing, rolling games when I can and thinking about all the seasons I have yet to replay and experience.