Today I am forty-six years old. Last year I made a lot of the fact that I was halfway to ninety. This year I will be halfway to ninety-two, which doesn't sound nearly as frightful. The thing that does stand out to me on this birthday, however, is the fact that Curt Schilling is two and a half years younger than I am.
Curt is having season-ending shoulder surgery on Monday. The Red Sox pitching staff will most likely have a Curt Schillng-sized hole to fill from now on. "Coming back from this surgery at thirty-one would be an enormous challenge, at forty-one more so," Schilling wrote on his blog. Just about the time that I am shouting down the well we call middle age, Curt is getting ready to hang up his spikes.
Please understand that Curt Schilling is by no means a role model for me, but only a convenient yardstick by which to measure my own accomplishments. He was drafted in the 1985 Major League Baseball draft, along about the same time I was graduating from college. He spent three years with the Orioles before heading to Houston. During those years I worked in a video store. After a stop in Philadelphia, he helped win a World Series for Arizona in 2001. When he finally returned to Boston, the team that drafted him in the first place, he helped them win championships in 2004 and 2007.
I was traded to Oakland in 1992 and worked my way up from the packing line at a book warehouse to eleven consecutive starts as a public school teacher. I have never been accused of painting my sock to make it appear that blood was oozing from my ankle.
Maybe Curt will make a comeback. Maybe he will end up in the broadcast booth, or maybe he'll sell real estate. Whatever the case, I wish him the best, just as I'm sure he would do for me. If he knew who I was.