HEY. YOU WEREN’T IN THE PAPER THIS WEEK. OK. I missed another deadline and thanks to those who continue to remind. There’s actually a great story behind my mishap, and I will do my best to explain. But before I begin, I want to say cheers to the handful of fans. Your feedback and praise always make me smile, and I am truly humbled by the number of folks who tune into this page. I get hit up several times each week, and of course, my head swells.
I can’t remember the last time I actually played in a competitive baseball setting. No. I’m not counting those slow pitch games back in college. We didn’t really care if we won that summer, and we consumed lots and lots of beer. Besides casually throwing in the backyard, it’s been a very long time since I last put on a glove. Maybe twenty-five or so years? Man, I am getting old. #foreshadow.
I was a somewhat decent player growing up, and as I get older, my batting averages and fielding percentages tend to jump. I played shortstop and pitched in Little League, and I still wear my 1989 All-Star jacket behind closed doors. I wasn’t much of a hitter back then, but I sure had a great set of hands.
I enjoyed the game, and I participated in organized ball until I was 14-years-old. Coach Grove called me into his office in the fall of my freshman year and suggested that I focus more on golf. No big deal. It worked out for everyone involved. It was simply time for me to move on. I still remained close with Coach, and I even shed a few tears at his funeral. #impact.
Jensen and his mates continue to gather a few nights in the 17728. Like many others in the area, baseball at Hepburn Little League isn’t just a spring sport. We play all year long folks. It’s called FALL BALL, and there were only ten youngsters in attendance that evening. I usually sit and watch from the bleachers, but then my phone rang.
My best friend Bob sent me to the outfield to help shag some balls. I immediately loaded up with the bug spray and grabbed my glove from the car. I keep both items in my survival bag just in case I get the call.
I was alone in left center, and I was the only outfielder that night. I was constantly running back and forth because of all of the action. I slowly got back into the groove and started making some incredible plays. I caught a few fly balls and recorded several putouts in my own special way. My anticipation and throws were both on point, and I don’t believe in using the cutoff. There is no better feeling than gunning down a 10-year-old runner who was tagging up. Nice try Zane.
I continued to play well and dazzled some heads. Coach Marc even considered giving me a ten-day contract with the Beverage Barn. I was that good, but it started to get cold as the sun was about to set. It was probably the last inning of our modified scrimmage.
I don’t recall who was batting, but he hit a lazy pop up just beyond third base. There was no way anyone could make that catch. Not even Bo Jackson. I mean, I was deep in centerfield, but I still gave it a valiant effort.
I was in an all-out sprint desperately trying to get into a better position, and just before the ball hit the ground, I took one final leap only to come up a few feet short. Something bad had happened, and I wasn’t quite sure what it was. The young third baseman started yelling to get the ball. I couldn’t move, and I believe I yelled out a few bad words.
I held back the tears and tried to disguise my injury. I told Jensen to grab his stuff and slowly limped to the car without even saying goodbye. That’s not my style. The pain only worsened and made it nearly impossible to drive. WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU DAD?
I struggled up the stairs, and my lovely bride gave me that look when I finally reached my chair. She grabbed me a bag of frozen peas and then she politely shook her head. You might be the only guy in America who can pull a hamstring while shagging fly balls at a non-sanctioned Little League practice.
I am out of the loop, and unfortunately, no longer have access to any of the local training rooms. Yes. Golf coaches are CPR certified and spend lots of time dealing with injuries. I reached out to my old friends Jason Erlandson, Kerri Moriarity, and Andi Lucas for a few tips. These CATs helped get me back on track and offered some great advice. I am very thankful to have all three of them on speed dial. I sent Mike Ludwikowsky a quick text and came back with ‘who is this?’ All joking aside, Mike gave me a call, and we talked an hour about pulled muscles.
I was finally on the mend after three long days of soft rubber band stretching. My friends also recommended ICE before heat, and I was forced to improvise. Without having a key, it made things hard, so I headed down to Lycoming Creek each night as part of my extensive rehab. It’s my own personal natural ice bath. I, of course, brought along my fishing gear and made a few casts in the meantime. Imagine the look from my fellow fishermen friends when I was chest deep in the water doing some yoga. Yes. I was quite the talk of the neighborhood.
It’s been a full week, and I am finally starting to see progress. I highly doubt I will ever get to 100%, but at my age, I am OK with that. I would like to thank my trainer friends for all of their help, but I don’t believe I will be shagging any fly balls in the outfield anytime soon. There’s definitely a chill in the air, and that’s probably the last time I go into the water without my waders too. Special shout to those who wished me well and back to the question at hand. HEY. YOU WEREN’T IN THE PAPER THIS WEEK. Yes. I pulled my hamstring. Cheers.