Tuesday, November 19, 2013


It's hard for me to describe what the game of baseball means to me. It is the game I grew up with. The game I watched my dad play (softball). The game I watched my brother play. The game I played. The game my son and nephews both play. 

My earliest memories of baseball/softball came from watching my dad and his friends play. The fun they had together. I loved going to those games. I didn't always watch, I was young after all, but I knew what was going on. My dad always wanted me to play. At least that's how I remember it. So I started playing or learning to play at a young age. I remember playing wiffle ball in my backyard with my brother and my dad while our dog at the time would try and snag the ball.

As I got a little older I went to watch my older brothers baseball games as well. I was able to see what it meant to my brother too. My brother went on to play high school ball as he got older but had to quit for health reasons. I think it was rough on both him and my dad. My dad always had high hopes for us in the sport. What can I say? He taught us both to play and he wanted us to succeed.

Eventually I started playing and it kind of exploded from there. I remember my first couple of years just starting out. Not really knowing where I wanted to play and not a very good hitter. Honestly, the best hitter/player we had for the first couple of years was a girl named Carrie. She was a pitcher and could crush the ball. After those years I joined a team called South Side Press. Made a lot of fun memories with that team. I was with them all the up until high school ball. Two of my best friends played alongside me from then all the way through High school and one still plays with me. South Side was a fun experience. We mostly played in Carter Lake, at least until out last season. Had a couple of different coaches throughout the years. Ken, John, and of course, my dad. I know those were probably the most difficult for me. With my dad coaching me. He pushed me. A lot. To be a better player and to learn more about the game. Never the less, I learned quite a bit and fell in live with the game. We never won any titles that I can recall but did have several winning seasons. When I moved into high school ball things were a little tougher. I learned what it meant to work hard to earn my spot on the team. I developed my skills. More so defensively. My hitting was always average. But I prided myself on my defense. Both John and my dad ended up being assistant coaches for our freshman team, so I got to spend more time around the field with dad. My three years of baseball during high school will forever be my favorites. So many good memories with friends and teammates. Unfortunately, I stopped playing my senior year due to a couple personal reasons. My only regret. 

From there I started playing softball. I started out with my brother on his work team. I little different from baseball but not really. Just redefining your skills a little. I had a good time. I got the opportunity to play with brother. A blessing. I played on that team for a couple years then moved to a church league. Where I have been playing ever since. I have played in city leagues as well. It's fun to see the different levels of competition in both leagues. In one of the city leagues I was able to play with both brother and my dad. Who could ask for more? After a couple years in our church league I decided I wanted my own team. Rebel Scum was born. We have had several teammates come and go over the years but I cherish all of the time I as able to play on all those teams. All was good with my skills and learning and my love of baseball kept growing throughout all of this. Then, two years ago something happened that I thought would change my personal attachment with baseball. During a game in out fall softball league I took off from third base and tore my left calf muscle. I've never, ever, felt anything that painful.  After that I stepped away from baseball/softball. I figured I was done playing and that I would just enjoy watching my son develop and play. So, that's what I did. I started helping my son develop, well, as much he would let me help anyway. It was during all this that I decided I wanted to coach. Help young adults improve there game to make it at the next level. I want to go back to school and get a sports management degree and try to make it work. Which is kind of where I am now.

I've left out all the times I've been to St. Louis for games. College World Series trips with my dad and brother, and more recently my son. Then playing softball again this year, in three leagues. Probably having one of the best years I've had playing offensively. Crazy. 

Within all of this I thank God, my parents, my brother, my wife Connie, and everyone else who has had an influence on me or encouraged me to play this game. Without your support I would have probably given this up years ago. 

In my opinion there is no other game like baseball. Not even close. I look forward to seeing my son play in high school this year. To see how he has progressed. I'm hoping in the months to come I get the opportunity to go back and get my degree. Until then I will practice my skills and pass on what I've learned.

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