Tuesday, February 21, 2006

If You See My Boys

Baseball spring training began last week. One of my friends that coaches in the Baltimore Orioles organization sent me an email that said ‘”See ya when the seasons over.”
Today I am looking out a fog enveloped window at a 35 degree Texas day. The day is gray, devoid of sunshine, one of those days that if you don’t purposively work at keeping your chin up, then the drabness of it all can drop your emotions into a red zone of ‘who cares about anything anyway’ sort of funk. It’s not baseball weather outside my window.

Those two emotions sit heavy on my mind today. I am 4 years removed from coaching my last select baseball team. I coached for many years and there are times I am glad its over and other times that I miss the coaching scene. Today I miss it. But truth being brought forward, I should say I miss the baseball players.

Isn’t that what life ends up teaching us? It’s the people that spin the world? Everything that happens on a baseball field is directly linked to the action of an individual. Every game winning home run I ever witnessed, the soar of the ball and the exultation of knowing victory was wrapped inside it’s disappearing arc, had a baseball student on the business end of the bat. Every remarkably pitched game, hitter after hitter being dispatched back to the dugout, had a baseball student at the delivery end of the pitch.

Can I miss the game? Maybe. But the game cannot play itself. And so I know down deep inside it’s not the game I miss.

The photo I attached is a picture of yours truly and three of my athletes. We are sitting in a hotel room during a road trip after a game some six years ago. The young man on my right is a recent graduate of Princeton, living and working in NYC. The boy on my left with his arm around me is also a recent graduate. University of Miami. He’s working in a televison station. The one behind me was a draft choice of the San Diego Padres.

So many kids and so many stories. One became a first round draft choice of the Houston Astros. Fourteen from that last year went on to play college baseball on scholarships.

They called me Coach; and they still do when they call or come by.

I think about them on days like this.

I search for a lesson to learn. Should I sit and miss them?

Or maybe I should learn to love more reverently those that surround me today; knowing today will be tomorrow’s memory?

I stood in the third base coaching box giving signals to the hitter.

Then I pulled my lineup card from my back pocket to plan my next move.

I glanced down to the bullpen to make sure my next pitcher was warming up.

Then I made a mistake.

I closed my eyes for only a second, and when I opened them again; they were gone.

All of them.

Today I miss them and I wish I had never closed my eyes.

Spring training started last week.

If you see my boys, please tell them I miss them.


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12 Comments:

Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

That was a very touching post...:)

And, as sappy as this sounds, they are never really that far away. You said you made a mistake...that you closed your eyes and they were gone. But I bet, if you close your eyes now, you can bring them right back, can't you? :)

February 22, 2006 at 7:10 AM  
Blogger Seven said...

Very philosophical...and comforting

February 22, 2006 at 7:32 AM  
Blogger Denny Shane said...

In a small way I can relate to what you are saying. But in a way you look at it in a philosophical and intelligent way. I am sure they have all at one time or another looked back and silently thanked you for the countless hours of friendship and coaching that contributed to who they are today.

And again, thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. I enjoy meeting new friends!

February 22, 2006 at 8:09 AM  
Anonymous Molly said...

Rick,
I have learned there is always a message threaded into every one of your posts. When I reached this sentence,
"Or maybe I should learn to love more reverently those that surround me today; knowing today will be tomorrow’s memory?",
I knew I had found the prize hidden in the cereal box.
I got up and went to hug my children.
Thanks, you are so right.

February 22, 2006 at 8:14 AM  
Blogger Seven said...

Denny,
Thanks for the kind words. I got to your page via Stacy the PQ. You live in Houston? Keep an eye on Hunter Pence the first draft choice of the Astros from a couple years back. He's one of 'My Boys'.

Molly,
OK. You nailed me. I'm busted.
Plese hug those kids for us all.

February 22, 2006 at 8:18 AM  
Blogger Denny Shane said...

I don't care what people say about Stacy the PQ... she has quality people reading her blog. (Is she laughing?)

Hunter Pence? Will do.

And before I forget, I enjoyed your article so much I've by passed all of the requirements and inducted you into the Members of the Not So Normal Club this morning. lol

February 22, 2006 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger Seven said...

Denny,
Thanks! I can assure you I have suitable abnormal credentials for such an aptly named club.

February 22, 2006 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

;)

February 22, 2006 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger Reach said...

Rick,
As I frequently come here to learn (and think), I find myself relating to you and your thoughts.
For me, todays thought is: as I look back on my previous "Coaches", who have guided my way into coaching, their lessons will live on through those I have coached. When it is time to pass the bat, I will, again, become the "bat boy" and watch those around me- with joy.
As you are probably aware, I miss flying, so I surround myself with those you still fly- there stories, now, become my adventures.

Reach

February 22, 2006 at 3:01 PM  
Blogger Seven said...

Reach,
I had a police chief that was fond of the question "Are you tracking with me?"
Meaning, 'am I running along the same line of thought' and 'are we understanding one another?'
And so...I'm tracking with you.

February 22, 2006 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Reach said...

Funny, Huh?
I get that same feeling, sometimes. Hey, it is the best way to learn, to fully understand.

Reach

February 22, 2006 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Dotm said...

Sure can tell how much you enjoyed working with the Team. There is nothing like working with kids of any age and watching them doing their best to please. You feel a great pride in your work watching them succeeding whether in winning games or just learning useful things. I felt that way watching all those great Cub Scouts and Scouts advancing from all they were learning. Great feeling being able to teach and being respected by those you are teaching. I can understand your missing the team members as I missed the scouting after working with them for 15 years.

February 23, 2006 at 10:25 AM  

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