Growing up, I always wanted to be a baseball player. Something about the grass, dirt, well-oiled broken in leather, sunshine and sunflower seeds really appealed to me. So I had my parents sign me up for the local baseball association. I get to my first practice and the coach asks me where I want to play. I chose pitcher, not knowing that many years down the road (today), I chose that position because I love to be in control of situations. Other than a QB, no other position in sports allows you to control or impact a game that much individually. So my "career" was born.
Fast forward a few years, because a pitcher in tee ball really didn't pitch, they just stood on the mound kicking dirt. My first year in fast pitch, I was finally given the opportunity to pitch. Watching pitchers like Doug Drabek and John Smiley for the Pirates, I learned a few things and wanted to mimic them. Smiley had a great curveball, which was a pitch I wanted to add to my 1-pitch repertoire to that point (a fastball). How did I do it? I asked my grandfather to take me into the backyard and teach me. He told me it was probably not good for my arm, but I could definitely see the joy in his face of wanting to teach me something impactful. So every day for the next 2 weeks, we were out there throwing back and forth, him acting as catcher and me pitcher, thinking I was "striking" batters out with every pitch thrown. It is probably the greatest memory I have of my grandfather, I can still smell the dandelions and fresh cut grass from his back yard.
Today, I am no baseball pitcher, but I still appreciate the position more than any other. There's nothing like a day at the ballpark. And yes, I can still throw that curve ball.