I bought so many tickets to 2015 Lancaster Barnstormers games that I get to throw out the first pitch at one of their games and take batting practice with the team at another. I love the way that Lancaster makes me feel like a big fish in a small pond. This is a great opportunity for me. The only problem is that I suck at both pitching and hitting. Plus, I will probably be standing in front of a few thousand Barnstormer fans, and some friends, and I want to do well, but I don’t have any experience. I only played Cub Scout Softball as a kid. I never actually played hardball. So, I need a lot of practice.
It’s winter, and there is snow outside. So, I set up a little infield in my kitchen, and I pitch into a spring-loaded net in the laundry room that sometimes bounces the ball right back to me. They don’t all bounce right back to me, though, and sometimes even when they do, I miss them. So, I keep a big bag of tennis balls on “the pitcher’s mound” and I keep pitching until all the tennis balls are gone. Then I go around looking for them. Rarely do I find them all, so I wind up buying more every so often.
In an unsolicited testimonial, I have to say that those Penn brand tennis balls are worth the extra cost. They bounce well. The ones from the Dollar store, don’t bounce worth a damn. They always scoot under my glove. I no longer have the cat like reflexes of my youth, so I now require tennis balls with the most bounce.
I also bought a Hit-a-way thingee to let me practice my batting, but that has to be set-up outdoors, so I can’t use it until spring. I managed to jury rig a set-up that lets me swing at a stuffed sock hanging from the ceiling, though. I’ll hit that thing about 100 times a day – 50 right handed, and 50 left handed. It probably sounds like I’m beating a rug to death. I wonder what the neighbors above me think. I’ll be glad when spring gets here and I can take this “batting cage” outside. I figure that not having to worry about accidentally letting go of a bat and sending it through the television screen should really open up my swing a good bit.
The rotating of my hips while swinging the bat, is actually helping my arthritic hip regain a little more range of motion. It dawned on me, while pitching in a “virtual close game,” that playing is actually the best thing I can do to achieve better health.
I recently read a book called Play by Stewart Brown, M.D. He stressed the crucial importance of playing for both children and adults. It’s good to know that I am finally ahead of my times in something.
Peace and Love, and all of the above,
One thought on “The Play is the thing”
Earl, ever see the musical “Damn Yankees” on Broadway? There’s a great song—“Who’s Got The Pain.”