The Play is the thing

Chantal Sutherland - 21

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,

Earl

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