Monday, June 13, 2011
I am not Nuke Laloosh
There I was. Standing on the mound. Feeling very exposed and staring down the batter who wanted nothing more that to smack that ball right at me with all of their might.. A control pitch batter.
Control pitch batter? Yup, some of the toughest 7 - 9 year olds on the diamond who had torn the covers off a tee ball and now were looking to tear up my blazing fastball which clocked in at around 45 mph. Yesterday, marked the opening game of the season, and by my own dumb luck or some complex scheme by the other dads who were coaching, there I stood on the mound. It's one thing to volunteer at practice to throw BP, but its quite another to be standing out there with kids you dont know fielding the ball and the eyes of parents on both sides who haven't seen a practice yet looking to see if you can serve up a fat butterball of a pitch for the kid to hit. No pressure right?
Of course there was no pressure. I mean I had beaned several of the kids in practice as I tried to time their swings and guide the ball in their to meet their bat speed in my initial attempts. After seeing that may not be the best course of action, I settled into going by the mantra, "baseball is supposed to fun" and throwing the ball in there with the hopes that the kids could get their timing down and crush the ball. For those that were having some difficulty with the bat meeting the ball, we came up with cool visualizations like, "think of it like a Barbie doll" and WHACK...there went the ball.
Well, the pressure did get to me a little bit and I might have accidentally beaned a kid in the ankle, but after that it was smooth sailing. Not really. I honestly felt bad when a couple of the kids didn't make contact and there I was thinking, " oh man, please don't strike out the side. That would be bad." What kind of parent would do that? Luckily, the kids made contact and saved me.
As I sit here today with a drooping shoulder, hopped up on Motrin, and applying ICY HOT like suntan lotion after my first pitching duty in a game, I wouldn't have it any other way.