In Fields of Dreams

The beginning of spring training is right around the corner, and this is the time of year I usually start having baseball dreams.  The dreams usually involve me pitching some kind of masterpiece, and then I wake up with a warm glow that is quickly dispelled when I realize that I am awake and it has been almost as many years since I threw my last pitch (17) as my age when I threw said last pitch (19).

I’ve had to get used to the fact that the inner workings of my shoulder look like Dresden after the firebombing, but have I really gotten over it?  It’s one thing to get older and have to put the trappings of youth aside, but I didn’t get to go out on my terms and that has always bothered me.  It wasn’t my decision to hang ’em up.  My body betrayed me and my college coach didn’t have room on the roster for a guy who had lost serious velocity and needed all the ice on Baffin Island to recover from a 30 pitch bullpen session.

amherstgamesmall

From the Springfield Republican, April 28, 2012

 I went into a serious 6 month bout of depression when I realized I had finally reached the end.  I stopped getting out of bed before 3 pm and filled the hours between waking and passing back out with as much drinking as I could manage without ending up in the hospital.  It was easily two years before I could even watch a baseball game again.  I couldn’t get through a single inning without feeling a crushing sadness that was far worse than anything I’d ever felt after the breakup of a romantic relationship.  In a way, baseball was the most serious relationship I’d had up until that point.  Women baffled me, but baseball I understood.  And then, after a championship season in the Tri-County League, there was a steep, puzzling decline and it was over by October.

Last night’s dream was pretty typical.  I couldn’t tell what team I was playing for, but I threw a no hitter.  I stayed in the dream long enough to receive congratulations and adulation from teammates, fans and even my opponents.  I was walking back to my car with my gear bag slung over one shoulder and my spikes in my left hand, when suddenly I was back in the present and staring at the ceiling of my bedroom.  I couldn’t do anything but sigh and remember for the umpteenth time that it was over.

~ by schlippo on February 11, 2014.

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