It has been a long time since I have had this feeling. Walking off the mound after throwing a complete game…head held high, fans cheering, hugging my catcher, shaking hands with teammates…that feeling of pride in what you just accomplished. I remember those days though. That feeling in my stomach after the game was over…winning…giving it my all and conquering whatever life threw at me. Baseball was life. Pitching every week was the dream.
I remember the feeling of walking out from the dugout under those bright lights when the game would start. Feeling the crunch of my cleats on the cement…the transfer to the dirt…then to the grass…and those final steps when I would walk up the mound. The deep breath…the windup…the warmup pitches…and then watching the hitter step into the box. I would look through him…then were he was setting up…then to my catcher. The sign. The nod. The pitch.
My senior year of H.S. was probably one of the most memorable years of baseball I had in my entire career. Going up against the best players in a fantastic league…and holding my own. But it wasn’t as much about the accomplishments as it was about my mind. I remember that despite the injury in my elbow…the day that I was starting the game was my day. It didn’t matter which team we were playing. I had this confidence. I was stained with it. Not arrogance…but supreme belief in myself. That I was going to go onto the mound that day…and absolutely pick apart every single hitter on their team. I knew I could do this…because I had prepared each and every week for this moment.
I’d grip the seams…and put myself behind each pitch.
I said it has been a while since I have had that feeling of being under the lights and performing. Well, today, that feeling has started to brew in my stomach again. That anticipation before the game. I has been about four years since I have had this feeling in me…and now it has nothing to do with pitching. It has to do with something much much greater. The launching of a dream. As I sit in bed looking at the final product of my first book on my desktop…I realize that in those 265 pages…there is something magical. Something I can’t really explain to you fully. We could talk about specific posts and what they meant to me for days…but the overarching sense that I get from seeing this product in its entirety is beyond my words. It is beyond me.
We are here…bottom of the 9th…2 outs…game 1-0. I can feel the seams in my heart. I can look back and remember the days of throwing the ball around the yard with my beloved dog. I can remember my past…where I have come from…what I have been through…the victories…the great defeats…and here I am, that feeling of anticipation to finally walk out again into the lights and throw another beautiful game.