Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Baseball Comeback?

SURPRISE: A post about someone other than my children or the cousins!

FIRST A LITTLE HISTORY: Most of you probably don't know much about my husband, Ryan. He grew up playing baseball in central Illinois farm country. He was a pitcher. His freshman year of college was probably his best year. He threw in the 90s and had major league scouts looking at him. His sophomore year of college he started having elbow and shoulder problems. I met Ryan at Liberty University. It's a Division 1 school and he was there on a baseball scholarship. I never saw him play in his glory days. I met him after shoulder surgery and an elbow surgery. He never really recovered from those injuries. Baseball has always been Ryan's passion and it's still in his blood to this day. That brings us to the present.

I'm not going to call this a "mid-life" crisis because he's a little young for that. I just think he's watched the Disney movie The Rookie a few too many times. For those of you who don't know, that's a movie about a 30-something who is a high school baseball coach. His high school players make a bet with him and he ends up going to a major league try out and he eventually plays in the major leagues. It's a true story, thus giving Ryan just a little glimmer of hope. So when Ryan's friend Graham, a baseball coach at Notre Dame, got him signed up to try out for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Ryan jumped at the chance to see if he still had it.

The kids and I arrived at the stadium at 8:54 am. The tryout started at 9am and I was sooo impressed with myself that I made it in time. We had to leave the house at 6:30am, which is never pleasant. Ryan spent the night there the night before so he would be well rested. As we were walking up to the stadium I decided to take a picture and my camera said NO MEMORY CARD. I just about had a heart attack. Ryan had been looking forward to this day for two months and I didn't have a memory card in the camera. Ugh! So I drove way too fast and found a Staples. Left the kids in the car (don't worry...I never do that...just in emergencies...and this seemed like an emergency to me), found a memory card, ran back to the car, raced back to the try out and I didn't miss a thing. I was back by 9:09am. Whew.

After about two hours of warming up, running sprints, catching, and throwing the ball around it was finally Ryan's turn to pitch. I was a little nervous for him. All the other guys were so much younger (like by a decade). I knew Ryan had no intention of signing a minor league contract (you know those guys make about $700 a month, not something a family could live on)he was really there to see how fast he could throw and because this sort of thing is really fun for him. He enjoys playing on a real field, not just a church softball field. He enjoys having other decent players around. Ryan had injured his wrist back in June, so I wasn't so sure how this would go, but he held his own. He was just as good as everyone else there, if not better. He had control the whole time and didn't throw any wild pitches. He was a little disappointed that he was only throwing in the low 80s. He said he felt tight and that he could tell he wasn't "bringing it" like he knew he could. All in all, I think he did great. It was a great experience for him and a fun day for all of us. Emma was totally disappointed that he didn't make the team, even though I kept telling her he wasn't going to, she still had faith in him :)

My favorite picture. Christian was really excited to see daddy on the big field.

You know I had to include a picture of the cheering squad. Emma had been practicing a cheer for Uncle Ryan for about two hours in the car, but then got too embarrassed to do it once we got there. They were both pretty happy eating a ton of snacks and Emma took Christian on lots of adventures. The stadium was relatively empty so they climbed mountains (up to the upper deck), explored caves (concession stands), etc.

This was one of the ways the kids stayed entertained. Christian was such a good sport. He must have bought 15 pretzels from Emma in her pretzel stand.

Look who was being happy even though she had been up since 5:30am!

We even brought our own camera crew. Suprise, suprise...we were the only ones with a camera crew. Todd and Kurt work with Ryan and came to check out the action and video tape Ryan so he can watch the tape and work on his skills. Apparently Ryan wants to do this next year. Oh my!

Our adventures continued on the trip home. This is Ryan's very, very flat tire. Thankfully it happened in a little town reminiscent of Mayberry. A gentleman put air in the tire for us and then pointed us down the road to a small service station. When we pulled in their were three older men sitting around drinking their coffee just waiting for someone to stop in. It took 10 minutes and $6.00 to fix. AMAZING!


Sarah said...

Wat to go Ryan! I don't think a dream should ever be left in the past if you feel like you still can do it. I am sure it was a ton of fun for Ryan to get out there and see what he still has!!!

Anonymous said...

That is so cool! Way to go Ryan!
Anna :)

Heather said...

SOunds like a fun day. Good for Ryan for getting out there with the "kids"! Judy, you are very kind to let him try that....I wouldn't let Kristian go anywhere near a professional sport try out...not after his ruptured achilles last September....

the*4*of*us said...

how fun!!! and what a cool thing to do!!! I'm sure he can't wait until C and M can play ball!!!

Katy said...

WOW - talk about a memory! Good for Ryan for going and doing it!! You just never know, right? What a fun day for him...and for Christian to be able to see him doing something he is passionate about! Awesome!

Heidi said...

Adam thought it was so neat that Ryan got to do this! It looked like a great day!! The athlete inside me still craves to do something competitively, guess I have to settle with coaching. :)

Anonymous said...

Baseball is my favorite sport and I love having a son-in-law who loves it too. Ryan, I think you need to get working on next year. If you need a coach or just an encourager, let me know! I want to come to the try-outs next time to cheer you on.
Love, Grandmom