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One Last Shot – Season 3, Post 4: Finally, I Hope…

by Paul Semendinger

May 1, 2021

***

It’s not easy.

It’s just not easy.

All my life, all I have really ever wanted to do was play baseball. From the moment I first saw the Yankees playing ball, I knew what I wanted to be when I’d grow up.

Of course, it didn’t happen.

I didn’t have the skills. Not nearly. Not even close.

And life called me in a different direction, a better direction. I became a teacher, then a principal. I have no regrets. I know I have made classrooms and schools better places. I know I have changed many lives – hundreds, if not thousands – for the better. It’s been great. I have had a blessed life. I am fortune to have had the career I have had. It’s been a dream in so many ways.

But still, I dream of being a Yankee…

***

My baseball career ended as a JV high school player in 1985. I never made varsity.

Since 1990, I have been playing men’s softball. I’ve had a lot of success there. I love playing softball. Even at my age, 52 (soon to be 53) years-old, I am a shortstop. They still tell me that I’m pretty good. (You don’t let just anybody play shortstop…). I love playing softball.

But three years ago, I was offered the chance to play baseball.

Baseball!!!

As a pitcher.

I pitched six games that year. It was amazing. I even threw a complete game (9 innings). Best of all, my son Ethan was on the team and he was my catcher a few times. For a dad, nothing could be better.

Last year, I pitched in ten games. Again I threw a complete game. I also won my first game since the 1980s.

After a fun and great year though, I determined that 2021 would be even better.

I signed up for pitching lessons from a professional. I learned how to throw a real curve ball.

My sons bought me a net to throw into during the winter.

Beginning in December, I have been throwing, religiously, two to three times a week in my basement. 100+ pitches each time.

I lost more than 20 pounds through a change in diet and a rigorous exercise program.

I couldn’t wait for Opening Day – April 11.

It rained.

I was forced to wait another week.

***

On Monday, April 12, I attended a Board of Education meeting. It’s something principals must do from time to time.

On Tuesday, April 13, our coach said that the upcoming game would be a double header. I was thrilled. TWO GAMES to start the season! FANTASTIC! I offered to pitch both ends. (I am that ready.)

On Wednesday, April 14, I was informed that a person at the Board Meeting who sat behind me, but within six feet, had contracted Covid. The district rule was clear, I was told that I had to quarantine.

I asked about baseball.

I got the cold answer I expected.

“No baseball.”

The games went on without me.

***

The next is all too predictable…

As I sat, healthy, in my home, my team played a double header.

Chris, one of my teammates and one of the nicest people I have ever known, ever, pitched Game 1. He went the distance and won. I was (and am) sincerely happy for him. What a dream! I know how it feels. He’ll be walking on Cloud Nine for weeks. It’s the best.

Our team then won the second game of the double header as well. Sam, also a good guy, a pitcher we picked-up last year, went the distance as well.

I’m thrilled for them. I really am.

But it did (and does) make me wonder if I’m even needed.

I keep waiting for the call that I have been put on waivers.

***

Last week it rained and there was no game.

***

I continue to workout and throw regularly. I am stronger now than I have been in decades.

We play again tomorrow!!!

It’s my Opening Day!

This might actually be my very last best chance…

***

Previous Season 3 Posts:

One Last Shot – Season 3, Post 1: This Time It’s For Real

One Last Shot – Season 3, Post 2: My Spring Training

One Last Shot – Season 3, Post 3: Back To Earth

***

Previous Season Posts:

Season One – The Complete First Season

Season Two – The Complete Second Season

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