One Last Shot – Season 4, Post 2: Winter Reflections
by Paul Semendinger
February 3, 2021
I don’t know. Sometimes I think I’ll never fully grow up. I’m 53-years-old and I still think (or dream) (or hope) that the Yankees might give me a shot. I’ve never given up the dream that my nine-year-old self started dreaming.
I want to play big league baseball. I dream it all the time. Still.
I always have a catch with my dad on Father’s Day. My dad is 83. Yes, he can still throw. It’s amazing. He can throw and catch. I hope I’m still throwing and catching at 83.
Last Fathers’ Day, as he threw to me, my dad said, “You think the Red Sox could use me?”
I guess he’s still dreaming too.
This apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
I don’t just dream. I work hard to live my dreams.
I work hard to try to be the best principal in every way I can.
I work hard to be a writer.
I work hard to be a great husband and dad and son and so much more…
I give everything I do my best efforts.
I can’t stop.
It’s who I am.
I strive for excellence in everything. (I fall short 99.9% of the time, but still, I strive.)
A few times a week, all winter long, I do some light stretches, I get my body warmed up, and I go into my basement and pitch baseballs (yes real hard baseballs) into a net.
I throw and throw and throw some more. I pitch as if I was outside and as I get warmed up I throw the ball as hard as I can – as if I was pitching outside.
I love that net, it catches everything.
I don’t throw for most of October, November, or December, but as soon as Christmas passes, I’m throwing again. I started this training program (one I designed for myself) last year when my boys gave me this net for Christmas.
I turn the music up loud and start pitching, over and over again. Bucket after bucket of balls. 25 pitches per bucket. Then 25 more. On and on. I throw harder and harder. I work my curve ball (or what I think, or hope, is a curve ball). I try new deliveries and new ideas.
I throw and throw and throw.
On and on and on… and into forever.
I turn the music up loud and as I’m throwing, I am also driving my family crazy.
(I’m sometimes not the easiest guy to live with.)
I know the Yankees won’t come calling, but I’m unwilling to fully admit that.
I’ll be pitching for two baseball teams this year and the season is coming soon.
I’m not a great pitcher. Most times I’m probably not even a good pitcher, but there isn’t anyone who tries harder, who gives it more than I do.
If I’m going to play ball, there is only one way I know, by working to be the best I can be, however good or bad I am.
If I’m going to fail, and I fail a lot, I’ll fail while daring greatly.
I’m not great at succeeding, but I am great at daring greatly.
To me, life is all about giving it everything we have.
I don’t want to wake up in a year, or in ten years, or fifty years (at 103-years-old) and say, “I wish I had tried harder.”
That would kill me.
There can be no regrets if we give it all that we have whenever we can.
I know the Yankees won’t come calling.
I know they won’t. They’d never want me or need me.
But, still, they might…