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  • Paul Semendinger

The Specialness of Having a Catch

by Paul Semendinger, Ed.D.

May 28, 2022


This might sound silly, but I believe that having a catch is one of the most special things in the world that can take place between two people. There’s something very special about having a catch. I’ve never quite been able to put it to words.

In my novel, Scattering the Ashes, there are a few times in the story when various characters have a catch. That's purposeful. I think having a catch matters.

I love having catches with my sons. One of the things we do most often when we go to the beach is have a catch. There have been entire summers when I haven’t gone in the ocean, but there’s never been a visit to the beach where I didn’t have a catch with my boys.

And I love that I can still have a catch with my dad. We do that every year on Fathers' Day.

Some might recall that a few years ago, my Mom and Dad and I went all the way to Iowa just to have a catch at the Field of Dreams.

Yeah, having a catch matters.

When I was in Japan in 2012, we had a home visit with a Japanese family. The father and I couldn't communicate much since we didn’t speak the same language, but I saw a few baseball gloves, and soon he and I went outside to have a catch. It brought us closer together in a profound way. That catch, in an alley behind his home in Inami, remains one of my most treasured memories from a very special trip.

A few years ago, when my old college roommate was having a tough time, I drove out to East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania just so he and I could have a catch. I think it helped.

Last year I was having a not so great day. A parent who I had been talking to said to her husband that “Dr. Sem seems frustrated.” The dad called me and asked, “Wanna have a catch?” We did, right outside my office. It know it made all the difference.

To me tossing a baseball with someone else is something very special.

And then there was my catch with Darryl Strawberry...

And that was a dream come true.

I'd never before had a catch before with a big leaguer, let alone a Yankee. I always wished to be able to do that. As we tossed the ball, Darryl said something along the lines of "Hey you can really throw.” I'm going to hold those words close to my heart forever.

When I told my parents about all of this, they asked me how long the catch lasted. I told them that I didn't know. And I don't. Time didn’t exist for me just then. It might have been a minute. It might have been three. It might have been ten. I really don't know... But in a way I do.

That catch lasted forever. I'm still living it as I write this. And I'll live it a million times more. Forever, and always.

When we give something meaningful, we’re giving more than a thing or a moment. We’re giving a memory. I will re-live that memory often and always:

“Hey, did I ever tell you about the time I had a catch with Darryl Strawberry?”

It might seem silly that tossing a ball in the air between two people can me that much to me. But it does.

It means a ton. And it means so much more.

For a moment... I was a big leaguer.

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