There are days in shoulder surgery rehabilitation that made me feel as if I was in a deep, dark hole that I couldn’t escape from. I would drive to the baseball field each day, yet never be able to step on it. I could hold a baseball, yet only for shoulder exercises. I could watch other guys run out there and toss the ball around, take ground balls, throw bullpens, and pitch in games. However, I couldn’t. The game that I love so much was taken from me. Slowly but surely I dug myself out of that hole. I scratched and clawed my way back. Little daily victories, followed by weekly victories, followed by monthly ones. I slipped and fell a few times on my way back out of that dark hole. I hit the ground hard, but got back up and started scratching and clawing again. There was only one option for me. To overcome. To play baseball again. I wasn’t going to let anything stop me.
When something takes a year to accomplish or to overcome, it can be discouraging. When you are a professional baseball player, a year is a long time. Missing almost an entire season the previous year, and two months of the current season is not something that you want to happen. You show up to the complex in Arizona every day, doing shoulder exercises, working out, maybe playing catch. Then, you graduate to bullpens, live batting practices, and eventually game action. All the while, your teammates and friends are out at affiliates playing. They are doing the single thing you’ve wished you could do for a year now. It can be quite discouraging if you let it. It can be painful to watch toward the beginning of shoulder rehab, knowing that you still have a long way to go. That is all going to change for me very soon. So long as there are no major setbacks in my progress, I’ll be toeing the rubber in a real game within weeks!
“Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become, the hours of practice, the coaches who push you, and the fans who cheer for you, is the boy who fell in love with the sport and never looked back. Play for him.”
I wanted to write a quick entry today and wish you all a very happy Easter Sunday! I hope that you enjoy spending time with family and friends. It’s tough to gather Easter traditions as a ballplayer. Each year, we are either in a different city or moving to a different city. Usually our families are at home and we make the best of the situation we are in. Since I’ve been in professional baseball, my wife has always done a great job making sure that holidays during the baseball season aren’t forgotten. It’s a guarantee that at the very least, I’ll have a little Easter basket with some of my favorite candies in it. That’s what it is all about to me. If you don’t have holiday traditions, make them! It’s never too late to begin making memories!