Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools!

April Fools! It is snowing! Yes, there is snow outside. Thanks Mother Nature for the joke. We get it...very funny...ha ha...let's move on to nicer weather, please!

This weekend begins conference competition. Therefore the team will stop at nothing to defeat their foes. This also means that the bench warmers will remain on the bench. Starters and most reliable players will enter the game. So, this is a pivotal weekend for Buddy. As a freshman, he will not start a game, yet, will he appear? I am not sure.

Anyone playing sports will share that they are on the team to play and not sit on the bench. Yet, everyone has to pay their dues and earn a coach's trust. The coach does not want to send a player out on a field because he likes them. The players have to prove that they are ready, prepared, and able to make a positive impact on the field. It is not something that happens immediately. In Buddy's case, his high school coach did not believe that he had any talent, despite Buddy's work ethic and abilities. In fact, the coach was shocked when college coaches approached him about Buddy's ability to pitch and play first base.

Even in elementary school, two coaches were interested in him attending their high schools. One coach spoke with his 8th grade teacher. Another called me and asked me to consider sending him to a high school 45 minutes from our home. Not wanting to hurt the guy's feelings, I told him that it was too far, no busing, etc. He all but promised to pick him up and drive Buddy to school every day. It was then time to "just say no" (thanks Nancy Reagan). The coach hung up and I never heard from him again.

While playing legion at the end of sophomore year, a college coach wrongly approached his team coach (they are not supposed to do that). He gave the coach his business card and said that he would be "watching" and to consider his school. Buddy had lots of options for Divisions 2 and 3, yet all he wanted was division 1. Letters arrived at the house asking him to complete a data base of his skills and interests and return them to the school. During his high school junior year, a coach with a radar gun suddenly appeared in front of the screen behind the catcher as Buddy threw a ball. Startled, the ball went into the dirt.

Coaches sent hand written notes which meant they were really really interested. As senior year approached, a school in Maryland called on July 1. July 1 is the first time that a coach could contact a player for the following year. Buddy was thrilled to have the attention as he waited for more calls to come. Sadly, no one of interest to him called until January of his senior year. In the mean time, he continued to play and showcase his talents as he regained his strength after a bout with Lyme disease.

With that said, the team of his dreams recruited him and he felt "at home". This was it. This is what he worked for and wanted. Now, as the season progresses, he is relegated to the bullpen. Only time will tell if he plays or wins the "Golden Splinter Award" for being a bench warmer. With the snow outside, I think that bench 'warmer' can be change to bench 'chiller' or bench 'cooler' or bench 'freezer'...something that indicates that he is there...sitting...watching....desperately wanting to play....has to stay calm...wait for the chance...put me in coach..please!

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