The first day of high school baseball practice is brisk. It feels good to throw a baseball again. My arm takes longer to loosen up. (Remember that there was a time when concentrating solely on one sport wasn’t the norm. I played freshman and JV basketball.)
After upperclassmen, I’m third in line at shortstop during infield practice. Glove work has always been second nature: short hops, backhands in the hole, over-the-head pops to short left. I make a clean first play and accurate, yet weak throw to 1st.
As a freshman, I’m one of the last to take batting practice. As soon as I begin to take warm-up swings and stretch a bat behind my neck, I feel a searing sensation from shoulder-to-shoulder.
“Gotta knock out the cobwebs,” I think. With every swing at a phantom pitch, the pain returns.
Before I and a handful of others take our BP cuts, early spring darkness envelops the field. This would be a blessing for me.