Sorry that I haven't had time to post more this week, but that's the drawback of having two jobs. I wanted to write about Tuesday's All-Star Game but I only saw the last 2-3 innings. Oh well. The following is a column I wrote in the "Chimes" in the beginning of April. Enjoy:
I quit the baseball team in the fall. It was the best and worst decision I’ve made in my life.
I told myself that by quitting, I could focus more on academics, on work, on writing for the “Chimes”. I could enjoy spending more time with my friends and perhaps even find that ever-elusive girlfriend. Most of all, I could finally relax.
And yet, not a day goes by where I don’t long to be back on the mound, squinting in for the catcher’s sign and firing in my 76-mph heater. I miss the camaraderie of being around the team and going through the ups-and-downs of the season. Most of all, I missed the competition.
Any truly successful athlete (or in my case, moderately successful) can tell you that competing and defeating another team or individual provides a great thrill, a great rush. And for me, 3-on-3 pickup games with friends just didn’t cut it anymore. I needed to get back out onto the playing fields and prove myself again.
So I joined the golf team. Never mind that I never played on my high school team, that my scores were more reflective of Wilt Chamberlain’s greatest output (100 points) than Tiger Woods (61), and my lone rounds of competitive golf were dollar-a-hole with my friends.
I practiced with Coach Kline twice before my first tournament. With a changed swing and a positive attitude, I felt nervous but eager to make my intercollegiate debut.
Unfortunately, there were no fairy-tale endings for this sports writer, only lost balls and triple bogeys. I won’t reprint my score here, but let’s say that it shattered Chamberlain’s NBA scoring record. Much like The Fray, I was in “Over My Head” in that first tournament.
Still, the beauty of sports gives me another chance to repeat after a failure. I played much better in my second tournament; a 36-hole excursion at the Columbus Country Club that left me sunburned, fatigued and yet smiling from ear-to-ear. I had been knocked down but got up to answer the bell, as I will continue to do for the rest of the season.
At the end of his baseball memoir “Ball Four”, former pitcher Jim Bouton said "You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out it was the other way around all the time." And to me, his statement rings true.
Even though I will always remain a baseball player at heart (I wear my Capital baseball hat when golfing), I am embracing the competitiveness and challenges of golf at the collegiate level. Judging by my current caliber of play, I follow a quote from another famous baseball player, Hank Aaron.
“It took me seventeen years to get 3,000 hits in baseball,” Aaron said. “I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.”