One week ago today, I got my face readjusted by a line-drive back up the middle. I have no concrete way of knowing but based on age-specific averages, the exit velocity of the baseball was probably between 68-75mph. I was probably about 25-30 feet away from the batter when the ball was hit but it would take a much smarter math wizard than I to figure out how much time I had between bat contact and face contact. (Hint: it wasn’t much)
Just to be clear, I was standing behind an L-screen and my entire body was behind it when the ball was struck. What I wasn’t aware of, was the small hole that had opened up between the netting and the pole that it was attached to right about face-height for a pitcher as they follow through with their motion. The ball found it and my maxillofacial bones without too much trouble.
I was immediately turned and dropped with a handful of blood and a gaggle of 7th grade boys running to my side to check on me. While it happened fairly quickly, I remember most of it quite vividly.
Since I’ve made it about seven days, I figured I’d document a few things I don’t want to forget going forward:
I am a lucky/blessed man. Depending on what your belief system is, I am fortunate on multiple fronts.
It could have been a lot worse. There’s a chance this story could have never been pinned and I’ve thought about that more than once.
I have people in my life who care deeply for me and I hope I never take that for granted. My wish is the same for each and every one of you… to have this and to know this (without enduring a similar experience). The calls, texts, food, prayers, emails, texts, calls, notes, kind words, hugs, etc. Y’all are awesome.
With all of it’s faults, we do have a pretty spectacular medical system in the United States; my journey isn’t over yet but the speed, the expertise, and the technology that I have seen over the last week has been pretty impressive.
People are understanding. Everyone has deadlines and needs but most I’ve dealt with have been understanding of my situation and provided grace as I return back to full speed.
Protein shakes aren’t that tasty. I’m looking down the barrel of a 6-week soft food diet and trying to find things to keep me from wasting away. I’ve tried a couple so far and I had a buddy bring me a new mixable powder today but I can’t say that I’m ready to go all-in on a liquid diet forever, just yet.
I didn’t realize how much I talked. Sorry all, maybe the next 6-8 weeks will train me to be a little slower to speak and quicker to listen. Strong verbs, short sentences. *
It was only a matter of time. It’s kind of morbid to think about but I’ve been climbing into batting cages (or fields, bullpens, sand lots) for over 11 years as a coach/father and you just have to figure with the law of averages that at some point, I was going to get hit. I’ve taken plenty of arm and leg shots, but I’m assuming this will be the one I remember the longest.
It wasn’t his fault. Note to self: You’ve reached out to both of his parents and will continue to do so, just help him to understand nothing about this was his fault. He hit a great ball and it was a total freak accident, don’t let him wear it.
I’ll be back. It’ll take a minute and I’m sure it will rattle me a little, but I love those dudes and that game too much not to saddle up and give it another go.
They know best and they mean well. There are days where your wife and your mom are probably right, even when you don’t agree with them. Let them be right sometimes.
I’ve never had orthodontia. But I guess now is as good of a time as any.
I turned down the plates and screws. It’s his job, it’s how he gets paid, obviously he’s going to recommend it. But I don’t have to do it. I’ll endure the protein shakes and mashed potatoes over metal and surgery. Sure hope I’m right.
Medical stuff wigs me out. Pretty sure that CT Scan shot lasers through my brain and I didn’t like it one bit.
Telling others is weird. Writing this post, telling people via text or phone, or generally sharing in any capacity feels odd. It feels like I’m bragging but I promise, I’m not. It’s why I haven’t posted on social media or anywhere else yet, I don’t want it to seem like I’m pandering for empathy. I know you care.
I’m glad it was me. Do you know how bad I would feel right now if I had one of my players throwing batting practice that night to the other ones? I don’t think I could sleep.
My business partner is a pretty solid dude. I’d have fired me long ago. He just rolls with it and continually picks up the slack.
“At least 3 fractures.” Bones (and our bodies) are crazy things. They break and then they heal. Hard for me to reconcile that fact with other theories out there.
I’m sure there’s more.
I’m re-adjusting. It’ll take time but I’ll get back to 100. If you want to see me in rough-ER-aftermath-shape, I’ve added a picture after the break. I don’t blame you if it’s not your thing.
I went on a bit of a tweet-tear this morning, might be easier to read in this form:
Youth sports is a machine now. It’s a money making engine. And it’s not just baseball; many of you parents do it for soccer, cheer, dance, lacrosse, swimming, basketball, etc.
I am fully aware that my family feeds into it.
There is a place for recreational sports, it doesn’t have to be ‘select’ or nothing.
My Saturday morning consisted of hosting Opening Day ceremonies for our local Rec program and it was amazing. The joy on the faces was contagious.
Parade of teams; first pitches; new uniforms; home run derby’s; T-ball kids running to the wrong base; and parents that were just excited to see little Johnny try something out.
Parents of young ones, if I have any advice, don’t look past those days.
Will there be a day that you need to move Johnny into something more competitive? Possibly. But I promise you, it’s entirely okay to allow them to play for fun.
Please don’t take the fun away. Not for an upgraded jersey or a $5 ring (or worse, your own bragging rights).
Let them dream of playing in the big leagues. Are their chances high? No. Do fractional statistics about their chances of playing SS for a living on the Yankees matter to a 10-year old? Nope. Encourage them to dream big.
Utilize team sports to teach lessons. Teamwork. Encouraging others. Dusting yourself (and others) off when you fail. Overcoming struggles and losses. Celebrating little and big wins. Building (and re-building) confidence.
I’ve seen it and said it 1 million times:
Parents ruin youth sports.
Don’t be that parent.
My rules for being a good sports (or other extra-curricular) parent:
1. Cheer for your player and their teammates.
Now, I admit that I break rule number 1. I don’t have it all figured out but I’m working on it. When I’m a grandparent, I’ll nail it.
When the game is over. Tell them you love them and that you enjoyed watching them play. Mean it.
They’re going to strike out. They’re going to make errors. They’re going to *insert every mistake you can think of for your preferred sport*.
Tell them you’re proud of them.
Some of the best lessons my boys have learned have come from things that have happened in the participation of activities with others. I’m thankful for those lessons, some of which I can’t teach on my own.
However, there are a couple I can teach; your mileage may vary…
Lessons that I have on my plate to teach them:
1. Love God
2. Know that God loves you.
3. Love your neighbor.
4. Know that your family loves you.
If I can get them to understand those, the rest has a good chance of working itself out.
If I ever make it my goal of teaching them that their worth is based on their performance, I failed. (And trust me, I have)
“I love you and I enjoyed watching you play.” – dad
If you can do that, you’re gonna nail being a sports parent.
My apologies, this tweet storm probably would have been a little more suited for an email or a blog post.
I guess the moral of the story is this: baseball is fun. Go play catch with your kid (or do whatever else it is that they love to do).
I originally thought this would work well as a tweet. It ended up being a little long for that.
Last week was Spring Break for our kids. It wasn’t in the cards for us to do a big SB trip but we also didn’t want the boys to not have anything the whole week, either. We opted for a few days of mixed rest, chores, and play for them and them and then Melanie and I both took Friday off to hang and do a bit of a stay-cation date with them. If you’re local to DFW and wanting to pull one of your own off, here’s our itinerary and my feedback:
9:30a La La Land Coffee (Oak Lawn)
Cool spot. Lots of yellow. Plenty of parking behind the building. Wait was probably 15 mins from entry to getting coffee. Limited seating inside and tables were totally full, had to get it to go. Cohen got some sort of “campfire” drink that was pretty cool — they dropped some marshmallow cream on top and cooked it with a torch, crumbled graham crackers, etc.
10:30a OSO Climbing Gym (Design District)
If I could figure out how, I’d give this 4.5 stars. I had a blast and I think the boys did as well. Melanie enjoyed it but I don’t think it’s going to be her “thing.” OSO is a ‘bouldering’ gym only which means that there are no harness or ropes, just shorter walls that you climb down or jump off when you’re done and mats at the bottom. OSO was welcoming and friendly; the place was super-clean; they were cool with the boys being there; and I felt zero judgement from anyone. They had ‘routes’ for everyone from beginners to experts. We just bought day-passes which gave us access to everything but if I was 10 years younger and 10 miles closer, they might have been able to talk me into a membership. Lessons learned: (more…)
At the time of this writing, I’ve been married over 21 years. I bought this hat in college, prior to getting married, meaning that I’ve owned it for more than 21 years. As you can see, it’s been worn a couple times.
The bill shows signs of wear. A frayed edge; exposed guts; sweat rings; a faded autograph. There’s paint on it. The blues are muted and the whites definitely aren’t white when you set it next to something that is.
I don’t wear it that much anymore. Sometimes I’ll pull it out of the closet and toss it on backwards. The barrelled curve of the bill isn’t as trendy as it used to be, but more than that, it’s a little hard to finagle when wearing with my glasses. I’ve mowed in it. I’ve surfed in it. I’ve rescued it just before sinking to the bottom of the lake on a summer day. I’ve worn it to baseball games. I’ve tucked it under my leg while riding my motorcycle knowing that when I took my helmet off I would want something to hide the craziness of helmet-hair.
On the back, it has a ‘1974’ embroidered on it. It’s a commemorative hat. April 8, 1974 was the day that Hank Aaron hit career home run number 715, passing the mark set by Babe Ruth. Hammerin’ Hanks record (755) stood for another 30 years (and if you ask some purists, still stands today).
The lower case ‘a’ on the front is a throwback to the one worn by the Atlanta Braves in the 70’s. Today’s version is a capital ‘A’, sometimes combined with a tomahawk.
There’s controversy with the name. There’s precedence for change. The Football Team went first and then the Guardians. One has to wonder how much longer before the Braves become the Vipers, or the Pine Trees, or the all encompassing Team of Baseball Players. (more…)
This is a public plea to @melanieross to let me buy this place in Bjarkøy, Norway. I bet the weather is terrible. And the sun shines for like 3 hours per day. And the food would cause my stomach to do backflips. But those all seem like minor hurdles to owning this slice of heaven.