It feels close
I’m closing in. I know it. Sometimes where you want to be feels very far away. Other times you can feel it all around you, like your next step could take you right there. The best times, however, are when you want to be where you are in that exact moment, plus you’re aware of your desire to experience it fully. The past week and a half I’ve had an energizing feeling of being close to where I want to be. I’m not sure exactly how this new feeling started, whether it was because of San Francisco, spring slowly arriving, the daylight savings change, the conclusion of my lifting program, or my first baseball practice of the year, but regardless, it feels great. The thought puts a smile on my face.
When I say where I want to be, I suppose I should specify where that exactly is. It isn’t necessarily specific though. It’s just the things I want to escape from in the moment. For months now I’ve wanted to escape my job, the cold, the dark, my hurt arm, and my not playing baseball.
*An aside: The real truth is that you want to be exactly where you are. That’s the only place that’s real. That’s the only place that’s true. Anywhere else is only an illusion. I have a habit of day dreaming about the things I want to accomplish, places to visit, and situations in which I’ll go beast mode. It’s all a lie. Now is all there ever is so it’s all you could ever want. Okay, now back to my ego-identified self’s version of life…
I’ve been having day dreams of July, when it’ll be warm and sunny. I won’t be working my job anymore (I decided I’m leaving at the end of June), my arm will be healthy, and I’ll be pitching on a summer baseball team. On top of that I’ll be signed by an Australian team and know where I’ll be going at the end of August. Life will be perfect. Well that’s how the day dream goes anyway. In recent days that day dream has felt more real than it ever has. I’m not sure if it is becoming more real, but I do know I’ve been appreciating the things I like and enjoy to a greater extent in recent days. As I left work one evening I wasn’t wearing a coat and 30 seconds into my walk to the parking garage it hit me. IT’S SO FUCKING NICE OUTSIDE. I can’t truly describe why being outside when it’s a comfortable temperature feels so incredible. I skipped a little bit. A huge smile spread across my face. Is this what a long winter does to you? Or is there something hard wired into every cell of our body that craves the temperate outdoors?
The weather has got me going, but other factors contribute to this new found energy and hopefulness. Like I mentioned in my previous post, my workout plan the past couple of months focused around the Smolov squat program. It worked. I hit 320lbs in my first max out rep and it felt easy. Then, I put up 325lbs no problem. My front squat 1-rep max is now at least 325lbs. That blows my mind. The culmination of 4+ months of hard work fills my soul up to the brim. I started a more holistic baseball program in the weight room this past week and will use that to increase my baseball specific explosiveness as much as possible before heading overseas. Power cleans are the most significant exercise in the new program. I power cleaned a couple of times since my injury, very light, yet my physical therapist continued to advise against it so I haven’t done it since October. On Monday I did 5 sets of 5 reps at 135lbs. Back to the basics. I’m used to hang cleaning so the power clean form seems alien to me. My timing will improve in the coming sessions and I’ll be interested to learn what about it/when it will click for me. In November 2014 I hang cleaned 240lbs. I have no idea what my max is right now, but I want to get up to 275lbs with the power clean by the end of July. Very ambitious. I am capable. This new energy makes anything possible.
A week ago I participated in a baseball practice for the first time since last March. A manager from one of the summer leagues around here hit me up asking if I’d like to come out for a practice so he could see me play. I left work a little early to get there in time and could barely contain my excitement. I don’t think I could’ve stood still even if my life depended on it. The practice wasn’t anything like what I was used to in college, I mean it is for an adult recreational summer league team after all, so what should I’ve expected? I was the only one to do a dynamic warm-up, no out in in/out so I played 1st base (complete LOL), and BP consisted of soft toss from behind the pitcher’s mound. No one knew how to give good soft toss either, you get right up close to the batter and go down-up, rhythmically, so the batter can time it. These guys were kneeling 15 ft away from the guy and tossing it like they wanted to surprise you. WTF. A moment like that made me appreciate just how much I take for granted baseball-wise, just because I grew up playing very competitive baseball and continued that throughout college.
My emotions were running wild like stallions through the plains below the Rockies during the practice. I did a little flat ground to a catcher with a batter in the box and threw maybe 4 out of 20 strikes. Had the catcher running all over the place to pick the ball up. Everyone was watching me and I sucked. Very humbling, but not entirely unexpected. I hadn’t thrown to a catcher or to a batter since the injury so honestly just being able to do it with my arm feeling good and the ball coming out well for some of the throws is a positive sign. The manager of the team was the one catching me and in a message he sent me a couple days later he even said, “strangely enough I feel pretty good about your ability to pitch (even though I was running to the backstop lol)”. Overall, it was a joy to be back out on the field with a healthy body. The sun set early that afternoon, but now daylight savings has hit. I saw a beautiful sun set sky at 7pm one evening this week. The days are getting longer. The first day of spring is tomorrow. My spirit soars. And foreign teams are replying to my emails!! I always believed the dream was attainable, despite all the challenges I’ve faced, yet when you get real life encouragement it makes that belief in yourself feel as hard as a diamond instead of vaporous, like fluid you have to be constantly working to bottle up in order for it to exist.
As if I didn’t already have enough reasons to believe in serendipity (which will be the subject of my next post) and the universe giving you exactly what you need exactly when you need it, I found out this week that Gareth Emery is dropping a new album on April 1st. The album is called ‘100 reasons to live’ and it comes out exactly a year after I hurt my arm.
That injury completely crushed my world at the time. It destroyed my sense of identity. It sucked the energy out of the vibrant way I had been hitting life. Since then I have found out how to be happy without baseball. Though I haven’t throw a pitch since April 1st, 2015, there have still been tons of moments filled with joy in my life in the past year. I don’t need baseball. Baseball is a vehicle. The tank is almost full again. The open road lies ahead.