** A NOTE FOR ALL THE SENIORS OUT THERE * * *
I’ve spent 70 years chasing the game I love. I played every weekend, vacation and summer until I was 85. I collected memories, trophies and battle scars. And then, in one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. I walked away. I felt certain that it was the best for me and on most days, I believed I was right.
One day you will step out on the field for the last time. One day you will unite your shoes for the last time. One day you’ll put a glove into your bag and it will be there for rest of time. One day your tan will fade. You’ll forget about the feeling of the seams under your fingers. You’ll struggle to remember what it feels like to hit the perfect pitch. You will meet the teammates once or twice a year instead of every day. You will not slide into second. One day you will be on the other side of the fence.
One day, this won’t be your life anymore. And when you don’t, you won’t remember what you thought. You won’t know how many errors of mistakes you’ve made. You won’t be impressed with how many home runs you hit. You won’t care about your average or your ERA. For the most part, you won’t remember the wins or the losses.
After your last has come and gone, you’ll recall the times when you wanted to give up-but didn’t. You’ll miss the teammates (and family) you’ve loved along the way. You’ll remember playing in the cold, driving rain, snow and the unbearably hot days. You’ll remember the hotels and the eight-hour rides to get there. You’ll remember the early practices and the late games. You will miss the coaches who never gave up on you. But most of all you’ll remember the happiness that comes only from being in between the two chalk lines, the batters box. You will remember the moments when you did more than you believed you could. You will remember the times when you used every little bit of your God-given talent.
One day, this won’t be your life anymore. So for today, run as fast as your feet will take you. Whether it was a bouncer to the pitcher or it jumped of the fence in the field to the left. Today, swing as hard as you can. Commit to each pitch and give it all you have. For today, make all plays as if this were your last chance. Today, play because you want to. Play because you need to play. Play for the boy you used to be that loves this game all those years ago.
In today’ day, do not stop until the last pitch is thrown. Play with pieces of your heart and drop them all on the pitch. One day, this won’t be your life anymore. When that day comes, make sure you don’t change or regret anything.