Saturday, July 18, 2009

There's No Crying In Baseball....

I have neglected to blog all week! This wave of laziness is shameful. Despite the fact I am on summer vacation, I found myself insanely busy all week. Additionally I suffered two days of tummy icky-ness and all I wanted to do was lay around and mindlessly navigate Facebook! Yes...there it is...the REAL reason I have neglected the blog. It's Facebook. I believe anyone who has experienced Facebook will not deny the culpability of that wicked little site. (Of course...I am in no way responsible for my own behavior!) Thank you, dear blog, for allowing me back in spite of my capricious nature.
Today I celebrate baseball! I also celebrate the fact that I am summoning up the courage to write about something of which I know very little about. Why baseball? occurs to me this entire week was filled with some sort of baseball or softball like activities. It is my understanding this was All-Star Week? (I end that statement with a question mark because I am hoping one of you boys can validate this fact.) No, I didn't watch any of it but I did notice a lot of "boy chatter" on Facebook about what I can only imagine was related to All-Star Week and/or some sort of Fantasy Baseball League? (Again the question mark....someone please validate!)

Additionally I have been giving a lot of thought to the "mechanics" of baseball. I realize this statement is likely baffling to most of my readers. Allow me to explain. As you all know many athletes have begun to incorporate Pilates into their fitness program....for a number of reasons. (That is a topic for another blog at another time. Look to the right and click on Pilates if you are interested in knowing more about it.) Some time back my mother and I attended a workshop specific to Pilates and golf. As a result my mom has built a solid "Pilates for Golf" program as a part of her Pilates instruction. She instructs approximately 8 female golfers twice weekly and each of them has seen their game improve by about 20-30 additional, STRAIGHT-er yards! I subbed a few of her classes last month and I was excited by her golf classes. I played golf in high school. NOW...let me be 100% honest and say that I was terrible. However, I am at least familiar with the "golf swing" which is ultimately helpful in trying to teach specific Pilates principles related to the game of golf. I have swung at the ball a couple of times since I became a Pilates instructor. It must be said....I can connect with loads more consistency if I address the ball with fundamental Pilates principals in mind.

Last weekend I decided to take myself out for a drink prior to meeting some of my friends at a bar. I love hotel bars and it just so happens that my favorite hotel bars is less than 2 minutes from my house. As I sat at the bar of The Omni I was forced to watch what was on television. As usual both televisions were set to ESPN and as it happens it was an entire program dedicated to "the baseball swing." The hosts were comparing "pretty, clean swings" to "uglier, less finessed swings" like Reggie Jackson. (Impressed, boys?) Through the haziness of olive juice, a splash of vodka and three plump olives I began thinking about Pilates and baseball. Not only is there a swing, there is a pitch, a throw, a catch, a slide, etc. etc. However, I am at a COMPLETE disadvantage here! There is no way I can teach Pilates specific to baseball if I do not know what a good swing, pitch, hit, throw feels like in my own body. A-ha! Now I just have to become familiar with these movements. Simple!

Later that evening I joined my friends for more drinks. (Don't was only a two martini night!) Most of these friends are currently playing in a co-ed, recreational softball league. I was discussing my thoughts with Rico and he suggested I meet them at the batting cages the following Monday. And so I did.....
Rico and Larry (below) were VERY KINDLY trying to explain to me alignment, foot placement, weight shifting, arm placement, follow through, wrist action, elbow angle.....the list goes on and on and on! I connected with the ball about 50% of the time....although never truly "solidly." (It must be said that Christine was ROCKIN' IT OUT in the cage next to me! Go girl....go Crispy!)
1 token=16 pitches....who would have thought 16 pitches could be so exhausting! Definitely needing to bump up the cardio!
Then things just got silly! I couldn't help but channel my "inner Girls Next Door softball episode!" (Photo is a little fuzzy, Pierson!)
Sara, Christine, Ainsley and Danica enjoying the warm summer evening at the batting cages.
Larry was kind enough to "gently" encourage me to TRY to catch a ball! Now...we all saw the video on this very blog of Ella throwing a plastic ball at me. NOT pretty. But in the spirit of research and investigation I accepted the challenge. (Plus as I have said before it is good to be scared sometimes!) Larry gave me his glove and tossed a few softballs at me. The first few just bounced right off the tip of the glove. He encouraged me to think of the glove as a "web" and to actually try to "grip" the softball once it made contact with the glove. Turns out if I hold the glove in front of my face I will be fairly safe and accident free! As it happens I was able to catch a lot of his soft, underhanded (I don't want to be dishonest) pitches if I used both hands. He also coached me a bit on throwing the ball back to him. And then I threw his softball right out of the property and there was no way to retrieve it! Sorry Larry.

It was then and there that I issued a challenge to front of Sara, Rico, Larry, Jace', Danica and Christine....I would study this so that I might one day be able to join them on a recreational team. Larry said, "Good, you have six weeks!" I said, "Uhm, no!" I was thinking more like NEXT SUMMER! Of course they were all quick to remind me that there is no crying in baseball or softball!

I will only briefly mention that I saw the Chupacabras play on Thursday. A valiant effort to stay undefeated my terribly sorry for the loss! Shake it week, next week!

It was often difficult to stay entertained at Southwestern University. Back then there wasn't much going on in Georgetown, TX. We didn't have a football team and the basketball team never drew much of a crowd. However our baseball team was solid and a lot of our friends were on the team. Some of my most precious college memories involve a big blanket, a Mobil coke, a double-header, a crisp spring day, books spread out (with the intent to study) and Ciara sitting right next to me!
So it was completely serendipitous, not to mention highly coincidental when Donna called to inform me she had gotten reservations to "Take Me Out!" Tickets to this play are highly sought after. In fact, she and I were unable to sit together. No matter....we were both very excited to see this play.
"Take me Out" was written by Richard Greenberg and directed by Frank Laston. Darren Lemming is a major league baseball phenom who is also openly homosexual. Most of the play takes place in the club house and examines how his honest admission affects his team mates and challenges some of his deepest personal relationships. While the play was three acts, the pace and tone made it feel like it flew by. Each character bounced dialog along side and around each other and the audience in a way that kept me connected....and at the edge of my seat....for the entire performance. I truly enjoyed this piece and I commend all of the performers. This play requires an inordinate amount of full male nudity. The nude performances were completely relevant to the content of the play. I am truly amazed that anyone can stand in front of a room full of people and act....fully clothed....let alone completely nude! Sorry ladies...this is the last weekend and both Saturday and Sunday performances are sold out! All joking aside....this is a great script. If you have the opportunity to see this play...take it.
"Democracy is lovely. But baseball is more mature."-Mason Marzac from Richard Greenberg's "Take Me Out"
Adventure is not outside; it is within.

So.....maybe I should find some "adventure within" and challenge myself to softball team-ship in 6 weeks? I mean...with Pilates as my foundation I can't fail, right Mom? Have a wonderful Saturday friends!

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my Tio Ciro Guerra who passed away three days ago. Often known to young children as "Oscar the Grouch" he was a very loving family man, savvy rancher and business man, wonderful father, grandfather and husband! His was a different brand of sarcasm and humor! One that I came to appreciate as an adult! My thoughts and prayers are with you Tia Anna!

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