Of course today and every day I’m thankful for my family and friends, my health, my just beginning career as a teacher, and so many more things.
But this year while everyone is watching football, I want to highlight why I’m so thankful for baseball.
Baseball. America’s past time. And the best three hour escape from the real world that only a $5 indy ball bleacher ticket can bring.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always liked baseball. For the last ten years, I’ve LOVED baseball. For the last five years, baseball has been my lifeline – my escape from the real world. And for the last three years, independent baseball has been a huge part of my identity.
Let’s face it. I’m “Miss Indy Ball Island” at this point. I can’t even begin to count the times I’ve heard… “YOU’RE Indy Ball Island?!”
It honestly never gets old, and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. It’s those little notes and messages that make me realize just how blessed I am to have the life that I do because of the sport I love so much.
When I say “the life” that I have, I don’t mean that baseball provides me with some extravagant lifestyle like it does for some major league players. With indy ball, it’s never about money. Players barely make enough to live, and I sure don’t get enough ad revenue to stop teaching and tutoring.
But being thankful should never be about how much money you have anyway. It should be about the people you meet and the experiences you’re fortunate to have. If we’re counting by those things, I have an extravagant life that I only could have dreamed of as a young kid watching baseball on TV.
I am thankful for the fact that I can walk into practically any ballpark in America (a few in Canada, some in Australia, and probably a few in Europe and various Latin American countries too) and know someone – either a player, media member, or another fan.
I’m thankful that, for a few hours every night in the summer, I get to escape from whatever is going on in the world and watch guys live out their dream on a baseball diamond.
With some of those guys, I have had the good fortune of being able to watch them through some of the most amazing times in their playing careers.
I meet so many baseball players thanks to my love for this sport. With some, I can notice their passion for the game right away. I just know that they have something special even if others, including managers, can’t see it right away.
Within independent baseball, there is a core group of guys that I claim to be “my boys.” While I talk to and know a lot of players, this core rarely changes. Some come and go, but most of my boys have been around for awhile.
(Happy one year of friendship to my favorite New Yorker baseball boy!)
I’ve been through highs and lows with so many of them: Signings and releases, 4-4 nights and golden sombrero nights, no hitters and games where they got pulled in the 2nd. But getting to see their careers go through the entire roller coaster ride, now that is something that I’m truly thankful for. Thank you for trusting me enough to vent and ask for advice.
Being an independent baseball player is a thankless job most of the time. I just want every player to know, I’m thankful for them. They give me something to be passionate about. Their drive and determination make me want to be a better person.
For all that you do, thank you.