I woke up about two hours before my alarm for no real reason other than I must be transitioning (or have transitioned?) to old. I took care of the pets and skimmed the news and made a quick trip to Wal-Mart for groceries before anyone else in my house was stirring.
Those sound old.
February opened with gray skies, a strong north wind, and temperatures dropping back into the teens tonight. Please hurry, Spring Training.
On the way to the ball field to meet Rance, I stopped to get my glasses fixed. That also sounds old. While waiting my turn, a man older than me (I heard him make a comment about his 80-somethingth birthday) greeted me, “I am so ready for spring and Cardinals baseball.” Then he saw my 2015 World Series Champions Royals hoodie. “You know, I cheered for them back in 1985. They deserved a win.”
With glasses adjusted, I quickly drove to the grass field at Meador Park and met Rance, a freelance sports journalist, who likes odd and unusual athletes. If he wants to call me an athlete, I have no problem being labeled odd and unusual.
Wearing a Tulsa Drillers hat and a Mizzou hoodie, Rance cheers for the Cardinals, although he grew up playing soccer and tennis. Rance told me one of the favorite stories he worked on was of a student-athlete at Central. This student was from India and knew how to play cricket and with the help of Coach Shoemaker made the transition to baseball. Million Dollar Bat, we laughed together.
When he’s not writing, Rance volunteers at church, serving and worshiping alongside of a family I’m particularly fond of: Bill and Shirley Virdon.
“I’m kind of a Bill Virdon fanboy,” Rance confessed. I concurred. Bill tells incredible baseball stories and Shirley is sweet and kind to the core.
Though I felt stiff and though my fingers were quite cold, I did not feel old playing catch with Rance. We laughed and told stories and had fun. As soon as I got back in the van, I remembered one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite pitchers, Satchel Paige.
“We don’t stop playing because we get old. We get old because we stop playing.”
I may make some bad throws and miss some short hops, but I’m not gonna stop playing.
Many thanks for helping me break in a new month, Rance!