What comes to mind when you think of Memorial Day weekend?
Most people in the United States typically think hotdogs, bbq, larger areas of water, tan lines, and ice cold beer. Now, I’ll tell you what I think of. I think of white, plastic balls, long, yellow bats, flavored ice wrapped in a plastic tube. I think of brothers whose second love after their mother was freshly cut grass and strike zone made of tin. I think of 16 years of dynasties being built. I think of nine teams grinding to leave their footprint in history. I think of the SWBL.
My existence in the SWBL can arguably not compare to most; nonetheless, I’ve been a Yankee since 2011. If I were to compare my career to a movie, I’d say “500 Days of Summer.” For those who’ve never seen the movie – Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), greeting card writer and hopeless romantic, is caught completely off-guard when his girlfriend, Summer (Zooey Deschanel), suddenly dumps him. He reflects on their 500 days together to try to figure out where their love affair went sour, and in doing so, Tom rediscovers his true passions in life. At the end of the movie, Tom meets Autumn, and his desire for love is back within, in one glance.
Now, you must be thinking, what the hell are you talking about, John? I started out riding the high horse. I was rookie of the year in 2011, my batting average was .714, and we even won the championship (all in the same year). The year after that, I hit 31 homeruns with 50 RBIs. One could say I was hooked from that moment on… but, even after my first couple of successful years in the league, it started to go south (and hasn’t stopped since). My batting average has been on a steady decline and I haven’t hit for as much power as I used to. So, here I am, thinking about how I can better my game. What can I do to become the colossal bash bro I once was? Am I swinging too much on my front side? Do I need to keep my hands back? I don’t have an answer for you at this moment (as much as I wish I did), but I can tell you that it’s not my .455 batting average that keeps me coming back for more. It’s not my hopes of hitting more dingers. It’s not my dreams of hitting a walk-off homerun off of Gus to win the championship… no no, it’s none of those things. What keeps me coming back for more is the people. It’s the constant laughter that goes on and on when Cornell slides through the fence and Sam just starts shaking his head. It’s the arguing over a call that clearly shouldn’t be argued. It’s the look on Edloe’s face when BK snatches a homerun from beyond the wall. But, most importantly, It’s the catching up you get to have with guys you haven’t seen all year. Friends, brothers, teammates, it’s you that keeps us coming back for more.
Year after year, the Skibbe’s turn their backyard into a paradise for us want-to-be children. And year after year, we faithfully return. I wish you all the best this upcoming season, and may the best team win.