The Best Time Was...

 

Bishop Turner Baseball - Moving on to the Spring of 1980 when I was a Senior in High School...I went out for the Varsity Baseball team. I had been the team manager (score keeper) the previous year. This year we had new coach Paul Quagliana who was assisted by Junior Varsity coach Pete Schneider. At the beginning of tryouts Coach made it clear we'd have a 16 man roster. I knew I was a better player than Ron Geisendorfer, but I think Richard Baca was a little better than me. I really was not good enough to make a Varsity Baseball team. However, during one of the practices we had in our parking lot, I was able to score from first base on a bunt with a few bad throws by the fielders. Coach took me aside and told me that impressed him so much, that he decided I would be the 17th man on his team that year. I made the cut even though some who didn't were better ball players than me. I didn't get to play too much. But, I was able to play left field when Jay Carroll was pitching - nobody could get around on him. I don't think I ever got a hit other than a bunt. I even had the bat fly out of my hands and clear the opponents bench one time. I showed up to each practice; I showed up at each game. Even when I wasn't in the lineup, I was warming up the outfielders by playing catch with them before the inning started. For this I remember how some of our "loyal" spectators would ridicule me. I was not deterred; it made me want to help the team even more. As the season came to a close, I remember that Coach was hospitalized for ongoing heart problems. And Coach Pete Schneider made a point to make sure that I was attending the final sports pep rally at the school. At the pep rally, they gave out awards for MVP and such. Then they started talking about a special award that they had never given out before. It was a Sportsmanship Award for someone who did not have all the skills that a team needed to win. But, it was for a person who gave to the team all that he had to give. It was very unexpected for me and I was very surprised when they announced my name. I think a lot of spectators were surprised too. But for me, that was one of the greatest moments ever. That was the best time!




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JAK - 2003