November 2020 ENewsletter: A Time For Thanksgiving

In the midst of what has been a turbulent last week, a stressful summer, and just an awful year, I must remind myself to be thankful for the gifts that have been given to me and my family.

This year brought us a new daughter-in-law, Alex Wagner, who married our oldest son, Ryan. She’s an amazing woman who is perfect for Ry. Even better is the news that the two of them will bring a grandchild to the Thanksgiving table–our first! Our family could not be more excited for them as they venture off into a world of love and happiness. More exciting news will be coming to us in May 2021!

This year also brought us a future daughter-in-law, Taylor, who is engaged to our middle son, Josh. Many of our clients know Josh from his work at Throwzone in the past. Josh and Taylor live in Tampa, Florida and both work in the medical field. Their wedding is in March 2021.

The greatest thing for us is that during Thanksgiving we’ll have all three of our children and their spouses with us. We’ll be together to celebrate this new life for each of them and for our happiness moving forward. The year 2021 has to be better, right?

Throwzone has done well this year in spite of the virus. We’ve learned to live in a new normal. And for the most part, everyone has gotten better at protecting themselves and those around them while still getting their throwing and pitching work in at the facility.

High school practices have started to pick up since the beginning of October. As little work as players have been able to do the past 6 weeks, we’ve seen them smiling and enjoying being around each other whether it’s on their high school field or traveling to Arizona or Utah to be with their teammates. They’re playing the game they love.

And though I realize not every Angeleno is a Dodgers fan–and I am a lifelong Dodgers supporter, critic, and homer–we all got to celebrate what has been a 32 year wait for a world championship. The gratified looks on faces like Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner (albeit also in a sad and concerned way due to contracting the virus) make us appreciate all the hard work, sacrifices, and the few lucky bounces going the Dodgers way.

I’ve also been a Lakers fan since my youth, so we did celebrate the NBA championship two weeks prior to the Dodgers World Series win. Two championships in the city of Los Angeles, that in itself is pretty cool.

But my gratitude for all of these things pales in comparison to how thankful I am for our Throwzone players and their emotional and financial supporters, their parents, for allowing them to be such an integral part of the work we continue to do.

Yesterday I needed to do some testing with our Rapsodo data capture, including velocity readings, and our Insight camera that works in conjunction with our ground unit. And though I’m still working on perfecting the camera and its ability to capture slow-motion video of a player’s delivery, it struck me how important my work is to players throughout the week.

This past week I recorded a video of one of our players, Drew Gustafson. Drew’s a member of the Class of 2022 and committed to UC Santa Barbara, one of the best D1 baseball programs and schools in the country. Drew threw his top speed at 91.2 miles per hour! His previous high was 89.8 mph. When he threw the pitch, we had to wait for about 5 seconds for the data to get captured. As the readout displayed 91.2 mph, the other players there, his teammates at Granada Hills High School, jumped up and down and celebrated Drew’s accomplishment for all of social media to see. It was so touching, and I’m so grateful for moments like these when I get to witness pure joy from Drew for reaching a long-term goal.

Moments like these will forever be burned into my mind’s eye, and this is one of many. The first time a player ever reaches the 50, 60, 70, and 80 mph marks are all the same. It’s pure joy and gratitude.

There has been much anger and divisiveness in our country the last two weeks with the bombardment of ads across our television screens and on the radio. I even wrote a piece last month on the importance of defeating Prop 15 for our facility’s sake and asked many people to help do the same.  Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know you voted how we asked on this proposition. The good news is that it was defeated and will save MANY dollars in the process for all involved.

Now, I think it’s time to move past the negative and start appreciating all the positive we have in our lives.

The Throwzone community is made up of like-minded people whose goal is to see their children improve on the mound and field with a healthy arm. I’m always so grateful to hear from new clients who were referred to us or who looked us up in a Google search and saw what good work we’ve done in the past. When the name Throwzone comes up in conversation with people, it’s always positive, “You’re the place that develops all those good pitchers in Southern California.” Our name is synonymous with good pitching, particularly with our MLB clients.

And speaking of an MLB pitcher, on Wednesday, November 11th at 3:00pm PST, we’ll all be anxiously awaiting news of whether our own Trevor Bauer will win the National League Cy Young Award for the Best Pitcher as voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America!

The bottom line is that this holiday season, and especially on my favorite holiday of Thanksgiving, please let’s find the good in our lives and appreciate all the blessings we have. The world might be changing and telling us what we can and cannot do, but we can still make our lives our own without the interference that may go on.

I write this with so much gratitude toward you and your family. Letting us be a small part of your life is something I will always treasure!

Happy Thanksgiving season!

Until next time,

Jim