November 2022 e-Newsletter: When Life Emulates Baseball

With another Halloween under our belt, it seems like holiday commercials are now coming at us fast and furious. I wouldn’t mind it too much if the weather was cooler than 90 degrees. This desert climate with no rain and hot days, and that has us wearing shorts and t-shirts in November and December, reminds us that it’s only a matter of time before those in frigid parts of North America head west to enjoy sunny and hot weather twelve months out of the year.

But we Californians know better. 

What seems to be sunny and hot can turn on a dime when reality smacks us on the head and not everything is fine and dandy behind the scenes in this state of ours.

But it’s like that in all areas of our lives. For our baseball-playing children, particularly those in high school, all of our achievements look great on the surface, but a sore arm has many trying to hold onto a fastball and control the strike zone — which also means doing anything possible to keep an injury secret from the coach. The last thing a player needs is to be kept out of games because they divulge an injury that may very well be something fixable with a couple of days off.

Now, we have to be honest with ourselves and understand the difference between fatigue and injury. Will the issue stay for days or will taking a couple of days off help immensely? These sorts of questions are asked by athletes daily, and sometimes players who are constantly complaining about their arm health need a place like Throwzone to help them assess the problem and formulate a plan to navigate a tricky situation.

For example, one of our pitchers has been dealing with a sore arm for several weeks. I told him that he needed to take a few days off to help reset his arm. As it turned out, he didn’t pitch on Saturday, had both Sunday and Monday off, then played catch at practice today and felt terrific. Then he came into the facility and for the first time in his life threw a baseball at 90 mph off the mound. He’d never felt better about his arm health. Now throwing 90 mph will help any pitcher’s soul, but in all honesty, those three days off got him back on track.

Now, sometimes we have to be realistic and know when the time is right to correct a problem with our own health. And I’m not immune to it.

As some of you may know, I’ve had a hard time with my hips. Many of you also know that almost six years ago I had a right hip implant to help with a beat-up hip that had lost all its cartilage and was essentially bone on bone.  About a year or so after surgery, I knew that something still wasn’t right. Fast forward to 2021 — I had another procedure to “clean up” that same hip, but after a month I knew it still wasn’t right.

Two months ago, I told the doctor for the last time (he needed me to go away and not bug him) that it still wasn’t right. After an MRI and bone scan, they finally found the issue. Surgery is scheduled this month to do a complete revision of the same right hip. I’m hopeful that this finally will fix the problem. Right now I don’t walk right, and the stress I’m putting on my left hip has left me with a labrum tear in the other hip. The physical pain has been awful, but the mental and emotional pain has been worse and left me in tears at times; I just want it to all go away. Oh, and for good measure, I have a hernia that’s smack dab in the middle and surrounded by two arthritic hips. The days when all three act up is not pleasant.

My point in sharing this is to let you know that we all deal with physical pain just like our children do — all in the name of reaching the highest levels of competition. For them, it’s life or death in terms of what they’re going to do in life. For me, it’s always about going under and praying that I wake up. Nonetheless, we all have our areas to push on in life.

Losing a family member or dear friend, worrying about paying the mortgage next month, and hoping that coaches don’t raise their fees for travel ball and/or private instruction are concerns we all may face. It’s why I’ve barely raised my fees over the last ten years despite costs going up. My goal is to hopefully make life easier for you and not surprise you with another worry.  

What I want to do is to congratulate the parents of that boy who hit 90 mph. And another boy told me recently that he pitched a complete game, which initially I wasn’t thrilled about, but he threw a no-hitter in his complete game. This is why I enjoy the heck out of what I do for a living and why my physical pain needs to be dealt with so I can get back to helping players achieve these milestones.

Hopefully, you’ll bear with me for a few more weeks as I walk around like Igor in the castle. I’ll do everything in my power to not close the facility during that week of surgery as students and another gentleman have generously offered to help. The week after surgery I’ll be back — probably hobbling but ready to assist your son and his pitching needs.

As a side note, I’ll be sending out some emails soon regarding our holiday camp beginning the week of December 19. It’s a great way to continue our training work during the day while school is out!!

Until next time…

Jim