However, I was fortunate enough to be invited by the hometown LCSC Warriors to get in the cages and try to re-live the glory days...let's go to Harris Field.
I love baseball, and as a guy who grew up playing everything but baseball, I found a whole new appreciation for the game when the Lewis-Clark State Warriors graciously invited me to one of their practices to jump in the cage and take a little batting practice.
Now I've casually practiced with youth teams before, but this is the second ranked NAIA baseball team in the entire country. After a few words of encouragement from Head Coach Jeremiah Robbins while I held my back like an old man, I stepped in and swung away...I was making good contact! The ball was traveling quickly and this football player of five years was feeling pretty confident on the diamond. With a sparkle in my eye, I asked coach for an honest grade.
"A little bit below average," said Robbins.
Oh...but...I was making contact!
"Your approach was good, your technique was absolutely awful," said Robbins.
Okay so my form is terrible. I've known this for years. I must have done something right.
"I liked your mentality though, so that was above average though, you didn't back away from it," said Robbins."I think you would make a lot of coaches proud, a lot of guys would get in that cage and be a little bit shy, So, it was good."
"Pretty good, yep...pretty dang good," said Kyle Blackwell. "Absolutely. I think we gotta get you in here a little bit more and brush you up faster, you're an athlete so..."
That's a good start...for feedback, I asked what my strengths in the cage are.
"Your size and strength was good," said Robbins.
"You're strong, your definitely strong," said Blackwell.
And the fun part...weaknesses...
"You like to drift pretty good, you don't get behind your front side, other than that it was alright," said Blackwell.
"I think your biggest weakness was that you played five years of football and not five years of baseball," said Robbins.
And as I venture deeper into the world of slow pitch softball, I ask what I can do to prepare for that.
"I think you're going to need a private instructor like Alan Balmer to do some lessons with you," said Robbins.
Private lessons it is. As much fun as I had hitting with the Warriors, it put more than just a smile on my face. I felt the pride that the Warriors feel everyday as they step to the plate with the intention of putting runs on the board every time. I felt how much fun this team has on a daily basis. All I can really say about this phenomenal program is that I am grateful for getting the chance to feel the Warrior pride that I hear so much about...and you've made a new fan for life."
The real Warriors will get on the field for their first game of the 2014 Avista NAIA World series this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. to play the winner of Friday's game between number seven seed San Diego Christian and ten-seed Cumberland.