Just as I did 1,000 times as a kid, today I threw a rubber baseball against a wall.
Growing up, I spent countless hours practicing my pitching and fielding by throwing a rubber baseball or tennis ball at the stone and brick steps leading to the front door of our suburban Cleveland home.
Over those many years, I strengthened my arm and improved my glove work. But I also decapitated dozens of my mother’s tulips growing by the steps and startled my dad inside the house whenever one of my high hard ones slammed into the aluminum screen door.
Looking back, I realize my parents showed remarkable tolerance over the pop… pop… bang! coming off my adolescent arm.
I decided to try the arm out again today as a way to get in some exercise and to celebrate my birthday. (I won’t give away my age, but I predate expansion baseball, and by that I mean the Angels and Mets.) So I put on my Indians cap, picked up my Al Kaline signature mitt that I’ve had since seventh grade and pedaled over to the nearby high school, where earlier I’d spotted what I figured was the perfect wall. One particular cement block made for an excellent strike zone, and I threw a rubber ball embossed with faux baseball seams against it.
For about half an hour, in my head I was back on Erieview Road, pushing off against the edge of the tree lawn grass that served as mound and rubber, and Mom occasionally emerging to shout, “Danny, watch out for my tulips!”
It has been a good birthday.