It’s Spring Training Time Again…Ah The Memories!

My favorite sport is baseball because the ball takes all of the punishment. You just stand up there at home plate and whack away with your bat. When you swing and miss you don’t feel any pain, maybe just some frustration. And let’s face it nobody has ever suffered a concussion from frustration.

When I was a kid, we played three sports. It was football in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. That was it. There was no Little League or Midget Football. Our athletic field was a cindered lot on 4th St. that bordered the Chester Creek. We played touch football in the cinders after school. On weekends we’d walk three miles to Crozier Park and play tackle on a grassy field. The cindered lot or Car Barn was a great training ground for baseball. There were mounds of cindered dirt throughout the playing field. To field a grounder or fly ball you had to run or jump over the mounds. If you could corral a ball on that obstacle course, you could handle one anywhere. For some inexplicable reason I could handle it better than anyone on the block. My impressed buddies called me “Rubber Legs” because of the way I bounded among the cinder mounds. I smiled and basked in the prestige of it all.

As I grew older and graduated into Junior High and High School sports, I became increasingly fond of baseball. I enjoyed the mild weather and easy breezes that covered the field in April. There was a spring water fountain at the park where we practiced and boy did that water taste good after practice. There was time to dawdle and contemplate life when you played center field which was my position. I was an above average fielder thanks to my training at the Car Barn. But most of all, I loved to hit. There is this great physical sensation when the bat and a hard ball connect. You can feel it immediately in your hands and you think to yourself okay, that ball is going places.

I’ve never felt any thing like that in any other sport. Catching a football or sinking a basket don’t even come close. In addition, I was able to avoid injuries in baseball. I could always get my head out of the way of a fastball and was just hit on the elbow and on the back a few times. Organized football rewarded me with a separated shoulder, deviated septum and a mild concussion. Playing basketball resulted in chipped teeth and a torn leg muscle.

When spring training time comes around every year, I get this nostalgic feeling, this urge to be out there playing baseball somewhere. Wouldn’t it be great to hit a line drive over second base and get that great feeling back in my hands. Every year, at this time, I want to be a kid again.

An Old Spring Dream

Always wanted to be the one

who stands at home plate

and wraps his bat around

the pitcher’s best fast ball…

Feel the ball sink into the wood-

Watch it sail high and disappear-

“My hands have never felt so good

The sky has never been so clear…”

That’s who I’ve always wanted to be

Every day of the year…

COMING ATTRACTIONS:

The U.S. Liberty Air Force JAZZ BAND will perform at the Music Pier on Sat., March 6 at 7 p.m. You can expect an exciting program ranging from Glenn Miller and Count Basie classics to Duke Ellington and contemporary jazz. The program is free but you must pick up complimentary tickets at City Hall Annex, 901 Asbury Ave., Mon. through Fri. from 9 a.m., to 4:30 p.m., call 609-525-9300.

The City’s 7th Annual TALENT SHOW is set for Sat., March 13 starting 6 p.m. at the Music Pier. The competition is open to performers of all ages. Categories include Instrumental, Vocal, Dancing, Performance Art and Best of Show. Registration fee is $10. Trophies will be presented to the top three performers in each category and there will be a Best of Show Award. Registration deadline is March 4 and the contest is limited to the first 40 applicants to complete their entry forms, supply related materials and pay the fee. To register access ocnjtalentshow2010@yahoo.com or stop at City Hall Annex, 901 Asbury Ave., 609-525-9300 or at the show’s sponsors, the Ocean City Fine Arts League, 608 Asbury Ave., 609-814-0308.

Audience admission will be $5 at the door with proceeds benefiting the Art League’s special events, community outreach and educational programs as well as City special events and recreation programs.

NOTE: Access to the boardwalk at Moorlyn Terrace will not be available until April due to on-going renovations in the corridor. Enter boardwalk from 9th or 8th Sts. You may park free at City lots at those locations.

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