Silver Linings

Today I glanced at my phone and saw MONDAY 13 on the calendar app and it hit me. I counted on my fingers to make sure. Yep. Four. It has been four months. Four months since the Governor of VA shuttered school buildings due to the virus and suggested that we all stay home to stay safe.

Looking back on these months, I do notice silver linings.

For one, I am now a better observer, especially when it comes to spring flowers. I might even go as far as saying I’m now an expert on when flowers bloom. To help me pass the time while being home, I started taking a walk throughout my neighborhood. This routine allowed me to notice so many trees and flowerbeds. Daily I snapped a photo of a bloom that caught my eye. Now my photofeed reminds me exactly when cetain flora comes to life. In March, the pink magnolia trees petals looked so lovely against the blue spring sky. Early April brought the cherry blossoms followed by the azaleas and dogwood. Then my favorite, the lilacs. In May, it was time for the rhododendron and the roses. June brings the hydrangea. Now it is July and the lily pads in our new pond bloomed for the first time.

Another silver lining involves my nephew. On June 4, 2019, he was the 151st pick in the Major League Baseball draft.

Last week, just thirteen months later, he got the call! The LA Angels told him to report to Spring training! I wonder if the world was still normal, would he have gotten the call. Maybe. Maybe not. No matter. I am so proud of Garrett’s dedication to playing a sport he loves.

I thought about this as I took my walk last Saturday morning. For the first time, I saw my neighborhood baseball field occupied. A little guy took to the mound and the ref yelled, “Batter up!” and the the supportive fans sat 6 feet apart.

What’s your silver lining?

If you have 2 minutes, watch this video to be reminded why baseball is such a great sport.

Another Baseball Story, Another Time


I’m glad I made a list on this padlet because I’m not sure what to write. So instead, I’ll work on my writing by trying 2 related exercises. One is shared on page 128 of Kate Messner’s book, 59 Reasons to Write. It suggests:  Look at a history book and see the story beyond the text. Another is shared on page 222 of Jen Serravallo’s Writing Strategy Book. It suggests looking closely at an illustration or photograph that can teach you about a topic you are writing about and jot down quick notes.

Since I watched my nephew play college baseball yesterday, I have baseball on my mind. I search websites looking for historical photos and hit the jackpot by finding the NYC LIbrary’s A. G. SPALDING BASEBALL COLLECTION. Here’s the photo I picked, one out of the 500+ baseball photos:

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The site explains that “The personal collection of materials related to baseball and other sports gathered by the early baseball player and sporting-goods tycoon A.G. Spalding came to the Library in 1921 as a gift from his widow.”

Who was Albert? Why did he have all these photos?

“Albert Goodwill Spalding (1850-1915) was a major figure in the early history of baseball. A star player for the Boston franchise in the National Association, he left in 1876 to join the Chicago White-Stockings, later known as the Cubs, in the newly formed National League. He was the team’s leading pitcher, team captain, and manager. After his career on the field ended, he later became team president.”

What did Albert and his teammates think of the pitcher in the photo?
(the following is my opinion!)

They liked him because he was so focused. He’s dressed for success, right down to his pulled-up stockings and laced shoes. He looks mature (isn’t that a mustache under his nose?) with serious eyes. They called him Bud and in 1914, he had the record for strike outs.

He soon got noticed for a ritual he performed which always resulted in a strike. Whenever the count was 2-2 (2 balls and 2 strikes), he would grabs the rim of his hat, lifts it off his head, runs the back of his hand across his brow and then pulls his hat back on again. With a deep breath, he’d throw the next pitch and the ump always shouted “strike!” Soon that hat-off, rub-of-brow and hat-on-again, strike became his signature. As the years go on, everyone instead started calling him Lucky.






March 7 – baseball

Sunday my mom came over to my house and we sat at my dining room table in front of my laptop for 3 hours. Her grandson, my brother’s youngest boy, is a freshman at the University of Tennessee and is a pitcher for their college baseball team. Sunday his game was streaming live on the SEC website.

During the 5th inning began, Garrett was called in to pitch! He looked so focused, so serious as he threw 90+mph baseballs from the mound to home plate. Being the pitcher, he was constantly on our computer screen. We watched as he eyed the signals from his catcher, nodding no and then yes. He threw the ball, his whole body in motion behind it to send it lightning speed across the plate. He got strikes. He watched his pitches get hit – some foul balls and only 3 base hits. Once the ball was bunted back at him and he calmly caught it and delivered it to first base for the out.

A summary on the UTenn website states, “Sophomore Will Neely got the start for the Vols, giving up three earned runs and striking out four batters in 5.1 innings work. Freshman Garrett Stallings provided strong relief again for Tennessee, only allowing three hits in 3.2 scoreless innings. However, Jon Lipinski (2-0) got the win, shutting out the Spartans in extra innings.”

I predict that I may spend more hours in front of my computer watching more college baseball this year and I’m counting the days until Spring Break. My mom and I are taking a road trip to sit in the stands at the University of Tennessee to watch Garrett and his team play.

Batter up. With Garrett, be ready to strike out! Go VOLS!

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