…no not Justin Timberlake’s over-played but catchy hit song.
I was not much of a softball player. Off-season training was where I shined. Sprints, bleacher runs, plyo-metrics, planks and weight-lifting were my thing. Not hitting or fielding balls.
One particularly stifling game though, I will never forget. It was a HOT afternoon in San Antonio. I was suited up in my white and navy polyester Smithson Valley Rangers uniform (I wish I could find you a picture!). Clean and unstained by the dirt surrounding the bases…because I sat the bench. My coaches were former Nebraska Huskers coaches and expected nothing less than perfection from our JV team. The pressure I felt to please them literally crippled me on the field. I knew what to do and when to do it, but I couldn’t make my body obey my mind. Thus, I sat the bench because I was unreliable. Maybe I’d hit it to the fence; maybe I’d strike out.
Anyway…I remember sometime into the third or fourth inning, I glanced through the chain-link fence of the dugout to see my dad climbing the steps of the bleachers. In his suit and tie. He had snuck away from corporate America to come watch me “play.” He waved to me and I waved back, feeling terrible. He’d come all the way from work to sit on the scorching bleachers in his houndstooth suit, and my butt may not even leave this bench. I prayed that Coach Dagle would have sympathy on my dad and send me in to catch a pop up or something–something to make his trip worthwhile. I think I was up to bat a couple times and I must have done nothing of great significance because I can’t even remember. All I remember feeling was embarrassed.
After we high-fived the defending team and gathered our stuff from the dugout, I went to thank my dad for coming and apologize for being such a loser. But in true Mike Rosell form, with sweat dripping from his brow onto his paisley tie, he told me how proud he was of me and how he loved me and he wouldn’t have missed it for the world.