As I write this, I’m in the frequent flier club/lounge at Cleveland airport. I fly about 150,000 miles per year between games, clinics, lessons, and visiting Europe. In case you’re wondering, 150,000 is equal to 6 free domestic plane tickets or 3 tickets to Europe, New Zealand, etc. I rarely get to use my miles though. When I get a weekend off from travel, the last thing I generally do is fly somewhere! Instead, I give my tickets away to friends, family, etc. I also use them for wedding presents for my closest friends; 2 tickets wherever they’d like to honeymoon. Anyway, I’ve gone off on a complete rant about airlines, flying, etc. and it has very little to do with what I intended to write about.
I’m flying to Allentown PA today. Generally, flying to a tournament is no big deal and something I do 12 times per summer but this one is special. Why? Because it’s my first time traveling and will be my first real games since my injury.
The is a real balancing act I’ll have to do for the next couple weeks. You see, the World tournament is in August (Kitchener Ontario Canada). Like most teams and pitchers, I spend the summer preparing for that event. It’s not that other tournaments are meaningless but, in reality they are used to prepare myself for the end of the year. I’d rather have my worst games in June/July than in August when it REALLY counts. So, the season for me is a slow climb to the top of a mountain. At the top of that mountain is the world tournament. I need to be in peak condition physically and mentally for it, and that usually happens through the course of a season. This year is different.
I’ve missed almost 5 complete weeks of the the summer with this injury. I’ve now got 3 weeks to make up for the 5 I’ve missed. In these 3 weeks, I need to get my body into game condition.. be able to pitch multiple games and/or extra inning games (sometimes multiple times) and have the self confidence that I’m ready to face the best. These tasks are hard enough when someone is 100% healthy. But, there’s a tremendous amount of added pressure coming off a pretty serious injury and being sidelined for weeks.
Unfortunately there’s no way to make up for lost time. I’ll have to work through it all without doing too much and re-injuring myself. Working through it and doing too much is a contradiction sometimes. For the next several weeks I’m going to fine that line and hope I don’t cross it.