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Life's Lessons I Learned From Baseball

Updated on August 28, 2012

THE GAME I ADORE

I was five years old when my dad bought me my first baseball glove. I was forty-seven when I stopped playing the game I adore.

I loved everything about baseball. I loved the smell of the glove after it was oiled. I loved the feel of the baseball as I gripped it for the next pitch. I loved looking at the clear, blue sky, hearing the hum of voices in the stands, and feeling like I was part of the American fabric of life.

I have played, coached, and been an avid fan. I have collected baseball cards, memorized player stats, and played fantasy baseball. I marveled at the tenacity of Bob Gibson in the World Series, stood in awe next to Willie McCovey in Tacoma, and hated the Yankees for most of my life.

How many games have I played? How many games have I witnessed in person or seen on television? I couldn’t even venture a guess, but I know it has to be in the thousands…..quite possibly close to ten thousand.

Yes, I love baseball. I still get a thrill from walking out on a field, smelling the grass and digging a toe hold next to the rubber. The feel of rosin on my hands, finding the right spot for a four-seam fastball, it all comes back to me at the mere sight of a ball park.

So it should come as no surprise that I have learned a few lessons about life during my time following and playing this great sport. Kick back, grab yourself a cold one, and allow me to share those lessons with you now.

High school starting pitcher
High school starting pitcher | Source
I love baseball
I love baseball | Source

THE PUNY SOUTHPAW

I didn’t make the team the first two times I tried out for Little League. Too small….not aggressive enough….nice kid but doesn’t have the tools.

I wanted to quit trying out for teams by the time I was eleven years old. Fat chance of that; my dad sat me down and told me if I wanted something bad enough then I needed to work for it, and if I didn’t want it bad enough then why didn’t I? He knew I loved the game, and he knew, from playing catch with me for six years, that I had skills. All I needed was a little kick in the butt, which my dad was more than happy to provide.

My training began within a month. Night after night I could be found on the side lot to our house, throwing a baseball against the cement retaining wall. When I was done with that I would call my dad out and have him throw me grounders and fly balls until the sun went down. I wrapped up the day with a series of pushups to increase my strength. This went on for six months until the next Little League tryouts.

I was the starting pitcher that next summer; then I went on to play four years of high school and three years of college until my rotator cuff decided that pitching was no longer an option. I had to impress my high school coach, who thought I was too small, and then I had to impress the college coach, who thought I was too skinny; that was fine by me. I had a secret piece of knowledge that they didn’t know about. I knew that hard work and determination are often more important than talent.

DAD, CAN YOU PLAY CATCH WITH ME?

I wonder how many times my dad heard those words? Fact of the matter is, my dad played catch with me at least five times a week, weather permitting, from the time I was five until I reached high school, and many times I didn’t have to ask him.

I would wait in the living room around five-thirty every night, watching for his car. As soon as I saw it I’d grab our gloves and a ball, head out the front door, and as he got out of the car I would toss him his glove. He would always greet me with a smile, set down his lunch box, and we would head over to the vacant field to toss a few.

Fact of the matter is, my dad worked hard. He was a common laborer in a sand & gravel pit, outside every day no matter the weather, and I can’t remember him ever saying no to a game of catch no matter how tired he was.

Dad never forced the game on me; his love for baseball was contagious and because of that it was contagious for me as well. He was always encouraging, always gave gentle advice, and through two years of Little League and four years of high school he never missed a game I played in.

When my friends and I were sophomores in high school we read about a world’s record being set by a bunch of kids in New Jersey. They had played one continuous game of baseball for forty hours. Being kids with few inhibitions, we decided we were going for that record. We contacted a local park, was given permission for our stunt, told the local newspapers about it, and a week later we began our quest for the record.

We set it….forty-two hours….and my dad was there for the entire game.

What’s the point? Quality time spent between parents and children is priceless, and a parent’s loving support is something that will last a lifetime.

WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK

In April of 1965 I pitched a one-hit shutout in our high school game. It was a pretty good month for me;

I pitched four games that month and gave up eight hits and two runs total, and I was riding high and feeling a bit full of myself as April came to a close.

Next up was the May 2nd game for the city championship, and I was primed and ready. The little kid who had to continually prove himself to every coach he had ever played for was scheduled to pitch the most important game in team history, and I was convinced that nobody could touch me. I was painting the corners, my knuckleball was dropping a foot, and heaven help that other team when I took the mound.

Oh, the hubris of youth! Somebody had forgotten to tell the other team how great I was. By the end of the first inning I had given my three runs and our team was facing an uphill climb. My knuckleball suddenly looked about as straight as an arrow with no drop, and I couldn’t find the corners with a seeing-eye dog. I remember walking back to the dugout with my head down and a great feeling of embarrassment.

One of the seniors walked over to me while I was in the dugout with a towel over my head. He sat down next to me, tapped me on the shoulder, and told me that I had carried the team for a month and don’t sweat the small stuff. I had a whole team behind me and it was their turn to help me.

By the third inning I had found the corners again and my knuckleball was dropping off the face of the Earth, and the game was tied 4-4. The same senior walked over to me, winked, and told me that if I was done fooling around then it was about time for us to win the damn game.

And we did, 7-4, and after all the congratulations and butt-slapping had ended, and I was riding home on the team bus, it hit me…..baseball is a team sport. No one person really carries a team; each and every person is an integral part of a finely-tuned machine. I would look back on that game several decades later and realize that baseball in that instance was a beautiful metaphor for life. No man is an island and we all need others to achieve our fullest potential.

SO MANY OTHER LESSONS

I wrote once before about something my dad told me. I was a shy kid when I was younger and I lacked self-esteem big time. He told me that as long as I had a baseball in my hands that people would respect me. After that talk I had a great summer of Little League, and one day after the season had ended I asked my dad what happens after my baseball days are over? How will I earn respect then? He just smiled at me, ruffled my hair, and told me that by that time I wouldn’t need a baseball, that a man earns respect by being a good man.

Yes, I love baseball!

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Raci, so nice to see you my friend. Thank you and I appreciate you greatly.

    • raciniwa profile image

      raciniwa 4 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      what more can i say? you're terrific Bill...i always enjoy reading your hubs...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hawaii, what a great comment. I had a huge grin on my face as I read about you playing catch with your dad. Mine would do the same thing...two men out, the count is 2-2, runners on first and third....what do you throw and where do you throw it? I loved those moments. Thank you for sharing that my friend. Aloha to you!

      bill

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Hi, Bill!

      As a former Little League and Pony League pitcher in Kapa'a, I know without a doubt that this particular hub was meant to be the very first hub of yours that I should read. I was never a natural athlete, but my father taught me the value of developing a good work ethic, to be the kid who was the first to run on and off the field, and to practice for hours after practice. He'd have me pitch to him, using our detached garage as a backstop, challenging me with different counts of balls and strikes and various scenarios regarding men on base. I thought of those times and the parallel of lessons learned on the ball field with the larger lessons of life. My sharing all of this with you is a reflection of how your writing moves your readers. Thank you for that gift, Bill, and for the bulldog tenacity of a Hersheiser in the great ball field of life.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      adkl[. thank you! Funny thing is, when I was playing, I loved to pull those stirrups on...I thought they looked so cool. lol.....Yep, this is the greatest game in the world and I'm so glad I was able to play it for so long.

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      billybuc - Great story about the game that both of us love so much. I have discovered that baseball has educated me on many things that I can compare to real life. I played it because I loved to, the lessons were just a sweet bonus I guess.

      BTW, love the stirrups!

      Voted up and beautiful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, we are close to the same age because I remember well Drysdale in the World Series, although I would be hard-pressed to get the exact year....1965? Maybe! Anyway, slugger, thank you for the great comment.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 5 years ago from Orange, Texas

      billybuc, thanks for taking me back in time with you. My mother loved baseball and it rubbed off on me, although I never played girl's softball. I liked hitting a baseball, so I played during recesses in school. I had a captain pick me for his team instead of his girlfriend one time and it ticked her off. She asked him why and he said because I could hit and she couldn't! I could always hit a grand slam, but I wasn't much on catching.

      I'll tell you how old I am - I remember Don Drysdale pitching a no-hitter and winning the World Series for the...Dodgers?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I was blessed with the parents I had, and not a day goes by that I don't realize it.

      As for you....anything I say about your self-image and self-confidence will sound trite and hollow. I know what an incredible person you are, and what you are capable of doing....now we just need you to realize that fact. :)

      LOL...always,

      bill

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      bravewarrior 5 years ago

      Great story, Bill! As you can see, I'm about a month behind in my reading. This story is ironic because I just finished a rewrite assignment on self-confidence. Wow! Talk about kismet, huh?

      Your dad was a good man. He instilled values in you that propel you through life. Nothing gets you down.

      What a legacy your dad left behind!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Steph, it's always nice to add a new baseball fanatic to the group.....isn't it great having your kids play....it's easy to enjoy a sport when one's child is playing it. I even learned to like soccer because of my son. :) Thank you my friend!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      My two older boys are baseball players! My oldest, who is going into high school this fall, is a south-paw, too and a pitcher/first baseman. I went from not enjoying the sport to being entirely passionate about the game. I wish that my youngest son played, but he has other talents.

      It sounds like my oldest may be playing JV baseball instead of the freshman team this year. So exciting! I truly loved your recounting of memories and talent. Very interesting and inspirational! Best to you, Steph

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Deb! Since you live in Field of Dreams country, I thought you might like this.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      Bill, you have such a knack for storytelling and for finding important life lessons in common everyday experiences. Well done, as usual.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, thank you! I appreciate your feedback!

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      manatita44 5 years ago from london

      Quite original. Great lessons in your story. Keep it up!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Gypsy, thank you for your kind words and hey, bowling is a sport. I bowled in leagues for decades, so it must be a sport, right? :) Have a great weekend.

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      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and interesting. Thanks for sharing Bill. I've never been into baseball or any other kinds of sport except for bowling and I'm not sure if that really counts. Anyway at least you gave it your all and got to play the game you loved so well. Passing this on.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, thanks Pickles; greatly appreciated and I'm glad my baseball stories didn't bore you.

    • picklesandrufus profile image

      picklesandrufus 5 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      What a good hub. I started out wondering if I would understand what you were talking about , as I don't follow baseball, but it was far more than a story about baseball. Great read!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS....LOL...that was great!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      You are soooooooooooo funny. Actually I was. I was the one with the sign....saying...we want a TD. ( I am not so good with the sports, billybuc). hee hee

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, I thought I saw you in the stands. :) Thanks for cheering me on, as you always do! I appreciate you more than you probably know.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      billybuc...I was with you on the field. This was a great read. All of the games I went to watch summer after summer in the tiny Virginia town in which I grew up reeled through my mind as I read this. I can feel the excitement and see the huge lights come on as the dusk turned to darkness. It was the best of times...

      Your Father gave you some good advice...being a good person is really what it is all about.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Pete....those are lessons that never go away...thankfully!

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      Pete Fanning 5 years ago from Virginia

      Great story with great lessons Bill, my dad was the same way with throwing the football around after work....it's amazing the influence our father's have. Enjoyed this hub, voting up all the way!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Molly! I was a pretty lucky kid for sure, and I tried to raise my son the same way. Maybe when he is an old man he will tell stories about me. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Pamela; I was a pretty lucky kid in so many ways. The lessons I learned from my dad will be with me always.

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      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      This is beautiful, Bill, I think my favorite of all of your pieces so far. It's simply told, but profound in its lessons. I can see you and your father very clearly. How blessed you are to have had such a caring Dad! Thank you for sharing those lovely memories (and life lessons) with us.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      It is amazing how such things of our youth shape our lives in so many ways. I like that you revealed this important aspect of your youth and your father was a pretty smart man. Up and awesome.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Patty, I am a big believer in the power of positive thinking and determination...thank you my friend! It's good to see you active again. :)

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 5 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Wow, What an AWESOME story!!! I am a fan of baseball and really enjoyed your story that is full of inspiration!!! Congrats to the 42 hour game...I don't think I could even stay awake that long!!

      You proved with hard work and determination, anything is possible!!!

      Voted Up, Awesome, and Shared!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, growing up the Cardinals were my favorite team....Bob Gibson was the best! I'm glad you enjoyed this; hot dogs at a ballgame....delicious!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      You have such great memories to recall. I love baseball We used to take my son to St Louis every summer to see the Cardinals play. My mouth is watering just thinking of their hot dogs. Oh those were 'the good old days..Cheers

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Leslie, you are tearing up because, inside, you are a big softy. You are a cynic, as I am, but inside you want things right, you want Mayberry and love and peace and compassion....I tear up a lot lately. Just one more reason for me to respect you, but then I already did!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Derby, thank you; I think there are many of us who can relate to this hub.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Love to you as well, Eddy! I'm always a bit surprised when anyone in a foreign country is interested in baseball...well, except for the Japanese. It is our sport and we have a fascination with it that does not translate to too many other countries. Having said that, thank you my dear. I always love to see you visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Amy, the physical stature of your dad perfectly matches my father....strong...powerful....and a softy when it came to kids. Loved your comment and I'm happy this is your favorite; it was written from my heart and soul, and somehow I knew you would relate to it strongly.

      love from afar

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Archer, what a great comment. I can tell you that those hours of playing catch with your son are invaluable....there will be a day in the future when he'll look back on those times spent with you and he will smile....and he will have a child....and the tradition will have been passed on. Thank you Sir; I loved your comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Shruti; I would love to learn about cricket, which seems to be big in your country. Maybe some day I can see a cricket match.

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      Karen Silverman 5 years ago

      Don't know why i'm tearing up, but i am! You are such a lucky man, Bill - but - i know that you know that! I want your father!!! lol While baseball does absolutely nothing for me - i appreciate YOUR love for it - and adore the EFFECT you put forth to even attempt to realize your dream! Congrats on the no hitter - and your living life with your eyes wide open!

    • Derby Deals profile image

      Derby Deals 5 years ago from Jeffersonville, Indiana

      Really nice hub. Took me back a bit to my own childhood in the 1970s. Baseball was the biggest part of my life and has influenced a lot of what I was able to experience as I grew older.

    • eddy4me profile image

      Eddy Jones 5 years ago from Wales.

      Well Billy I have never been interested in baseball but your natural way of story telling draws one in and captivates the mind.

      Thank you for this share once again my friend and lots of love.

      Eddy.

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      Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Bill, this beautiful piece made me think about an ancient newspaper clipping that I display in a small alcove, with my dad's dogtags. The title reads "Nadler Twirls No Hit, No-Run Softball Game." The article starts "Rudy Nadler, ace hurler for the Saenger-Wachtel Hardware team entered softball's "mythical Hall of Fame..." My dad, like yours, Bill, worked hard. He was a fireman and oiler for Anheuser-Busch. He worked shift work and never missed a day, even with his first painful episode of gout. All through the summer, in the early evening, he would pitch softball to me, and the neighborhood kids on a portion of our yard that was flat and perfect for baseball. He wasn't a big guy, but he was compact and powerfully built. He was strong as a bull and was quietly tenacious, reliable and determined. Back in his day, he was a local, softball legend. He was always my hero.

      This is my favorite of your writings, Bill. I hear passion, diehard determination, and love. It's a beautiful thing.

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      Mr Archer 5 years ago from Missouri

      Wow! Did you take me back a few years here, billybuc. My dad grew up playing the game, and expected me to as well. But, I was a very small, scrawny kid who never felt he was good enough. At age 12, I quit the game, and have not forgiven myself since. I had a desire at the time, and I acted upon it: to pitch fast pitch softball and play with the men. By age 14, I had thrown countless hours against a concrete wall (I had to smile at your doing the same!), and the summer of my 14th year, was offered a chance to sign a players card and join the men's league. My first game, thrown in because the real pitcher couldn't get an out that night, saw me finish the inning and game having faced four men. One strikout, one hit, one popup, and one groundout. That's been almost 40 years ago, and I still remember that feeling. But as I grew older, and the sad lack of men playing fast pitch led to its demise, I began to look harder at baseball, and realized how much I missed out on. I could run, I had a really good glove, played a good second and short, could hit decently from both sides of the plate, and thought to myself "Why didn't I stay with the game?" I now have my last chance as a father of a son playing the game I left. He's 8, and has been slow to embrace the game, but is coming to see how much fun it can be. Part of it is my fault, as I chose long ago not to push the way I was pushed, which pushed me away from it. I want him to love it for what it is, not for what I love about it. Maybe, someday, he'll see that and fall in love with the game. Until then, he's happy with some catch, some hitting, and some watching. Great hub, and voted up across the board. Thanks for the memories.

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      shruti sheshadri 5 years ago from Bangalore, India

      Really interesting read, sadly baseball is not popular in India, I haven't seen anyone play it. But it sounds great! And to see that it has influenced you so much is truly inspiring!

      wonderful hub again!:)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jenn, I knew I liked you for a reason! :) Any woman who likes baseball is alright in my book. Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Baseball needs bench warmers, Martin! Thanks for the visit and the humor!

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      Jenn-Anne 5 years ago

      Great hub! I love baseball too. Not sure how that happened, especially since my mother hates baseball and my father doesn't even know that sports exist. All I know is, if there's a game on, I'll watch it. I really enjoyed reading about your experiences!

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      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Great story. Great lesson. Me... I was a bench warmer.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, Vellur, thank you! That lesson has stayed with me for decades. Yes, I love baseball!

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      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      You have played the game very well!! Your dad must be a wonderful man and loved the last bit - "How will I earn respect then? He just smiled at me, ruffled my hair, and told me that by that time I wouldn’t need a baseball, that a man earns respect by being a good man.

      Yes, I love baseball!" Voted way up.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Avian! It's always a pleasure having you drop by!

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      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      A great story, Billy. I fondly recall my baseball days with the old gang, too.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, thank you! I agree with you...it is so unusual that when I do see kids playing catch I pull off on the side of the road and watch them. LOL Sad....don't know why I'm laughing.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, I thought it was my imagination; there does seem to be a few extra reflections hubs nowadays. Thanks for mentioning that so I didn't think I was going crazy. :) and of course, thank you for your kind words. I had a great dad; all I did was learn from him.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Bill, amazing how a game can teach us some important lessons in life. Sounds like you had a terrific dad. Every kid should have the world's best dad. The sad part of all this to me is that I don't see those kids out playing ball today like you and I did when we were young. I hope they learn these life lessons in some other fashion.

      As usual, I feel like I am a little wiser after reading another of your inspirational Hubs. Keep them coming.

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I was so moved by how your dad would come home from work and take time to play catch with you. He was a really good person and so patient. I can't think of many people who would do this after such a long day. Your sharing is so inspiring, as usual, and others are catching on to the positive reflections on life. I see Nobel Peace Prize in the future!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzette, great story! I love stories like that and yes, you are my kind of gal. :) We aren't all blessed with incredible athletic prowess, but we can squeeze quit a bit out of what we have....determination and a willingness to work hard.

      Thank you my dear; hope it's not too wet there.

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      Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Wonderful, wonderful hub. These are the lessons we hope sports teach all children. I was a swimmer and had a similar experience trying to make the swim team - I finally did, but it wasn't easy - I had to defy an Olympic coach laughing at me - but I did, stood my ground, made the team, practiced my butt off, and went to and swam in the Ohio state finals for AAU swimming. It was an amazing run and I can't

      tell you how much I learned about myself, others, and life in general from all that. You are my kind of guy, Bill.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bac2basics, yes, my dad was one in million. He never forced the sport on me; rather, he used the bonding that it formed and hoped I would come to love it. He gave me all the tools and then stood back and let me use them. Really a great job of parenting. :) Thank you!

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 5 years ago from Spain

      Hi Billy. What a great hub, and what determination. Your Dad sounds like one in a million. How fantastic he found and coaxed you into something he knew would not only enthral you, but that you could become good at, therefore boosting your confidence. Voted up as beautiful and awesome.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Julie, you had me laughing with that last sentence. I never believed Ichiro would play for anyone else; I thought he would just retire and go back to Japan.....and to the dreaded Yankees!!!

      I always wanted to play cricket; I really do have to do some research on that sport.

      Nice to know there are baseball fans in your country; thank you for a great comment.

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      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Bill, great hub - I wish we played baseball over here :o) I am also a southpaw (bat left, throw right) and played rounders (in this country a game only played by girls and a game which was developed from baseball) but it's the history and tradition of baseball that I admire - it truly is part of America and part of so many American children's lives.

      PS - I still can't believe Ichiro is in a Yankees uniform, makes me feel like weeping :o(

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Kelley! I never pushed it on my son either and he ended up not playing it at all. No big deal; the lessons I learned could be taught to him in other ways. Thank you my friend!

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      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Hi Bill! Love this hub. My husband played baseball growing up, through college, and in the minor leagues. Baseball is an important sport in our home. However, he's never pushed it on our boys. Just this year our oldest played it for the first time. He seems like a natural to me but I'm his momma, of course. Love the game as well. Voted up and shared! Kelley

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sasha, I am fully aware of the great parents I had; the lessons I learned have served me well over the years, and hopefully some day I'll be able to thank them in person. I don't think you have anything to worry about; your kids will always know that they are loved.

      Thank you my dear.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Parksie! Welcome to HubPages and I will check out that book!

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      Christy Parks 5 years ago from St. Peters, Missouri

      Here's another book for you. The Big Field by Mike Lupica. Great Hub by the way!

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      Sasha Kim 5 years ago

      Your father was a good man, your love and respect for him shine in this hub ^_^ I hope one day my kids look back and think as highly of my husband and I. We're still waiting to see which sport they're interested in (They're only 3 years and 8 months) then my husband and I will attempt to be as good as your father. If they choose tennis then they're in for some wonderful training, my husband coached tennis for 7 years. ^_^ This hub should be read for inspiration by all parents! I'm going to share this in hopes that it sparks some parental participation! Voted up as well!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LaThing....you silly girls....I suppose you what, got interested in boys instead? Sheez!

      Thank you my friend; my dad was an awesome man.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bobbi, I do agree. I have nothing against video games, but I do believe there should be a strict limit on time, and then kids need to be pushed outside and taught how to play without toys. I appreciate you visiting; I have missed your visits and I suspect that is at least partially my fault. :)

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      BobbiRant 5 years ago from New York

      If only more kids would play sports, get off the computer and game systems and be able to experience these wonderful things as you did. This is a wonderful hub, full of the joys of something you loved. I loved reading it.

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      LaThing 5 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      This is beautiful, Billy! As a youngster I loved baseball, then in my late teen I started losing interest.... You know how girls are :))

      Loved your article, and thoroughly enjoyed it, reminiscing in the past! Your dad seemed like an awesome man...... Love to read your stories. Thanks, Billy!

      Voting up ++

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rich, I couldn't agree more. I really have nothing against video games per se; I do have a problem with not limiting their use and using them as a babysitter. Kids need to get out and get banged up some; run and jump and interact with other kids.....like we did.

      Thank you buddy; you are appreciated.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joseph, Janine, get along now, or billy is going to send you to your rooms for a time out. LOL

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I was worried....I was beginning to think you found another man. LOL Yes, my dad was easily the biggest influence on my life. I watched and learned, listened and learned.....he wasn't perfect but he was darn near a perfect father. :) Thank you my dear, for everything you do for me.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nova, my dad was the single most important influence on my life. He has been dead not over forty years but I will never forget the lessons he taught me. Thank you for the visit; I promise I will get to your site soon.

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      Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Bill -

      It would be so nice if the video games of today, many replacing the sports we grew up playing, only taught the lessons as well. One of my best lessons learned was that those working for a common cause will work harder to keep from letting the others done, as well you mention. It's the cog in the wheel or the link in the chain that makes groups so much stronger than the one. Exactly what's missing today. Another great one, my friend!

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      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      Billy, Janine, was just kidding. How can we harm such a precious mommy..?

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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Sorry Joseph, I am here. Was running errands this morning with the kids, but man I am so glad am back now and got to read Bill's latest. Seriously, Bill I honestly love when you write about your personal life and always feel like I can clearly picture it. I loved reading about how baseball made such an impact on your life as a kid and the as an adult. Totally agree with your messages here, especially quality time spent with your kids (know this all too well with my own now) and your dad's line earning respect by being a good man. I can tell your dad did indeed have a wonderful impact on your life growing up and he would be very proud of you my friend indeed! Have of course voted up, shared and tweeted!!

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      Nova Sky 5 years ago

      Great hub. My son is 8 and is still getting involved in baseball. Your writing actually inspired me from the father perspective, supporting him as he grows and matures. He may wind up playing a different sport but definitely think investing in my son (whether it's shooting baskets, playing catch, playing chess, whatever) is incredibly important.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pooja, I am proud to be the friend of a truly good person. Thank you my dear and have a wonderful...day? evening? Oh, just enjoy life! :)

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joseph, you are even talented in your comments. :) Baseball was my way to prove to the world that I belonged...that I could compete....that I had value. The sport served me well my friend and in a way I did have my own field of dreams. Loved that smell.

      Thank you buddy....for everything.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, if I had been alive when Ruth and Gehrig were there, I would have loved the Yankees. I did like them when Reggie Jackson played for them, and I loved Don Mattingly and Thurmon Munson....but that's about it. :)

      Thank you my friend; glad you like the sport.

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      poojasd7 5 years ago from India

      Another piece of delightful write-up. Enjoyed reading it. Proud to be a friend of an author :-) I just read the blurb of your book on amazon. I would love to read it some day in near future.

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      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      Come on Janine! I had to share Billy's hub now..? Oh! Sorry Billy, was talking to myself. Love this part of your life my friend. I know about that bondage created by baseball. I think you got attached to the game due to your energy and desire to push that extra mile as a kid. Your dad's wisdom got transferred into your "innings" behind your own creativity. You pitched four games on April of 65 and gave up eight hits and two runs total? What a wonderful mother's day...! I can imagine 16 years old billy walking to the field of dreams... and finding your friends from HP as kids ourselves... coming to say hi!... and have a wonderful time seeing you pitch a one-hit shutout. Those corn fields smelled so good!!

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      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      As you do in everything you write you hit the ball out of the park! How true your words are and so needed today. Kids that play ball are now more fanatical than sports-minded. So much can be learned in BB...I saw my sons learn so much, situations similar to yours.

      I do have to say though, I wasn't happy to see you hated the Yankees most of your life ;)

      Voted this up, useful, awesome, and beautiful.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michelle, I loved playing sports; it was a great part of my childhood.

      Thank you as always.

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      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      I used to be on the school's softball team! Sport shows the basic need for teamwork and can really build your self esteem, like you've mentioned. Glad we had the chance to play!!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      TT, we can only hope! It would be nice to see but man oh man, I have my doubts. My dad must be rolling over in his grave when he sees the slugs we now call teenagers.

      Thanks Sis!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Natasha, it is the perfect sport no matter your body build; all it takes is desire. Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, I was blessed with my childhood and I always feel bad that so many didn't have the kind I had. Thank you for always visiting; greatly appreciated.

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      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Great presentation of some of the best lessons in life, Bill. I wish more kids learned these today. Hopefully, the slug-festation that has taken over today's youth will be shrugged off and they will pick up the burden of life and make something of themselves. :)

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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Ah, baseball! I love it. It really is any man's game, right until the very last pitch, and a cohesive team has the possibility of beating even the greatest giants.

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      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      Good lessons in life. Also it seemed like you had a really good childhood with caring parents. And being that he played catch with you when you asked him to me shows really good parenting. Excelling in something especially when we have a passion for it is the biggest ego booster. I really never had any confidence until I was adult..and I still struggle with how I do things...if they are good enough. We just keep having new lessons to learn in life. HubPages is good for all of this. Voted UP.