Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm jealous of today's camera readied society

I'll admit, I am. I also admit that it is for purely selfish and vain reasons. It seems like all of the local broadcasters today have some sort of a program where viewers can submit prep highlights that they recorded, and we get to see some amazing highlights on fairly regular basis. It is a great feature, and it is even better for the kids that make the plays because they get the chance to see it and record it for posterity.

When I was a prep athlete, way back in the early 1990's, that just wasn't the case. Only a fairly small number of people had video cameras, and their footage rarely, if ever, made it to the news. Well, I was good high school baseball player. I wasn't great, otherwise I'd have had a college baseball career, but I was good. One year we were playing our rivals and we had our ace pitcher on the mound. I was playing left and we had a one run lead in the bottom of the seventh, but our rivals had two on and two out. The batter hit a line drive into the gap in left center and I knew I had to get on my horse to make the play or they were going to win. I sprinted towards the left center gap at an angle that was almost parallel to the infield. As the ball and I got closer, it was clear to me that the only chance I had was if I made a play on the ball at the last instant. I waited until the ball seemed like it was going past me and I dove to my left at almost a 90 degree angle to the plane I was running on. I can still feel my toes on my right foot pushing off the ground as I dove. I never saw the ball hit my glove and, more importantly, I never felt it hit the glove. I hit the ground hard and blacked out for a moment or two, knowing I had missed the ball. Next thing I knew, the centerfielder was yelling, "Show the ump the ball! Show him the ball!" I opened my eyes and there, snow coned in the tip of my glove, was the ball. It was in there so precariously that I was afraid to get up, and by this time I was laying on the ground with my feet facing the infield, so I just held my arms up as high as I could in that position until I heard the out called.

I was on cloud nine as I ran into the dugout. When we got done with our little post game ritual, two parents of a guy on the other team came up to me. They had been video taping their kid's game and they had the catch on tape, and they wanted to know if I wanted to see it. I politely declined because I was kind of modest. In retrospect, I really, really want to see that tape. Today, it would have been emailed into to some TV station and it probably would have been played or placed on their website. Back then, it just went into somebody's video library, destined to be forgotten or recorded over with an episode of Oprah.

I should have tried to buy it off of them. As it is, I have no video of my playing days to torture my kids and grandkids with. That would have been a good one.

No comments: