I have played sports all my life, including many different kinds of sports. However, my favorite sport to play is baseball. While other sports such as basketball, racquetball, and football offer more contact and exercise, there is just something about the atmosphere of the game that is endearing. The anticipation of a ball hit to you at SS and turning the double play. The smell of fresh cut grass on a summer day. The crack of the bat. There is so much more to the game than just the events inside the lines. The game is a part of the American culture.

I remember one Saturday morning when I was young. I and my family got up early so we could travel out of town for an all-day tournament. We headed out to the day’s events at approximately 7 that morning. The entire trip involved me imaging myself making plays- both in the field and at bat. I had utilized this technique of self-visualization from a young age after watching and studying the method from the basketball coach Phil Jackson.

Basically, this method, derived from the Zen Buddhist Religion, involved placing yourself in situations where you succeed and playing these situations out in your head. The idea is that by visualizing success, you have already put yourself in a position to deliver and succeed before you get into the actual situation itself in real time. This can be visualizing a made 3 pointer in basketball or turning a double play to end Game 7 of the World Series or any other anticipated moment in time.

As we arrived to the field, all of my baseball senses were immediately heightened at once- the sounds of “Ice cold soda and cracker jacks” filled the morning air. The fields were being prepared with chalk lines down the first and third base lines respectively. Other teams, including mine were just arriving. Some were already there taking in the scene- like minded in purpose and symmetrically driven by the same passion for the game. All of this anticipation leading up to the official beginning to the day’s events with the declaration from the umpire of “Play ball.”

The umpire for the first game was an individual named Brian Kane. The word on the street among the people in the stands was that he had recently been released from prison after serving some time for Arson. He had been allegedly tried and convicted of burning down a local plumbing retail outlet store. He had also filmed the event and posted it on social media with the songs “When the smoke is coming down,” by the band Scorpions, and “Fuel,” by Metallica playing in the background of the documentary of the implosion. This was a mere side note to the tournament, however.

I performed well that day during the tournament. I had 8 hits, 5 RBIs, 2 Stolen Bases, and played well defensively at both SS and CF over the course of 5 games. Our team went 4-1 and placed second in the tournament. I left the tournament with many great memories and anticipated my next tournament the weekend to follow.