Opening day of baseball season is something that I always look forward to. The sounds, the smells; the feel of a new season is magical. Most hunters, myself included, likely get the same feeling about the opening day of deer season. It’s hard to sleep the night before because there are so many “what if” scenarios running through your head. Friday was supposed to be our opening day of the 2021 college baseball season. However, you can’t beat Mother Nature.
On Thursday, a blizzard ripped through the Midwest making travel impossible for our opponent for the weekend. With rain in the forecast here for Friday, as well, it made it easy to push the game back to Saturday. Opening Day would have to wait for one more day. On Saturday morning, I awoke with an extra pep in my step. I hurried to my office only to sit and watch it rain. Myself and our pitching coach, Eric Ebers, sat in our office hitting the refresh button on three different weather websites the entire day. The outlook was pretty much the same, we weren’t going to play. Opening Day, once again, would have to wait one more day.
At this point, I’m pretty much chomping at the bit to get back on the field. We hadn’t played a game since March 10 of last year due to the Covid shutdown. It has felt like forever since I’ve got to watch our team play. If you know me at all, you know that patience is not my strongest virtue. I was so impatient as a child that my grandmother would often make me spell the word out loud to her. As I’ve aged not much has changed. Rain delays and rainouts drive me absolutely crazy. The same thing goes for hunting and fishing. I am not as patient as I sometimes seem, and crummy weather makes me want to throw rocks through windows.
Sunday morning finally arrived, and I looked out my bedroom window and saw sunshine. Today is the day. It’s finally here, Opening Day. I felt like I was shot out of a canon when I got to the field. Our guys pulled the tarp, and the work to get our field ready began. After batting practice and pregame infield, it was time. I’ve mentioned before that there’s not many things that get my blood pumping like hearing the National Anthem on Opening Day, and Sunday was no different. Hearing that song and watching that flag blow in the breeze brought on a major adrenaline rush. It also made me feel proud to live in a country where we get to enjoy these things.
When the day ended, we had won two games. Putting off Opening Day for two days had paid off with good weather and good baseball. As I drove home I thought about having patience. How many times have all of us given up on a hunt or a fishing trip because we were impatient? I have many, many times. How many times have we killed a deer that we wish we would have let walk, because we were impatient? Guilty. We don’t have patience because patience is hard. It’s hard to sit and wait for the unknown when the action is slow. That’s the way America is now. We want what we want and we want it now. However, now could be a good time to slow our roll and practice a little patience.
I’ve been racking my brain the last few days trying to find a good example of when being patient failed me. I can’t think of one time where being patient resulted in something negative. Most success that I’ve had was due to being patient, and most failure could have been averted had I been patient. Yet, here I am still fighting slowing down. I even think back to any deer that I’ve shot at and missed over the last 15 years. Aside from an occasional equipment malfunction, being patient and taking a better shot would have resulted in more dead deer. Having said all of that, there is a difference in being patient and being slow to act. If you practice patience, when the right time comes to act, you’ll know.
I’ve had 17 Opening Days at William Carey, 13 as a coach, and I think that this one was the first one that I’ve actually savored. Maybe getting shutdown last season made me subconsciously slow the games down and take them all in. Whatever the reason, this was the first one that I really soaked in each and every pitch. I’m hoping that our players did the same. They, of all people, should understand that the game can be taken away from us at any moment. Covid may end up being life’s greatest lesson for our young people. I’m hoping that it does. I’m hoping that they learn the value of doing things with intent. I’m hoping that they, and myself, learn the value of a little patience.