The Search For My Perfect Swing — Part 38

2012 Maryland State Doubles

Last Saturday arrived as a beautiful day in Maryland, warm, a bit muggy and sunny. A perfect day for the Maryland State Doubles Championship in Essex, Maryland. I awoke early as usual before a tournament. Pitching was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. An easy ride to Essex and found the pits in excellent shape, grass cut and crew busy removing the overnight rain from each pit. Had great practice session, knees felt great and felt I was ready to go. At 10:00 a.m., a few moments of silence for our troops and pledge to the flag and we settled in to pitch.

Just before we started, I checked all of the clipboards for emergency instructions, hoping of course, they would not be needed. My partner is the best 30 foot Elder pitcher in Maryland and we started our first match. I felt great, threw 22 ringers of 30 shoes for a 73.33% ringer average, for our first win. Second game, another win, threw 19 of 30 for a 63.3% average. It looked like a good day. Little did I know what was about to unfold.

Emergency! Pit 11

Shortly after beginning game 3, talk began to circulate about an Elder pitcher with a possible problem on Pit 11. The pitcher had been experiencing dry lips and mouth and was beginning to develop a stomach ache. I decided to monitor the situation and reviewed my emergency information and what I should do, since I’m the guy with CPR certification. By the end of the third game the pitcher was feeling nauseated and headed to the restroom. He made it just in time before losing his breakfast. He returned looking pale, but, insisted on continuing his match. A female pitcher gave him a cold compress and he continued pitching. One of the pitchers during the 5th match, said that he was looking pale and ought to sit down, which he did. He sat for a couple of minutes and returned. It was obvious that the guy was badly dehydrated, a potentially dangerous condition. He had tried to replace his fluid with a quart of Gatorade, a couple of Cokes to settle his stomach and bottles of water. Nothing seemed to work. Lips still dry and mouth full of cotton. This guy was not using his head, but, it was for the Maryland Doubles Championship. He couldn’t pull out on his partner. Each game a little worse than the previous one, but, he finished the tournament with a 50% ringer average and headed to his truck to cool off. He and his partner had won 1st Place, Elders Class. The tournament director gave him his trophy and he left.

Well, the guy with all of these problems was me! What in the world had happened? A meal the night before had not agreed with me. I gulped down a little antacid and was good as new, so I thought. A fretful night, up and down several times. Nerves, I thought. Well, it caught up with me the next day and I’m still feeling the after effects 4 days later.

What, if anything, did I learn from this experience? Tell someone you’re having a problem. Don’t make a big deal of it, just to make sure someone knows you may be having a concern. You might want to mention something to the tournament director. If you’re one of the league officers, you might want to make sure there are emergency instructions handy and someone knows the actual address of the facility. Don’t be foolish. If you drop on the court without anyone having a clue about a potential problem they won’t know what to tell the EMT’s when they arrive. At least I was smart about that. It was a rough ride home and kept my eyes for convenient pull off spot. Thankfully, not needed, but a rough night to come. I’m on the mend and looking forward to the Maryland State Singles and the Maryland Senior Olympics in September.

Added June 19th, 2016. With the high temperatures being reported in the mid west, I thought it was the best time to add to Part 38 “Emergency Pit 11”. If you’ve read this part, you will know that the emergency was mine. What I have discovered recently is that my situation was a life threatening one. I should have called 911 immediately. Why? What I didn’t mention at the time was that I threw up what appeared to me as coffee grounds. They were not coffee grounds, but, “blood clots”, a sure sign of heat stroke. So, don’t make the same stupid mistake that I made. If you ever see coffee grounds, call 911 immediately. It may save your life. I was lucky.

Continue to Part 39 for a discussion of what to expect when pitching from 30 feet.

E-mail me if you have questions.

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