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Post Info TOPIC: Love of the Game


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Love of the Game


Hello Fellow CDMSBL Alum,

A couple of years ago I got hurt and have had to have three surgeries which included a full reverse shoulder replacement and both knees being replaced. I usually don't post but today I came across the post below in love for the game and had to post. I am hoping that next year I will once again be able to step between the chalk lines again but please enjoy this just the same. The truth is you never know when you last game may be!

One day you will step out of the field for the last time. One day you will untie forever. One day you'll put a glove in your bag and it'll be there for months at a time. One day your tans will fade. You'll forget about the feeling of the seam under your fingers. You'll struggle to remember what it feels like to hit the perfect pitch. You will meet your teammates once or twice a year instead of every day. You will not slip into second. You won't round first. One day you will be on the other side of the fence.

One day, this won't be your life anymore. And when you don't, you won't remember what you thought. You won't know how many times you've beaten. You won't know how many mistakes you've made. You won't be impressed with how many home runs you get. You won't care about your average or your ERA. For the most part, you won't remember the wins and losses.

After your last has come and gone, you'll recall the times when you wanted to give upbut didn't. You'll miss the teammates (and family) you've loved along the way. You'll remember playing in the cold, driving rain, and unbearably hot. You'll remember the coherence of the hotel and the eight-hour rides. You'll remember the early practices and the late games. You will miss the coaches who never gave up on you. But most of all, you'll remember the happiness that comes only from being in between two chalk lines. You will remember the moments when you did more than you believed you could. You will remember the times when you used every little bit of your God-given talent.

One day, this won't be your life anymore. So for today, run as fast as your feet will take you. Whether it was a bounce to the pot or it jumped off the fence in the field to the left. Today, swing as hard as you can. Commit to each pitch and give it all you have. For today, make all plays as if this were your last chance. Today, play because you want to. Play because you need to play. Play for the boy you loved this game all those years ago.

In today's day, do not stop until the last pitch is thrown. Play with pieces of hearts and drop them all on the pitch. One day, this won't be your life anymore. When that day comes, make sure you don't change anything."

Regards and Thanks Dodgers 55, Blue Jays 45, Red Sox's and Cougars!

Mike Kocienski


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Michael Kocienski


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BEAUTIFUL!
Putting off that day for as long as possible, but is inching ever closer.


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Michael J. Girard


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Think about that every time I step on the field. God I love this game!

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Three Star Guru

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Mike - Heal up a bit and play some games in the Capital Division. Their games would be the perfect environment for you to ease back into baseball.

Don Ball
Dodgers

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Donald J. Ball Jr


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Nice post Mike. I'll enjoy playing a few rounds of golf with you until you return.

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We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing.


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Nice write-up, I agree with Mike Girard, I think we all are trying to put off that day for as long as possible, but it is inching ever so closer. When I joined the Senators my first year back in 1997 there were 2 age divisions, What I like most about this league is how over the years new age divisions were added so guys werent pushed out due to diminishing abilities trying to compete with guys 10,15,20 years younger. Maybe there will be an over 70 or 75 league in the future. Just saying, Have a Happy and Healthy 4th everyone!

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Mike - From the first time I remember meeting you, at Watervliet for a fall ball game, you impressed me with the pleasure you took in
playing and with the way you enjoyed talking with fellow players. I was also struck by your stroke. You socked some high shots to deep left.

Here's hoping that your operations are not the last word on your play. Don Ball is right: Cap Division is a great way to work your
way back into the game. It helped me.

There is a surprising number of guys in this league who've returned to the game after more than one serious encounter with the
surgeon. From 2002 to 2017 I had ten surgeries on various body parts used in playing the game, and this year, as I turn 76 and play,
gratefully, for my 29th season, I know that the lure of the game not only kept me healthy with in- and off-season exercises,
but urged me to return to health after I went down.

One thing that helped me probably more than anything else? Aqua jogging at the YMCA pool. If you're not water jogging already, you might consider it.

You can find aqua jogging (aka "water jogging") online. All the Y's in the area have aqua jogging vests at their pools. You
can water-jog or swim with the vests and they help support injured muscles and bones. The vests let you mimic real running in the water,
while also avoiding the hard contact on ground that comes with running. And they massage your sore bones and muscles as you go.
I've kept up water jogging. It's always a part of my swim workout. I did it today at the Y.

If you have access to a pool close to home, or a lake-side cottage, you can buy a water jogging vest on line or at most sporting goods stores.
Last I knew, six years ago, they sold for about $25.

And, the guys who've recovered from surgeries and returned to the game, very likely have not only upbeat stories about their
recoveries but their recoveries may in some ways be useful to you, too. They might have tips and ideas you can use.

Among them, there's Pirates manager and pitcher Jim Dalton. I'm not violating any HIPPA privacy in writing this because I profiled
Jim for the league's website a few years back. It's still up if you want to read it.

There, I noted that Jim, now in his late 60s, has endured nine surgeries including rotator cuff and double knee replacement. But
he found ways to stay in the game. Initially, Jim was an umpire, which I believe he still does. Then, if memory serves, he played
Cap Division ball. Then he eased himself back into the 62 division to manage and play.

If you don't know if umpiring would be for you, one thing I always wanted when I was a manager was to have a permanent
scorekeeper. For two summers, I was very lucky to have Sarah Macy keep my team's, the Red Hot Peppers', score books. Sarah
was a former softball player, and a friend of two of my Peppers teammates, Jim and Dave Edelman. She knew the game well, and no one
I've ever known, before or since, kept such crisp, smart, clear scorekeeping. What a help she was.

If you think you'd like to do that, you might contact one or more managers and offer your score-keeping services. Another thing you might
do separately or with scorekeeping, is to volunteer to be a team's scribe. Everybody loves reading good game stories here on the web.
It would keep you in the dugouts, watching the games, jabbering with the guys.

Another good way to stay in the game is to read about it. I'll suggest two books you might like, written by people who were some
distance from playing but in their thinking and writing, were not.

There's historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Wait Till Next Year," about her growing up a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers. It's a fabulous book
on more than one level, but especially moving is her meeting, as a nine- or ten-year-old girl, with future Hall of Famer Gil Hodges at a local fan night in Queens.

Then there's Arnold Hano's "A Day in the Bleachers," in which Hano, an AP reporter who lived in upper Manhattan in 1954, told his wife on a late September
morning that he thought he'd take in the first World Series game that day at the Polo Grounds. He a bought bleacher ticket and a salted pretzel. His ticket
put him in the centerfield seats, toward which in the eighth inning, Willie Mays would come running at full speed to make what some said was the greatest
Series' catch ever. Cleveland first baseman Vic Wertz had launched a shot that traveled about 428 feet. Some said it was just about as high. Mays
was playing shallow, about 250 feet out, because there were runners at first and second. At the bat's crack, he spun and sprinted straight at the wall, which,
in the strangely shaped Polo Grounds, was about 450 feet out. The ball flew over Mays' head and came down into his outstretched glove.

Mays ran straight at Hano. He describes the catch well.

Mays' throw, about 270 feet to second base, wasn't half bad either. The toss forced Cleveland star Larry Doby to retreat to second base, and kept the score
tied at 2. The Giants would win the game, 5-2, on Dusty Rhodes 10th inning homer to right. That ball, at the oddly shaped Polo Grounds, traveled only about 275 feet.
The underdog Giants won the series, 4-0.

Both books should be in the library and I'm fairly sure they're available online (try Alibris.com) for about oh, three bucks each.

Typically, I've gone on. Lots of luck to you, Mike.

-Mike




-- Edited by mikehart on Thursday 6th of July 2023 03:48:13 AM

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Hello Again CDMSBL Alum,

Thanks for all the positive feedback, it was truly appreciated.

The main reason for the post was to just pass on an article that I had read that just touched me when I read it and I knew that all of you would probably enjoy it.

I am not planning on going quietly into the night. I plan to fight back, and to get back on the field with every inch of my being. I am currently fighting minor setbacks that are not allowing me to go out and enjoy hanging out with my 55 Dodgers team. I am hoping that we are near a resolution with this as well. However, I found out yesterday that I must get one more procedure in August and hopefully this will be the end of all this madness.

Don and Mike, I have always been a fan of the Capital Division and I plan on being part of them at some point next year in my bid to get back on the field with the Dodgers.

Mike Hart, Thanks for the kind words, I have enjoyed every conversation I have had with you on and off the field. I remember during that fall ball season talking with you at 2nd base quite a bit.
I will say that we play this game because we love it. It is in your soul, and you cant get rid of it, it exhumes you with a love you cant shake. I started playing at 7 and Im not going down without a fight.

This franchise of CDMSBL is truly and amazing bunch of people and I am happy to be part of it!!


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Michael Kocienski


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Hello Mike,

Thank you for sharing your heartfelt reflections on the game. Your journey and resilience through surgeries and setbacks are truly inspiring. It's evident that the love for the game runs deep in your veins, and your optimism to step between the chalk lines again next year is commendable.

Your words serve as a powerful reminder to cherish every moment on the field, as you never know when it might be your last. The vivid descriptions of the sensations, camaraderie, and challenges of the game resonate with anyone who has ever played. Your message encourages everyone to play with passion, as if it were their last chance.

On a related note, I couldn't help but notice the mention of the damar hamlin jesus jacket in your post. It sounds intriguing, and I'm curious about the story behind it. If you could share more details or your personal connection to it, that would be great.

Wishing you all the best in your recovery and future endeavors on the field.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

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Perhaps Jim Bouton put in in perspective with just one line:

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.''

Even after 24 years, it seems that the grip isn't loosening!

JimK

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It's nice to see this article pop-up again. I mentioned in the article that I had one minor procedure left. During that procedure they found prostate cancer that has spread into my bones. My wife and I are now living in Georgia and I am going through treatment. I am halfway through chemo and things look positive. I wasn't going to say anything as most of my 55 Dodgers teammates know. But this article brings into perspective about never knowing when your last game is. I have had this conversation with Mike Surin a couple of times on this subject and Pat Alston and I talk all the time. I still want to battle my way back but time will tell. I will close by saying play the game with passion and with your heart because you never know when you will step between those chalk lines for the last time as a player. I can 100 percent say I ALWAYS Played just for the love of the game!

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Michael Kocienski


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Mike,

It's not just your love of the game that is so inspiring, but your love of people. There are few among us here who approach others on the field with such openness, friendliness, and kindness--and I will be forever grateful to you for introducing yourself to me. I don't remember much of past games played, Mike, but I will always remember you and the heartfelt humanity that guides you. You are one in a million, my dear friend, and I wish you the very best. As in all challenges you take on, you will not only succeed, but be a model for us all in your cheerfulness, strength, and fortitude.

Frank

-- Edited by Frank Montagano on Sunday 18th of February 2024 04:51:03 PM

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Hey Mike - I'm very sorry to hear this latest news, though I'm glad to hear that your spirits and will to fight remain high.
That's no easy trick, but then, your long bombs to left were not easy either. Do one, do the other.

Let me bring to your attention the work of Linus Pauling, a chemist who twice won the Nobel Prize, first for chemistry, then for peace.

Pauling is notable for lots of reasons but to me, I was always impressed by the fact that whenever he found something that
absorbed him, he dove into it, full tilt, body, mind, spirit.

At the center of much of his work is what he felt was a key element in fighting cancer: it was of all things, Vitamin C. The story I recall
is that in the 1960s, Pauling contracted cancer - not sure which kind - and to fight it, he put himself in the year-round sunniest place
he could find, southern Arizona, under the theory that gray skies of the north didn't lift his mood. (So it's good you're in Georgia now.)

He also took with him videos of all the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and WC Fields movies he could find, and watched
them over and over, under the theory that laughter - an improved mood - would fight the cancer. Mood and health were related for him.

Then, the took megadoses in the 1000's of vitamin C, daily.

Within a year, he was cured. He wrote about it in one of his books. You can find them on amazon.

There's a long essay on him and his work, published by Oregon State. It's here: a https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/about/linus-pauling-biography#:~:text=He%20wrote%20numerous%20articles%20and,Live%20Longer%20and%20Feel%20Better.

I don't know if Pauling's work will lift your spirits and help you. I hope so. Pulling, hard, for you, Mike.

Drop me a line when you find the time. Mhart44@me.com.

My best - Mike







-- Edited by mikehart on Sunday 18th of February 2024 05:35:14 PM

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Best of luck Mike!

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