Story Time – My First Home Run

This summer, I started playing baseball in league for washed up players who can’t let go.  Of course, I want to hit a home run, but I doubt I will.  Playing again did remind me of my first ever collegiate home run.  When most baseball players hit their first high school or collegiate home run, it’s memorable for good reasons.  My first over the fence home run didn’t quite end up that way.

Look at that serious home run face!

Look at that serious home run face!

During my freshman year of college, I tried out for the baseball team at UW-Oshkosh.  The best part about tryouts was all we did was play games.  The coaches would make teams, and all fall we just played against our teammates.

I knew my chances at making the team were thin, just like me.  Back then, I wasn’t that big of a guy.  I was about six foot one, but I probably only weighed 30 pounds.  Another factor against me was I was what they call a “walk-on”.  This means I wasn’t recruited by the coaches to play baseball.  Thankfully, I made it through the first week of cuts.  The coaches must have seen something in me, because they started working one on one with me.  The hitting coach made me change my batting stance, and how I held the bat.

The next game after I had my one on one coaching session, I was penciled in as the starting left fielder and hit seventh in the order.  The pitcher we faced was a sidearmer.  His fastball was pretty nasty.  It tailed like crazy as it came darting in towards the plate.  The first two innings, he mowed down all of the batters he faced in order.

Right before I was to lead off the third inning, the pitcher from our team, Tom Petri, told us to start getting some hits.  Petri was a great collegiate pitcher, and actually played in the minor leagues after college for two years.  I don’t remember how he knew me back then since he was a Senior and I was a Freshman, but Tom talked to me right before my at bat.  “Tief,” he said.  “Get a hit.”

I trotted up to the batters box and got myself mentally ready.  I wanted to get a better read on the sidearmer’s fastball, so I took the first pitch.  The catcher called balls and strikes since this was a practice game.  The first pitch was way outside, but the catcher called it a strike.  What a load of crap, that call was, I thought to myself.  Well, at least I knew one thing.  I’d better be swinging up here.

The pitcher wound up for the next pitch, unfurled his body and hurled a low and inside tailing fastball.  I swung hard, whipping the bat down at the pitch and totally crushed the ball high and deep down the left field line.  Normally, when I pull the ball, it tails way foul, so I stood in the batters box after I hit the ball.

My majestic blast hung right on the line and was so high it went over the top of the foul pole.  The catcher didn’t say fair or foul, so I just stood in the batter’s box like an idiot.  Finally, the head coach broke the silence,  “Start running!  Who do you think you are?  Barry Bonds?”

It was fair.  I just hit a home run.  I sprinted around the bases and then headed back into the dugout. Petri was laughing, along with the rest of the players.  “What were you doing out there?” he asked.  I just shrugged my shoulders.  They all laughed some more.

– David Tiefenthaler

Tough Mudder Chicago

Hey everyone!  I just finished the Tough Mudder Chicago this weekend.  For Christmas, my wife bought me this really cool camera called the GoPro 3.  You can wear it on your body and tape you doing stupid things like running an 11 mile race with 22 obstacles and tons of mud.

You can watch my experience right here.

– Dave

My Kids Play Dirty – Soccer Story Time

I’m too competitive.  It’s something I have come to accept, and unfortunately this trait of mine is rubbing off on my children.  Here’s my story… This weekend, my three children challenged me to a soccer game.  We set up two goals in the backyard and started playing.  The first one to five goals would be declared the winner and grand champions of the soccer universe.

Get off me kids!

Get off me kids!

My oldest son, Bob the Builder, is seven.  He is ultra competitive, so I knew this would be a battle.  If he loses, he starts crying.  Then again, when I lose, I cry too.  He’s kind of like his father that way.

Quickly, I busted out to a two to nothing lead.  When I play, I play for keeps.  YOU KNOW IT!  No little crew of pip squeaks are going to keep me down.  Bob recognized that he had to change his strategy, or this game would be a rout.  He huddled up with The Flower Child, my five year old daughter, and Ivan the Terrible, my three year old son.

Bob’s plan was devious and brilliant.  Immediately after the huddle broke, The Flower Child sprinted right at me.  She then jumped up and gave me a big bear hug.  I put her down because Bob the Builder was coming to shoot on goal, but The Flower Child clung to my leg leaving me completely immobile.  Bobo scored!

The next time down, Bob sent The Flower Child and Ivan the Terrible to grab my legs.  Bob scored again.  The game was tied 2 – 2.

The rest of the game involved me dodging the munchkins, while trying to score goals and keep Bob from scoring.  When the score was tied four to four, things got intense.  As The Flower Child and Ivan the Terrible chased me, I would snatch them before they could cling to my legs, and I would toss them out of the way.  They didn’t get discouraged at all, and Ivan started diving at my ankles.  I tripped eluding Ivan’s attack, and then The Flower Child jumped on my back as I was trying to get back up.  Bob saw his window of opportunity and scored the winning goal.

Bob celebrated the victory by joining his brother and sister.  They all jumped on me repeatedly as I rolled around in the grass crying.

– Dave

How about you?  Are you competitive?  Do you play fair, or do you look for that edge, even if you’re cheating?