At the end of Sunday's baseball game, the coach came to Ty and told him that he was the starting pitcher for Monday's game against West Virginia State, the 20th ranked Division II team in the country!!! From past experience, I can tell you that Ty pitches much better when he has a day's notice to prepare himself mentally, especially when he's starting the game.
Well, gameday, which happens to be his birthday, finally arrives. Gametime is 3pm, so the usual routine still exists consisting of getting out of bed (a huge accomplishment for college students) and getting to class. I leave work early to make the game and when I arrive at 2:45, Ty is nowhere in sight. I expected him to be in the bull pen warming up. As it turns out, he had already been in the pen getting warmed up. Probably nerves working on him a little, so he began the pre-game warm-up a little early. A few minutes later, he appears from the dugout with a fellow teammate and calls me over to the fence. His buddy tells me that his brother just got back from a military tour and he brought back some cigars. Knowing that I love cigars, the young man handed me a Romeo y Julieta #1!!! I was thrilled!! Almost immediately I thought to myself, "could this be a victory cigar?" If everything goes as planned it very well could be.
At 3pm sharp, the starting lineups are announced and the players take their places on the field for the National Anthem. There's Ty, standing with the other infielders, all in a line as the National Anthem is played. After that...GAMETIME!
The West Virginia State team brought with them their play-by-play radio announcer, which we could overhear calling the game from the pressbox. It seems this team has some powerful sluggers on it. I'm glad I didn't know that before the game started. You see, dad's tend to play the game with their son, pitch by pitch, in aggonizing anticipation of a good outcome.
I'll skip ahead here; Ty pitches 6 fantastic innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits to pick up the win!He left the game after his 6 innings with the score 5-1; good guys! Two other pitchers were used to close out the game; final score Newberry College 7, West Virginia State 5. (yes, it got a little scarey at the end, but the team did their job!)
Wow! He gets to be the starting pitcher on his birthday, pitches great, and get's the win! Remember that cigar? NOW it's a victory cigar!!! After a trip to a local sports bar for wings; one of Ty's favorite foods, I take my hero back to his dorm and I head home. The RyJ makes it's appearance from it's shiny aluminum tube and the cap is cut. The foot is toasted and this fine cigar's aroma makes it's debut. Ahhh!!! This gift was truely a surprise, but it made a great victory cigar!!! Maybe it was fate!
As I reflect on the day and the game, I am very thankful for the outcome. Ty is a great young man who deserves good things to happen to him. I am very proud to call him my son.
Congratulations Ty; job well done!
And...Happy Birthday, again!!!