By Cassidy Dover: "Cross Training"
Today it was pouring rain outside. I woke up to loud thunder and lots of heavy, heavy rain. My mind started to wander to the lazy days we all used to have during the offseason. We could wake up whenever we wanted, eat breakfast, watch some t.v. We had nowhere to go and we made sure we took advantage of that! As the rain continued, my hand started to feel sore and I found myself rolling my wrist from side to side. I decided such a response from my body deemed the following a good story to share. Hope you think so too!
One off season Ray decided that he needed to start to throw to get ready for spring training. I mentioned we live in Minnesota, right? In case you're not entirely familiar with January in Minnesota, imagine walking into a deep freezer. Just stand there for about twenty minutes or so. Imagine that feeling after you open your door. The air stops you and you inhale so quickly and feel a burn deep in your lungs that you're frozen in your tracks trying to decide what to do next. Then you exhale and realize the only way to truly survive is to hope it's like that spicy salsa and that you body will feel better after the next breath - although all it becomes is a vicious cycle of survival that you convince yourself is invigorating!
Ok, so now, hopefully, you're cold. You're chest is tight. You are imaging yourself in silk long johns and layers on top. Are you with me?
Ray said, "I'm going to try to find someone to play catch today."
"Oh, I can catch for you!" I told Ray with confidence.
"No you can't. Trust me. Your hand will hurt. It will more than hurt. Even if I throw half speed you don't want to play catch." Ray wasn't trying to brag or say that he threw hard. Truth is I'm not a catcher. I'm not used to catching a baseball traveling over 50 mph (maybe that's a bit more than half speed, but you get my point) on a balmy, summer day let alone a day when my hands will feel like a stone is being hurled at it.
"Ray, let's go outside and I can try to play catch with you. It'll be fun!" Looking back, I was really young and dumb and wanting to share something with my dear husband that I generally don't get to be a direct part of.
"O.K. Cassidy. But really, let me know if it hurts too much."
With that, we bundled up. We put on our outdoor clothes. We put on our head masks and brought out other hats for when we got too warm from the throwing and catching. I hadn't even factored in the running we'd both be doing since I can't throw a ball straight. I can't catch a ball on a good day, either. This was not set up to be a good day for me!
We found a nice area out in the back of the house. We started close together and soft tossed the ball back and forth. It was easy! What's all the hype about? Slowly we moved further and further away. Ray was throwing me "pop flies" rather than directly throwing the ball at me. I was running around trying to find the white ball in the white clouds reflecting from the white snow. My toes were getting cold but I was not going to say a word! We were having so much fun together! Then I told Ray, "Ok, I'm ready!" and I got down into a squating position.
"You sure?" Ray said.
"Yep, go ahead! Show me what you've got!" I laughed.
And then the ball came at me. I closed my eyes tightly. I prayed the ball would find it's way into my glove and that my hand and body would know what to do when it got there.
"Cassidy! Hey, go get the ball! " Ray called out.
Apparently, with my eyes closed, I didn't realize that the ball Ray had thrown had missed the mark of my body and gone outside and was now somewhere behind me. I ran and found the ball and tossed it back to him. Then I got back into position.
Ray threw again. My body tensed up. My breathing became shallow and I just kept thinking, "Keep your eyes open Cassidy. Keep your eyes open! Catch the ball this time no matter what!" This time the ball made contact with my glove. I screamed in what can only be described as an animal dying a slow death by arrow.
"Holy sh*t Ray! You weren't suppose to throw as hard as you can!" Seriously, we had agreed he'd start slow.
Ray was laughing and standing over me as I held my hand like a poor cat who's paw had just been stepped on. My wrist was limp. My hand, under the glove and liners, was as red as a fire engine. Then there were some white spots. Ray picked up some snow and packed my hand in it. Then he picked me up and started walking towards the house.
But wait, suddenly I was thrown down. Ray picked up some snow, made a snow ball, and pelted me with it! I picked up my own and nailed him right back. It felt so good, revenge, that my throbbing hand didn't matter, at least for the time being. Then and there, we had the best snow ball fight ever! I felt like a middle school aged kid playing outside with my friends! We were laughing and chasing each other and having a great time in the cold.
We must have done that for a good ten minutes (which in a Minnesota winter is equivalent to hours in a non-northern border state winter) and decided to go inside to have some hot chocolate. We were both rosy cheeked and soaking wet as we sat at the kitchen table. Ray looked over my hand and decided it was really only a ball sting and not anything more serious.
The next morning we woke up and my wrist, my hand, and my shoulder were throbbing. I couldn't let Ray know the truth about that. That is until he came up to me and said, "Baby, my shoulder feels a bit sore. I think playing catch and having a snow ball fight really worked. Thanks!"
Cross Training. Isn't that what all good trainers tell you to do when you are working out? Well in Minnesota, in the winter, getting ready for spring training isn't always as straight forward as playing catch and finding a mound to start to throw off of. You have to get creative!
In the process, Ray and I had an awesome time!
Thanks for reading,
Cassidy Dover has been a baseball wife for more than 10 years. Her husband Ray, currently in the minor leagues, has spent part of 7 seaons in The Show. To read more of her columns, just click HERE. Cassidy lives somewhere in America with her daughter Sheridan. Right now, they're probably waiting for Ray to come home.