Clean Date - For Those Who Got Up After Every Fall
I'm going to take a moment in this blog to get a little deep and little personal. I've been around a lot of alcoholics and drug addicts for many parts of my life. I never fell into the addiction trap, but I know how hard it is to try to lift someone out of a deep, dark, spiraling descent as they waste away to nothing. I watched my brother go through almost every drug in the book. He was a great athlete growing up. He was faster than most track athletes, but he never ran in track. He could juke, spin and shake people out of their shoes better than most football athletes that I competed with, but he never played football past middle school. He was about 150lbs soaking wet, but he could crush a baseball further than most juiced up baseball players that I've seen play ball. His heart and passion was baseball. He lived it, breathed it and never missed a day of it. He was on the field every chance that he could get. Growing up, we were like the sandlot kids. We had homerun derbys on every nice weekend that came our way. All of this ended once he chose to drift towards heroine over everything else in his life. I watched as he let drugs take him out of the game completely. He was being ejected from games due to aggression and lost motivation to play ball altogether. It was hard to watch someone take something that they were extremely passionate about and toss it on the back burner for something worthless. I was just the little brother that had no words of wisdom to offer at the time. I knew that he was chasing a quick path to death instead of living a life that had much more to offer him than the drugs ever did.
My brother and his girlfriend Sarah, the girl who keeps him level headed.
Daniel (Tim Tebow), Chaz and my nephew Memphis.
After highschool I started a slowpitch team. My brother would give me S%&T about it. "Going to hit those 3 MPH fastballs, huh?" "Yup, sure am" That's exactly what I did. It kept me busy and on my feet. I met a lot of new people and on top of that I was able to meet up with some of my good friends every week. It was something to look forward to. My brother was in recovery at the time. Soon after he joined recovery he ended up on a recovery slowpitch team. After he joined the league, he was always talking about slowpitch softball. He'd ask me "What bat are you swinging?" or "What balls are you using" or "What field are you playing at?" He would not shut up! But I was proud to see that he was keeping his mind away from drugs. He was starting to form a new family in recovery. After his first year in recovery ball, he asked if I wanted to come play in his league for the following season. "You can be an exempt player that supports me" I joined recovery ball to do just that. I didn't know what to expect. I end up going to the first tournament of the year. As I was walking around, I can see that some of these guys and girls have had some rough patches in life. Prison tattoos from their head to their toes, along with stories about their time in prison and every so often, mentions of the drugs that destroyed parts of their lives. I noticed something similar in each and every individual that was in the recovery league. They all treated each other like best friends. Almost every person in that leauge that I crossed, had a huge heart and nothing but love for each other. It was one big family.
This family became my brothers happiness in life. You could see it as soon as he got out of the car and started walking towards the other players that were surrounding the fields. His straight face turned to a smile. Once we hit the field, it was like watching him back in highschool. He was dialed in and focused, me on the other hand, I would throw my glove in the air and jog sometimes to get the ball just to piss him off. But we'd always be chasing each other when it came to the plate. If I hit a homerun, I knew he had to get on the board as well by hitting one out. If he missed one or if I missed one we'd go back and forth with the broterly love chatter "WARNING TRACK POWER!" or "What happened on that one?" I'd give him crap for taking slowpitch so seriously but at the same time, it is his lifeline. For a lot of the players, softball is something that keeps them grounded. To this day I'm always rooting for my brother. I had one of the players from the leauge contact me. His nickname is 'Bam Bam' He said "hey I have an idea for you!" I like hearing ideas, "let's hear it." I said. "How about a Rookie Rise Clean Date shirt!?" Yeah that is a good idea. I pondered the idea and what to make of it, that's where I'm at today. I'm working on a clean date T-shirt. It's still in progress as you can see below.
You'll be able to customize the clean date that will be printed in white on a black shirt. You'll just have to fill in your clean date by coloring in the lines to form each number. You can see in the pic how the letters will look. All that you will need is a sharpie. On the back it'll say "FOR THOSE WHO GOT UP AFTER EVERY FALL"
A pic of 'Bam Bam' for you all to put a face to the story.
...and Bam Bam's action shot, Ha!