They say the boys of summer are baseball players. So I guess this would make me one of the girls of summer. All my life I grew up with boys around. I had one sister, and she also hung out with the boys. I was the competitive one; I did not care if it was against guys or girls. This may be the reason that in the summertime I played baseball with the boys.
I have been playing baseball for the last 20 years. I play competitively against the boys. I have always said if a boy can do it, so can I. I have a mean arm on me, and can play with the best of them. Since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, though, I can no longer bat. I cannot run as fast as I need to in order to be able to bat. This is the reason that we use a pinch hitter in my place.
I have compiled a list of ways that keep me in the game even with my multiple sclerosis:
Tip number one
I have to maintain a cool body temperature. In order to do this I drink plenty of water. I maintain enough water to keep me hydrated and cool. I wear bright colors in order to keep the sun rays off of me as well.
The reason that playing baseball is still important to me even with multiple sclerosis is that I want to show the boys I can still strike them out. This is something that I have always taken great pride in being able to do. I told myself that I would never give up playing baseball, unless I ended up in a wheelchair. Well, I have not ended up in a wheelchair, so I still look forward to striking the boys out.
Tip number two
I always stretch before every game. I always spend about 15 minutes warming up before a game because it loosens up the muscles. This allows me to stay in the game longer. It also means that I get to make the boys suffer. I can still throw a mean fastball as long as I'm warmed up. This is the reason I stick to warming up for 15 minutes.
Tip number three
Even though I'm still competitive on the mound, it does not mean I can overdo it. The saying "no pain, no gain" is a saying I do not listen to when it comes to my multiple sclerosis. I know I'm still in pretty good shape for somebody that has a disability like multiple sclerosis, but I know not to overdo it. The mentality of sitting out the game when my multiple sclerosis has the best of me is what has allowed me to endure 20 years of this sport.
Tip number four
I do not play before 3 p.m.. This is the hottest part of the day, so we always head to the park after 3 p.m. I have kept to this schedule since 2006 when I was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I can stay cooler this way, and that allows me to pitch more innings every game. Without this rule in place for the guys I play with, I may have had to give up the sport of baseball. That would have broken my heart since I love playing baseball.
Tip number five
I always listen to my multiple sclerosis. I love baseball, but it is only a game, and multiple sclerosis is real life. This is the reason I always listen to the symptoms I'm having and never allow myself to overdo it. I have missed playing in a few games, but I always go with the guys to at least watch. This is the reason I have been friends with these guys for 20 years. They know my condition and watch out for me. These guys were there when I needed them the most. That was as I was lying there in a hospital bed back in 2006. This is the reason I still play with them today.
I've been playing baseball since I was eleven years old. I have only been playing baseball with multiple sclerosis since 2006 though.