Friday, March 30, 2012

He's pitching already? - 3/12/12

He's pitching already? - 3/12/12

My arm is really turning the corner. It has made some amazing progress. A few days ago I threw a live batting practice to some hitters at high intensity. Today, I pitched in my first game. The coaches and trainers were all smiles. They didn’t see any hesitation or reservation in my delivery. That is important because a pitcher who has an injury, or still has in his mind that he is injured, usually has some sort of hesitation in his throwing that tells the coaches his arm is not yet feeling right. There has been a lot of work put in over the offseason to get to this point and even now there is a lot of diligent work being done. It has been a process to find a routine that gets my arm ready to throw. The reason that finding a routine is important is the fact that once I get my arm warmed up, it feels great. Because my soreness is now only the muscles in my shoulder, the warm up is critical to the health and temperament of my shoulder. Every morning I get to the field about 2 hours before we stretch. I first eat my first breakfast. I don’t eat too much, just some strawberries, blueberries, egg whites, yogurt, maybe a banana or bagel. Next I run about 1.5-2 miles to get my body going. After running, I get on the arm bike, which is a machine with handles that operates like a stationary bike, to warm up my arm muscles some more. Then I do some light resistance training with tubing to get the muscles around my shoulder blade going. I then visit the trainers for some arm TLC. Next, second breakfast! Which is usually some more egg whites, berries, yogurt and a bagel. About 20 minutes before we head outside I hop back on the arm bike for a few, then stretch my pec muscles, do some range of motion exercises (meaning I externally rotate and internally rotate my arm to get it used to going it’s full range without putting force on it), and I throw a weighted medicine ball off a small trampoline to get the throwing motion going without putting a lot of velocity on it. This routine helps me get my shoulder nice and warm before throwing. I think it has had a huge impact on how my shoulder feels and why it is progressing so well. Gotta do the work that is necessary!

My teammate and I were recovering after a practice by “contrasting”. This involves immersing yourself in a hot tub, usually around 105-108 degrees, for a couple minutes and then contrasting that by immersing yourself in a cold tub, usually around 56-60 degrees. We alternate between the tubs 3 or 4 times each. The idea behind this is that it gets your blood vessels to open and close, thereby helping circulation. Sometimes, just like when we shag batting practice, the funniest as well as the deepest conversations are had in situations like this. Yesterday, my teammate decided to see how long he could hold his breath in the cold tub. The water is cold, shocking, and tough to endure. I timed it while he submerged himself in the cold. 30 seconds! Not bad for such cold water. He then told me that in a normal temperature pool he could hold his breath for 2 minutes. Pretty impressive. 2 minutes. It can seem like such a long time and yet 2 minutes is so short. He told me, we are 2 minutes away from death at any time. Pretty crazy. At any one time, 2 minutes without oxygen and we’re done. He asked me, “What if, given the life that you have lived, you came before God and He condemned you to Hell? What would you think about that?” I thought for a minute. A lot of thoughts ran through my head. I know that I should be sure of my salvation, but everyone has some doubts now and again. What if my life hadn’t reflected Him enough? What does He ask of me? He wants me to love Him with all my heart, soul, and strength and love my neighbor as myself. What if I don’t love Him or my neighbors enough? What if I’m not a good enough person? A lot of thoughts and questions ran through my mind, including what should I answer my friend? What I say right now may change the way he views God. I came to a conclusion, “He won’t condemn me to Hell. I know He won’t. But, it has nothing to do with my life and what I have or haven’t done. If He saves me, it is not because of me, it is because of Him. It’s not because I deserve it, it’s because He wants to save me.” This is what the Psalms say about Israel: Psalm 106:6-8 NJKV “We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly. Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; They did not remember the multitude of Your mercies, But rebelled by the sea – the Red Sea. Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake, That He might make His mighty power known.” Just like with the Israelites, He rescued them from slavery in Egypt not because they were righteous (“Therefore understand that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.” Deut 9:6 NKJV), but because He is God. God doesn’t save us because we are good. “For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning of time – to show us His grace through Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:9 NLT Grace Grace Grace

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