Toronto Mike

I Was Cut From High Park Little League


Freddie P shared a chain email that's been making the rounds and it opened an old wound.  The email is for those of us born before the 1980s and it includes this line:

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

Those three sentences opened up memories I had successfully repressed.  Here's my story, it will feel good to put this out there.

I have always loved baseball.  It was my first sporting love, even before hockey.  That 1983 Blue Jays team struck a chord with me and I was hooked.

I worked very hard at the sport. I listened to Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth and learned when to take that extra base and when to throw where and the intricacies of the game.  I worked on my fielding, my throwing, my batting and I followed the Jays with a fervent passion.  I loved the Leafs, but the Jays were my team and I put myself in the game.  I wanted to play ball.

I was a solid, smart player, but I wasn't very big.  I'd say I did the most with what I had and probably a little more because I always gave my all.  That bullshit adage about giving 110% was actually true in my case.  I played every inning like it was the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series.

I played softball at Rennie Park in the Swansea League, but I wanted to play real baseball.  I wanted to face the best around.  I wanted to face fastballs and lay down suicide squeezes and steal off of catchers with a gun.  I wanted to play High Park Little League.

I'll never forget the tryouts.  I attended every one and gave my all.  Others were pounding the ball and I was just trying to make good contact.  Others were throwing home from the outfield with ease while I was just trying to keep my throws online.  At the end of the tryouts, one of the coaches spoke to me and a group of kids and gave us the bad news.  We weren't good enough for the High Park Little League majors.

That's right, I was cut from Little League.  I was never going to play in the Little League World Series.  I just wasn't good enough, and I returned that summer to softball at Rennie Park.

That was the first time I really wanted something and gave my all only to come up empty handed.  They said you could do anything if you put your mind to it.  Until then, I believed that.  I was a decent player with passion, commitment and baseball smarts, but I had to learn to deal with one heaping pile of disappointment.

Imagine that.

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