Spring break was last week and I kept the tradition alive by not going anywhere, doing a lot of sitting on my couch and watching Sports Center, but I also went into the Middletown Press on Tuesday for a change of scenery.
We had been working on the spring sports capsules, so that what I worked on for a couple of hours, making sure the names were spelled correctly and the season outlook by the coaches were well developed sentences. It was tedious, but had to be done. There really wasn’t much else going on so I left early, but before I walked out the door, I discussed with Joe what was going on Thursday and we decided that I would go to the Middletown High vs. Xavier baseball scrimmage and find a story.
I found my way to Middletown High on Thursday around 3 p.m. and walked over to the baseball field. There weren’t too many people there for a couple of reasons, but the big ones were; it wasn’t a real game and it was cold. I walked around and watched the players warm up for a little while, before introducing myself to the coaches. I should have done it right when I got there, because I’m sure it was awkward for them watching me walk around, but I’ll get better at stuff like that.
Xavier showed up about 20 minutes later, began warming up and then the scrimmage began.
A junior, Malcolm Alleyne, started on the mound for Middletown and after watching the kid warm up, I could tell he was going to be good, but not good enough against the Xavier bats. From the first pitch he threw, the Falcons lineup blasted shot after shot deep to the outfield. Xavier is just bigger and stronger than Middletown.
The scrimmage kept going on, players moved around and so did the umpires. Three came to the game, two worked a couple innings while the other watched and then they would switch spots; each one even took a turn behind the plate. It was nice standing in the sun, but once it went behind the clouds and got later, it got freezing. Just when I thought the game was over, they played another inning. Then when I heard the game was going to be over, the Middletown coach asked the Xavier coach if they could go another half to get some work in. This is dedication.
Play finally ended, the players gathered up their gear and sought warmth as fast as they could. I walked onto the field and talked to Richard Magner, the Xavier coach first for about four minutes and then made my way to the Middletown coach, Jason Serra, after he was done giving his team a talk in right field. Both coaches were very friendly and cool and know baseball very well, I knew I had a good story.
I got to my car, emailed Joe telling him that I could barely move my hands from being out in the cold and I would write the story Friday and that’s what I did.
I sat in my bed, transcribed the quotes and began writing. I knew I had to come up with a good lead because this wasn’t a game story, it was like a short feature type piece mixed with a season preview. I wasn’t going long, but it needed to be informative and tell a story and I did just that. As I finished the story I told my mom that I thought it was pretty good and I was happy with it. I never say that about my writing, so it must have been good…or really bad. I didn’t know, so I just sent it off to Joe and was done with it.
I had to wake up for work at 7:30 a.m. to be there at 9 a.m. on Saturday, but couldn’t sleep. I rolled over, looked at my phone and saw a new email. This is what it said. It was at about 2 a.m., but I didn’t care about work anymore, this was awesome.
That made me feel amazing. It was probably the best compliment I had ever gotten from anyone on my writing and coming from someone I respect and work with and am learning from made it that much better.
I took a screen shot (as you can see) and posted it on Facebook and Instragram. When I woke up I had about 10 InstaLikes and another 15 on Facebook with some comments and these people hadn’t even read the story yet.
The story is running in today’s Middletown Press sports section and the high school baseball season begins Wednesday.