Once upon a time the Boston Red Sox held public tryouts for anyone between the ages of 18-25. In 1997 I decided to attend a tryout with one of my friends. That age range might not be totally correct, because I was 16 when I went and saw at least one guy who had to be 45 years old. Anyway, I woke my sister up at 7am on a Saturday to drive us down to Bryant College in Rhode Island for my shot at the big leagues. She signed the parental waiver for both of us.
I hadn't played baseball in a team setting since little league, so my gear consisted of hand-me-down soccer cleats from my cousin and blue warm up pants. The warm up pants had a rip in the crotch, so I wore red mesh shorts over them. That's right. I was wearing blue warm up pants with red mesh shorts over them. Somewhere in my parents house there are photos.
My friend was(is) talented. He's a lefty and played the outfield well. He hit well whenever our friends played softball, so he actually held his own at the tryouts. I, on the other hand, suck as a general rule of thumb, and did not perform well. My friend and I were paired up to run the 100 yard dash. There exists a photo of this dash, and the blurs that represent us from a distance show my friend with a huge lead.
You know what, though? It was so awesome. Shagging flies(or dropping them, and chasing them), taking swings in the batting cage, running around the field...it was amazing. I don't know if Major League Baseball still has these tryouts, but I hope they exist in some way. A running joke is that I'm waiting on the Red Sox to call me up and sign me to a deal. Almost 20 years later.
Whether I was hitting or fielding, there were uniformed Red Sox coaches hanging around. One guy's nickname was Buzz. Buzz was behind the batting cage when I took my swings against a lefty and missed horribly at just about every pitch. He spared me from whatever thoughts of disgust he likely had about my form.
I didn't go with any real sense of having a legitimate chance at showcasing any skills. I went so I could blog about it 20 years later. You know what I mean? It was a great time.
A few years ago Dispatch announced a busking show in Washington Square Park. I took a long lunch break to go watch these guys play. For the same reason. Why not? People paid $100 or more to see Dispatch play at Madison Square Garden. I just had to show up to hear a few songs in the park!
Whenever I have an opportunity to do something and I'm not sure because I'm tired or really should do laundry or some other reason, I sometimes think about my Red Sox tryout and the Dispatch busking show. It just took saying yes to have a ton of fun.