Twelve weeks ago I arrived at the surgery center, walking in, knowing that I wouldn’t be walking out, and, in fact, that I wouldn’t be walking at all for quite some time.
When I checked into the surgery center, I told the receptionist that I was there to begin my training for the 2020 New York City Marathon. She smiled and said, “You must be Mr. Semendinger.”
Indeed I am.
I hobbled out of the surgery center on crutches my foot wrapped and in a heavy boot. The surgery was a success.
Continue reading “The Road Back To 26.2 Began Today…”
…and with that long run, my 2019 marathon dream is over.
Today was supposed to be my last long run, a final effort, to prove to myself that I could actually do the marathon. The truth, the reality I must face, is that I can’t. Not this year.
I gave it everything I had.
And then some.
Continue reading “The End of My 2019 Marathon Dream”
Today I bit off way more than I could chew.
I was fortunate, all three of my sons were home to celebrate a birthday, and two of them, Ryan and Ethan, are training for some upcoming long races. Because of that, they were both willing to slog along on a twelve mile “run” with me.
Our goal was to complete the entire Saddle River Bike Path, from Ridgewood to Rochelle Park, and then back again…a twelve mile jaunt.
Continue reading “12 Miles Closer…”
It had been over a month since I last pitched.
On June 23, I enjoyed pitching against Jersey City. Then, on June 25, I had my first visit with an orthopedist who did as I feared he would… he shut me down.
On June 25, my baseball season ended. On June 25, my softball seasons ended. And, on June 25, my hopes for running the 2019 New York City Marathon also ended.
The orthopedist looked at my swollen right ankle, the MRI that showed tears in the Achilles tendon, and his own X-Rays. He said, “This isn’t good, Paul.” The word “surgery” came up, but he also said, “I’m not ready to go there yet.” I think the thing that made him shut me down totally was when I could perform a simple exercise in his office – standing on just my right foot and going to “tippy toes.” When I couldn’t do that, it cinched the deal.
I was given a night brace, an anti-inflammatory prescription, and little hope.
I left the office with the brace, a discouraged countenance, and a follow-up appointment.
But all of that is old news.
Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 14): Making It Back To The Mound”
This is the story I didn’t want to write…
Two days after I pitched on June 23, I had my first appointment with the orthopedist. This doctor is very well known and very respected. He took X-Rays, put me through a battery of small tests, he examined my legs, took careful note of my right Achilles, and, after all of that, said that my baseball season, my softball season, and my running season are all over.
I knew this was coming.
We all knew this was coming.
I just didn’t want to hear it.
I still don’t.
Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 13) – The Doctor, The Bench, and an All-Star”
Well, I am the happiest 0-4 pitcher on the planet.
I pitched well enough, I guess. I gave up more than a few hard hit balls for loud hits, some of them long drives for extra bases. I also gave up some weak ground balls for hits. And a few bloopers also fell in.
On the other hand, some popups were dropped or missed altogether by the fielders behind me, a few grounders went under the infielders’ gloves, and a few would-be ground outs resulted in poor throws that instead netted no outs.
(And, to be fair, a couple of the loudly hit balls were caught by the fielders behind me. If nothing else, my pitching kept the team on its feet.)
In short, for much of the game, there were a lot of runners on the bases as I pitched.
Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 12 – Game Four, The Story of a Catcher)”
The week leading to my third start was rainy and filled with more evening responsibilities that interrupted my throwing program, but, like in previous weeks, I was able to have a very special catch with a very special person.
Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 11 – Game Three)”
My third start of the season was scheduled for Sunday, May 5. We were going to be back to Wright’s Field in Bloomfield to play a different team from the area. It seems that a few towns, Bloomfield being one of them, have more than one team in the league. I was looking forward to this opportunity to see if I could build off my modest success the week before.
This would also be my first chance to pitch in back-to-back weeks – a true test of whether or not my arm, and body was up to this challenge.
It wasn’t to be.
Rain, dreadful rain, washed away our chances to play.
Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story Part 10 – RAIN!”
My first novel, Scattering The Ashes, will be published on October 22, 2019 by Artemesia Publishing and is now available for Pre-Order here.
This novel tells the fictional story of Sam Holmes as he struggles though the aftermath of losing his father and having the responsibility and obligation of fulfilling his late father’s final request.
Readers will become attached to Sam Holmes as he seeks to find himself in this trying period of his life. Initial reviews of the novel have been very positive.
Baseball is one (of many) themes that forms the framework of the story. Throughout this year, leading up to the book’s release, I will share excerpts from the novel here on these pages and on my Yankees site: www.startspreadingthenews.blog.
The following is an except from Chapter 5. In this scene, early in the novel before his father passes, Sam Homes awakes in pain the morning after his longest training run as he is preparing for his first marathon – the New York City Marathon. He is feeling doubtful about his abilities as a runner. Soon the prospect of a fictional encounter with two former baseball stars changes his outlook on the day…
(From Scattering The Ashes (2019, by Dr. Paul Semendinger, with permission from Artemesia Publishing)
The next morning, after I swung my legs out of bed, I realized I could barely stand. The plantar fasciitis in my foot screamed with pain every time I put even a tiny bit of weight on it. I had never felt such pain. Have you ever stuck hot needles into the bottom of your foot? I haven’t either, but it sure felt like I had. In addition to this foot agony, everything else, especially the fronts of my thighs, seemed to ache. I wondered if I had pushed my body further than it was able to handle. Was twelve miles my limit? Maybe I wasn’t built for a marathon. Dr. Alfonzo, my chiropractor (who is also a miracle healer), advised me to always stretch before a hard run and also to always ice this injury after the effort. Why didn’t I listen to his advice yesterday?
Continue reading ““Scattering the Ashes” Preview & Excerpt (Coming October 22, 2019)”
(The other day, I went back into the archives of passages that I wrote to the teachers at my school. I found this piece from 2009. This brought back a lot of memories, and also, with them, the reminder to savor every single moment. That little boy sitting on Santa’s lap is twenty years old. I genuinely miss those wonderful moments from long ago…)
Each year I get a terrific honor. I’m Santa Claus at our annual church fair. For the better part of Friday evening, and on Saturday morning, I am Santa. I’ve been doing this for a long time – since my kids were little.
When my kids were little and they talked to Santa, they didn’t know that the Santa they were talking to was me. It was a very special time – priceless might be the word for it. I savor in those great memories.
Continue reading “Being Santa Claus”