One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 14): Making It Back To The Mound

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”

Advertisements

One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 13) – The Doctor, The Bench, and an All-Star

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”

“Graduation” Speech – 2019

Often times after I give my fifth grade “graduation” speech at the end of the school year, some parents and others ask for a copy of my words.  In addition to sharing me speech with them, I figured that I would also share them here.

***

Moving Up Ceremony 2019

And so we come to the end…  I don’t like this moment, because I don’t like to say goodbye. 

A number of parents, moms mostly, but a few dads as well, have asked that I don’t make them cry today.  I can’t promise that because I might cry myself. 

So, let’s not make it goodbye. 

***

This is a great class of students – dear to my heart.  I have spent a lot of time with these students, especially this year, talking with them about so much. 

I want you know something very important at the start.  This is a special, a super special, group of students.  This class has been complimented time and again for their kindness, respect, calmness, understanding and more.  They’ve been praised more than most – maybe more than any other class. 

These are really good kids. 

I am very proud of them. 

I know you are as well.

As parents, you did well.  Very well.  (Apples, most often, don’t fall far from trees.)

And, I’d like to think that as educators, we also did well.

I’d like to share some big ideas that we all talked about over the years, one last time, with the hopes that the students will remember these ideas always – to find success in life.

First – Success isn’t what we get or end up with.  Success is something deeper, something that comes from hard work, perseverance, and kindness.

We become successful when we focus first on being good people – supportive, loving, and understanding. 

When we know how to appreciate and empathize and care, we find success.

Continue reading ““Graduation” Speech – 2019″

One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 11 – Game Three)

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)”

“Scattering the Ashes” Preview & Excerpt (Coming October 22, 2019)

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)”

Being Santa Claus

(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”

Father and Son, College, Giancarlo Stanton, and Kit Kats

Earlier today, my wife and I brought our son Ethan (a big Yankees fan and the Design Manager and frequent contributor to this site) back to college for his sophomore year. 

I’m always a bit emotional and sad when I leave my kids at college.  A part of me always feels empty when I contemplate the weeks and months that they’ll be away.  I love when my sons are home, they make our home complete. 

I think the best part of my life is just being Dad. 

Continue reading “Father and Son, College, Giancarlo Stanton, and Kit Kats”

A Yankees Fan, A Red Sox Fan, and a Very Special Baseball Bat

(This story is also published at www.startspreadingthenews.blog)

We were in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Amish Country, with many family members to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday.

Our family started to gather in the hotel lobby so we could head off to dinner.  Sitting at the center of it all, proudly wearing his Red Sox hat, was Dad, basking in the joy of togetherness.  He had his wife and children with him – and a few of the grandkids.  My dad loves his family even more than he loves the Red Sox (although he has loved the Red Sox longer than any of us.  Dad’s love of the Sox goes back to 1946.  He met my mom in the late 1950’s and my sister and I came more than a decade after that.)

Continue reading “A Yankees Fan, A Red Sox Fan, and a Very Special Baseball Bat”

Marbles

The following passage come from my acclaimed book Impossible is an Illusion.

***

          Alex Semendinger is a great kid.  All the Semendinger boys are great kids.  (Of course, I may be little biased in my assessment.)

Although Alex has many great attributes – he is kind, understanding, funny, smart, hard working, focused – as he grew up, organization was not one of them.

“Alex, is your room clean?” was an often-heard question in the Semendinger house.  The follow-up answer, “Yes” also led to an interesting dynamic.  Alex’s definition of clean, and my definition of clean, were not the same thing.

Growing up, Alex loved marbles.  As marbles seemed to be a frequently gifted item, I believe there was a time when he possessed no fewer than 45,765 marbles.  Alex’s collection contained marbles of various shapes, designs, and colors.  Cats-eyes, agates, onionskins, alleys, solids, micas, and peppermint swirls, he had them all.  It was an impressive array of marbles. 

Continue reading “Marbles”

Saying Goodbye to Matsui & Meb

(This post can also be found on NYY_Report (“Start Spreading the News”):

http://itsaboutthemoney.net/start-spreading-the-news/2017/11/6/saying-goodbye-to-matsui-and-meb)

+++++++++++++++++++++

We are sports fans.  There is something special and wonderful and unique about being a sports fan.  We love our teams and certain players.  We get excited by special moments.

 And when disappointment hits, it hits hard – and it often hurts. 

Continue reading “Saying Goodbye to Matsui & Meb”