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One Dream, One Try
Derek Hoffman, son of MLB pitching great Trevor Hoffman has been playing baseball like his father for nine years now. He did nothing other than play baseball. It’s all he cared about. When he saw major natural disaster happen on the news he would laugh, not thinking what happens to the ones affected. He has always dreamed of being a pitching great like his father, but now, that dream looks grim. He hasn’t practiced pitching in a year and a half, and his hitting is starting to decline. The only other position he is even mediocre at is third base, and there is already a star third baseman on the Long River Middle School baseball team sign up list. With just six weeks until tryouts Derek has a lot in front of him.
He had to come up with a workout plan. He thought of what he needed to improve on, mainly hitting. Derek came up with an invention. He drilled a hole vertically through the handle and the barrel of the bat and filled it with lead. It made the bat three pounds. A normal bat is less than two. Derek thought to himself, “If I swing this bat 500 times a day for the next 42 days until tryouts, I should increase my bat speed by a lot.” Derek created a graph to record what he did for the day and made sure each day he filled in the graph’s square.
Each day he did something, he would write it down on the graph on the corresponding day. Now, about half- way through the six weeks, he ran into a problem: he wasn’t hitting any baseballs. So Derek went to his father and asked for a net and tee to hit off of. Each day Derek hit, and hit, and hit, with the weighted bat. His bat speed increased greatly.
His swing was now about three times as fast as before the workouts. The past six weeks he has never worked as hard as he did. Derek was proud of himself and had a high confidence level in that he would make his eighth- grade baseball team. It was now the night before tryouts. Trevor was anxiously lying in his bed, waiting to fall asleep, but he could not. He knew that if he made the team, he would earn the respect from his teammates back that he lost during his hitting drought on the travel team.
The day of tryouts now, Derek spent all day at school worrying about what was just a few short hours ahead of him. During his first class of the day, social studies, he couldn’t even look up because of the amount of fear that engulfed him. His next two classes, math and science, were a little better, but not much. He was at least able to talk about how much work he had done lately. Now as the minutes crept closer, Derek grew even more nervous than ever.
The last classes went over much better and Derek wasn’t feeling go worried anymore. He realized that it would be no different than a game; he just would be tested on fielding, hitting, running, and throwing. All of these he was now stellar at because of the training he had done that past six weeks to improve his shaky skills.
For the first day of tryouts, all 47 anxious baseball players (competing for 16 spots) took infield groundballs and outfield fly balls. There was also a pitching machine set up to hit off of. Derek was now very confident about making the team after the day. He pelted line drive after line drive to the outfield, and fielded and threw every ball cleanly.
After tryouts, Derek’s girlfriend Sarah wanted to know everything.
Sarah: How did it go?
Sarah: Did you make the team?
(She still didn’t get the fact it was a three day try out) So patiently Derek responded-
Derek: It went great, still like I told you earlier it’s a three- day tryout
There wasn’t a response. Derek knew that she wasn’t mad because Sarah is a very easy- going person. So he didn’t worry about it too much, but couldn’t get it out of the back of his mind. Tomorrow he would explain to her what and how the tryouts worked.
The next day at school Derek explained to Sarah that today there will be 10 to 15 cuts today and then the team would be set. She now understood and apologized for acting so dumb. Derek told her not to worry about it and that it was all alright.
Now after another grueling day of tryouts Derek was in his room, lying on the bed, looking up at the framed posters of his dad racking up save after save.
Not to mention the most important save in baseball history, his 600th save, the only Major League Baseball player ever to achieve that milestone. It didn’t seem like an ordinary day to Derek. There was an odd breeze to the day, the sky was dark and it was much cooler than normal. Derek would have the day off from school because it was a day game today in Milwaukee an 11:05am local start time. (as Derek thinks about the day he remembers what he said and thought.) He remembers thinking to himself as he entered the stadium “This day could be history. It may be the day someone finally makes it to the 600 save plateau. Each moment slipped by slowly, he couldn’t wait until the top of the 9th inning were hopefully his father would calmly walk from the left field bullpen to the mound, get three outs and enter the 600 save club as the first member. It was now the bottom of the 5th, the Brewers were up by four runs which meant that this wasn’t a save situation. The lead had to be cut down to three runs for it to be considered a save. Now the top of the 9th, the Brewers held a two run lead thanks to a Phillies 2- run- homerun in the previous inning. He and his sister held up a sign that read
It was one of the most important times in the Hoffman family. So each member had their own way of expressing it. The two children did it through signs and Lauren, Trevor’s wife just stood and yelled. One out now in the top of the 9th. The crowed started to realized tonight could be the night. Two outs. Derek proudly waved the sign in the air as the crowed stood on their feet and made a lot of noise. In all the games I’ve been to its never been this loud! Derek thought. Now he turned his attention to the mound, a ground ball towards the third basemen, a clean hop right into the glove. Please Derek though, please make a good throw this time. Earlier in the game, the third baseman made a terrible throw, now all that had to happen was a clean throw, and it happened, the crowd erupted.