After Mike and Russ headed off to college and LDS missions, the baseball magic kind of died. I focused on high school track (Dad was a sprinter, I was the last great hope for the Newbold boys to beat his 100 and 200 dash times. No such luck. I never did. Came close. Took 4th at the State Finals, but Dad still rules.) and my music. Before long I was singing and dancing my way around the world with the occassional pit stop in Bountiful, UT to recover from knee and shoulder injuries. Enter City League Softball and George’s Plumbing.
Remember how fun I thought it was to play with Mike and Russ? Extend that: Grandpa (George), Dad (Dale), Dave, Mike, Russ, Alan, a couple of cousins and guys Mike and Dave worked with thrown in for good measure, and you have a serious softball team. And then name it after your grandpa’s first business venture, and you empower it with some REAL baseball magic: George’s Plumbing.” Grandpa coached and beamed. Dad was on the mound, Russ in left, Dave in center, Mike at rover, Bruce and Paul where-ever we needed them when they were in town, the Sperry cousins in the infield, and me at catcher. Yeah, catcher. Enough years had gone by that the trauma of trying my hand as catcher for Gerdes Turd Farms was just a dull ache. Besides, where else can you put a guy with a blown ACL who is still recovering? In fact, every one one of us Newbold boys had a blown ACL at one point or another. Seriously. Someone should do a study on our family. You’s see us out on the field in full uniform, and all the Newbold’s would have an assortment of knee accoutrements. Bonus on two levels: we looked cool and the opposing teams always thought we were slow. (Remember my dad? Yeah, surprise!) Worked every time.
When I started up with George’s Plumbing, it had been years since I really played, and my days on the road entertaining had seriously hampered my baseball skills. (Come on. You can’t be surprised. How many casts of cruise ship reviews or touring musicals do you know that can’t wait to get on shore or out of the theater so they can whip up a quick game of baseball?) When it came to hitting, I was in the dirt of the infield every time — fine as long as I could run it out, but still frustrating. Mike took it upon himself to try to work with me and help me out (brave soul, given our combative history as youths, but that’s a post for another day, and besides, we’ve declared a truce). We worked and worked and worked, but I still sucked. Chopping down. Bad stance. Half swing. Anything related to bad batting form? I was skilled at it. Then he said:
“Oh, that’s easy, it’s called a lunge.”
“Then lunge, every time you come up to bat.” ”
That’s it? Just lunge when I swing?”
“Yeah, try it.”
CRACK! Hit after hit after hit that day. I was giddy with success. God love a big brother who steps into dance class on the ball diamond to help his little brother out. No matter how old we are. Now, have you read those reviews of The Baseball Box Prophecy, yet?