My dad was a pitcher in high school and a pretty good one at that. He even pitched a perfect game one time. Nolan Ryan never even did that. Of course, my dad never made it to the Majors, so maybe they're even. Anyway, when I got old enough, I went straight for the diamond. I was lucky enough to be trained by the best, er, well, the best in close proximity to me. Every kid probably thinks their dad is the best at fixing cars, or whatever, but my dad really was one of the best when it came to pitching. He taught me how to pitch. He taught me how to wind up, how to throw from the stretch, how to throw a curve and the perennially important skill of throwing a strike. He didn't just teach me the logistics of a curve ball or a change-up, but he spent time teaching me the strategy behind when to throw what, when. My dad spent countless hours with me in our backyard, and on the practice field teaching, training, coaching and encouraging me.
I was a pretty good little pitcher, but I was young and a little help in the strategy department was always a good idea. I'm not sure if the other parents had any idea what was going on, but when it was game time my dad would stand behind the fence, behind the umpire, and flash pitching signs to me. It was a sight to behold I'm sure, me, the smallest, skinniest kid on the field with my 6ft 4inch dad standing not so inconspicuously sending me the signals. I don't think it was technically cheating, but I'm sure no other dads were doing it. I think it may have embarrassed me sometimes, but I'm sure my dad was oblivious to even the possibility of embarrassment. I was there to pitch and he was going to make sure I knew when to throw my deadly curve.
I'm almost 32 now. I don't play baseball anymore, but now I'm smack dab in the middle of the game of life. I had confidence on the mound 'cause my dad was right there with me. I couldn't go wrong. I knew he knew the path and could guide me to victory, because he had been victorious. That's the thing about losing a parent. You can remember the backyard training, but when you actually get out on the mound and look behind the umpire to see what pitch you should throw, there's no one there anymore. I sure hope I can remember when to throw my curve. -Chad Bozarth
Bozarth was undefeated in four decisions this season and boasts a perfect game over Wapella... The Pantagraph