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The Boys of a Different Summer

by Charley Palmer (MSO '95) |

They report to Spring Training, ready to take part in the conditioning and drills that will prepare them for another season. The winter break has allowed them more time to spend with those closest to them. Each knows too well that during the heat of the summer time comes sparingly, and in miserly small amounts. The break has also given them a chance to get stronger, and to heal some of the small, yet nagging injuries that were suffered the year before. They have dissipated in the off-season, like smoke in the swirling wind, exploring, exploring...

But now , they are back, a team again, ready to reunite for another summer in the sun. Their away schedule this year will take them to the cities, such as Silver (New Mexico) and Miles (Montana) , and many places in-between.

Contests will be waged, and when they are done the competitors will slap each other on the back, congratulating themselves on another hard fought victory. The scenario will be repeated, time and again, until the leaves tum crimson and gold, and the crisp nights of October condenses their breath.

However, these are the boys (and girls) of a far different summer. The parks they visit will be of the National variety, not the baseball kind. While they will usually fly to their contests on the road, vintage DC-3' s and powerful Otters will replace the luxurious charter jets. The time to suit up will come often, but yellow Kevlar will be donned in place of home whites or road grays. Oil will be slathered on leather, however it will go on logger boots instead of Rawlings gloves. Pulaski's, not Louisville Slugger's, will be swung, and salaries will be measured in the low thousands, not millions . They will do their jobs and do them well, then quietly move on to the next place where they are needed . Scores of standing spectators will be there to watch, but the only sounds emanating from these viewers will be an occasional creak or groan, and the whistle of the wind as it moves through the upper branches.

The goals of the season have been set high: keep the errors down, and make certain that no one gets caught in a rundown, and above all else, get through the season with no losses.

With hard work, dedication, and a little bit of luck thrown in for good measure, all of these should be attainable . Another fire season is upon us. Let's play ball!