The End of Baseball: From Family Visits to Grilling to Healthy Eating

by Ashley on July 4, 2010

If a thousand emotions could be put into words, that would be this blog entry. Since that’s hardly possible, I’ll try my best.  It’s been a while since my last post. Not because life has been boring, but rather, it has been a whole new world.

In early June, my mom and Cameron came to visit us in Orlando. I got to show them all of my favorite spots including all the delicious restaurants in downtown Celebration. I was glad they were able to enjoy the town as much as I did.

I’ll first share a little about their visit but scroll down if you want to jump right into the title of the post… the end of baseball.

Nearly every day we would walk into town, go to Starbucks and then chat over a cup of cold Black Tea.  I enjoyed every moment of their company.  To me, the best part of the few weeks they were in town was the delicious cooking my mom and I did. She taught me all about grilling on a charcoals, something I’d been dying to know how to do. Each night we grilled a a meat along with fruits and veggies and called it a meal!

There was enough food to feed an army! Chicken, burgers, portabello mushrooms, roasted red peppers and peaches.

Pork Tenderloin, beer-but-chicken, chicken tenders and fire-roasted tomatoes.

Burgers and corn-on-the-cob.

Chicken, chicken sausage, portobello mushrooms, and fire-roasted tomatoes.

Chicken and grilled plums… so delicious!

This visit was really a learning experience for me, my mom and Cameron.  Even though Cameron is only 12, I hoped to teach her a thing or two about healthy eating at an early age.

Cam is a candy junky but so was I at her age. Instead of telling her how terrible her candy was, I bought her healthier treats from Whole Foods to try as well.  She actually really liked everything I encouraged her to try. The only tough one was switching her from Aspartame-filled yogurt to healthy fake-sugar free yogurt.

On Sundays, I took them to the farmers market and they really loved it. We are all determined to find a good market near my parent’s house too. We bought loaves of fresh Italian bread, natural herbal healing remedies to help heal Dustin’s shoulder and all the fruits and veggies you can imagine. It was heaven to me!

Delicious bread!

Shopping for mangoes!

The End of Baseball

Why are we looking for a farmer’s market near my parent’s house?  Because that’s exactly where we are, back in Georgia.  On the same day as their flight home to Atlanta, Dustin had a to throw a bullpen.  The night before I was talking with my mom about how nervous I was since this would be his first time throwing hard since surgery.  I talked to her about how we would probably be moving to Mississippi soon if all went well (that’s where the AA team is) and about how hard it was going to be for us to adjust to living with a host family. I told her that we may try to go to Mexico for him to play there this off season but there was no talk about moving back to Atlanta. We eventually had plans to move back to  Atlanta because that would mean Dustin had made it to the big leagues but we knew that wasn’t possible right now.

After attempting to throw his bullpen, Dustin called me with some news. His shoulder still throbbed and his body was forcing him to retire. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I’m sure it him even harder.  Even though we had been going through this process for nearly two years, I still wasn’t ready for it.  I wasn’t ready to let go of life as I knew it. The baseball life, the traveling life, the make-shift life that we had turned in to a real life. No matter if I was ready for it or not, it was over. Dustin has been very strong through this process, telling me that God uses times like these as stepping stones to lead us to something greater.

The next day, Dustin and I packed up the house in Orlando and headed north. Our car was so packed that Boss had to ride all eight hours in Dustin’s lap. This was not a fun ride home. We left all dreams left behind and only looked forward but not because we wanted to, rather we were forced to.

Looking back now, it seems as if we were both numb the entire ride. We didn’t talk about baseball. We actually didn’t even talk much about anything. I could tell Dustin was upset but he was OK.  He was upset because his childhood dream was over, but he was OK because he knew he did all that he could do.  He understands if playing professional baseball had been what God had wanted him to do then that’s what he would be doing. Dustin worked as hard as he could and left everything else in God’s control.

As we unpacked the car the following day, things seemed to get a little harder. It was as if reality was setting in. Watching Dustin sort through his Braves baseball bag deciding what he wanted to do with all the stuff was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I watched him pick up his glove and then place it right back down. That glove had been good to him. He used it to do what he truly loved to do: stand on a mound and throw a ball harder than anyone ever expected him to. All that behind, things have gotten a little easier and having family around always helps.

What’s next for the two of us?

It’s hard to even try to think about what’s next when we don’t want to think the present as we know it is over.  After long hard thought and talking to our families, Dustin and I will head back down to Statesboro so that he can finish his degree.  As of right now, he thinks he wants to go into college coaching. I think he will be great at this not only because baseball is his passion but he also knows so much about the game. He knows not only the baseball side of it but he will be able to help the boys nutritionally and in the weight room as well.

Since we’ll be in a college town, I’m decided to return to school as well to work toward a degree in Dietetics so that eventually I can become a Registered Dietitian (R.D.). I’m excited about this because I will finally be able to get paid to do what I love, along with the confidence of being registered and licensed as well.  We have rented out our loft in Cartersville and have now rented a cute, little home with a great pool in Statesboro. No, this isn’t at all where we imagined our lives would be right now but it is exactly where God wants us to be.  Currently, we’re enjoying time with our families and focusing on creating a new normal for our lives.

Whew! That was a long one! Happy Fourth of July my friends! I hope you are all as blessed as we are spending this day back at home, surrounded by people we love!

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