The End of Baseball

by Ashley on July 4, 2010

If a thousand emotions could be put into words that would be this blog entry, but 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 and I got to show them all of my favorite spots.  We ate dinner several times at the wine room in Celebration; I love that place because of the ‘cool’ atmosphere, awesome wine list, chilling music, tasty mimosas, and close location.  Actually, we ate dinner at just about every spot in Celebration; I was so glad they got to enjoy it as much as I did, yes I said did.  This was the first night they got in town outside of the wine room.

Nearly every day we would walk into town, go to Starbucks and 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 there was the grilling my mom and I did.  She showed me all she could about grilling on a charcoal grill, something I’d been dying to know how to do.  Below are pictures of some of the foods we had, usually veggies and fruit accompanied our meat every night.  Call me crazy, but grilling out are some of the most fun memories I have.

Enough food to feed an army! Chicken, Burgers, Portabella Mushrooms, Roasted Red Peppers, and Peaches.

Pork Tenderloin, Beer-Butt Chicken (We named him Buster.), Chicken Tenders, and Fire Roasted Tomatoes.

Burgers and Corn on the Cob.

Chicken, Chicken Sausage, Portabella Mushrooms, and Fire Roasted Tomatoes.

Chicken and Grilled Plums… so delicious!

Enough with the grilling and back on with life but it was times like these that helped Dustin and I stay positive.

This visit was really a learning experience for me, my mom and Cameron.  Even though Cameron is only 12, I think it is very important to start teaching her healthy eating habits.  I told her the importance of drinking Organic Milk and at first she totally opposed it, saying it tasted “different” but after explaining that it’s the exact same, except without the added steroids and hormones, she then agreed that it was “wasn’t so bad.”  Now at home, it’s all she drinks!

Cam is a candy junky, just as I was when I was her age, so 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.  I don’t understand why they even sell that crap.

On Sundays, I took them to the farmers market and they really loved it.  Cam found some delicious mangos that she picked out, and now, were determined to find a good market near my parent’s house.  We bought loaves of fresh Italian bread, natural herb healing remedies to help heal Dustin’s shoulder, and all the fruits and veggies you can imagine; true heaven to me!

In front of the bread man.

Shopping for mangoes!

Why am I looking for a 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.  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), how hard it was going to be for us to adjust to living with a host family, and how we may try to go to Mexico for him to play there this offseason, nothing about moving back to Atlanta.  Heck yeah, we wanted to move to Atlanta eventually, 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 he was being forced to retire.  It hit me like a ton of bricks, as I’m sure it him even harder.  Even though we had been going through this process for nearly two years, I wasn’t ready for it.  I wasn’t ready to let go of the life I knew: 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, 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, let me tell you, NOT a fun ride home… all dreams left behind and only looking forward, not because we wanted to, but 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 okay.  He was upset because his childhood dream had left him, but he was okay because he knew he did all that he could do.   He understands that if that had been what God had wanted him to do then he would be doing it.  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.  One of the hardest things I have ever had to do is watch Dustin sort through his Braves baseball bag and to decide what he wanted to do with all of the stuff.  I watched him pick up his glove and then sit it right back down.  That glove had been good to him and he had been good to it.  He used that glove to do what he truly loved to do, stand on a mound and throw a ball harder than anyone ever expected him to.   That being said, 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 that the present as we know it is over.  After long hard thought and talking to our families about it, 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, so he will get a degree in General Studies to make sure he covers all areas.  I think he will be great at this not only because is it his passion, but he knows so much about it.  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 will be there anyways, I’m going to return to school as well to receive a degree in Dietetics so that eventually I can become a Registered Dietitian (R.D.). I’m excited about it because I will finally be able to get paid doing what I love, along with the confidence of being licensed.  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.

So, Happy Fourth of July! I hope you are all as blessed as we are to spend this day back at home, surrounded by people we love!

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