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The Endless Summer...

I wish. August is ending, with September coming right behind. Off to a six-day camp and tour with my soccer team. Looking forward to seeing how my individual work this summer pays off. It's been a summer of working out, fishing and keeping my brain in "school shape." It's definitely important to take a little break when school first ends -- slept past 6 am for the first time in almost a year. I never realized before how awesome sleep could be. It's a rewarding activity in and of itself!

When you are pushing yourself in school and sports, you really need to find a balance. Sports are an option, they are supposed to be something you do for the love of it. You need to make sure you really love what you are doing -- and you need to make sure you are doing it for yourself. It won't work in the long run otherwise, I believe.

I was as serious about baseball as I am about soccer up until about two years ago. One day I was sitting in the dugout during my team's turn at bat during a double header, and realized that as much as I loved the sport, I simply did not want to play it competitively anymore. I didn't know what to do, however. My parents loved baseball. I had been playing it for years and years. I was a key player on a team that won its district and its section and its region in the state championships. I picked up my glove and ran back onto the field when we made our third out.

A month later we were playing the state tournament again. In the championship round, I got up and nailed an outside pitch off the right centerfield wall. I busted it out of the box just as my father always told me, just as I know any good player should, and just as every coach has told every player at every practice since the beginning of baseball time. I cut the base properly at first, toe-tapped second and flew into third. A triple. Everyone screamed. The third base coach was ecstatic. I looked at my parents, sitting just on the other side of the fence a few feet away. "I don't want to do this anymore," I mouthed.

The car ride home was weird. I could see my parents thinking. I was thinking too. Later that night my father told me he thought I just needed "a little break from baseball" and that I was just "burnt out on it" and "would realize I still wanted to play it in a month or so." He was disappointed. My mother was too. When I stuck to my guns and didn't change my mind a month later, my coaches seemed disappointed too. Everyone seemed disappointed. But everyone seemed to understand too.

I had sleepless nights worrying about telling my parents and coaches I was quitting baseball. Honestly, whatever fear I had about telling people I was quitting baseball seemed silly within days of letting people know what I wanted. It wasn't relief as much as much as happiness from realizing that decisions in my life were mine to make. And a sense of security from realizing that people cared about me enough to understand, accept and support my decisions.

I enjoyed my very next soccer practice more than ever. My father and I continue to watch the Mets (with the same misplaced hope and ultimate anguish we always had). We still have a baseball catch once in a while and when the mood strikes, I ask him to throw me a few balls to hit. I love swinging the bat.

Another sunset is here. Only so many in any given summer. Gotta do what you love.

Another beautiful sunset at the home lake in Ellenville

Sunset on the home lake in Ellenville NY.