Playing baseball is a joy, but playing without pain allows you to enjoy your time on the field and perform at your best.
Several years ago, I was introduced to a true gentlemen ball player by the name of Garry Mlot. What might surprise you is then 60 year old Mlot was being added to a 20+ roster. Garry was honored by the offer, but had his doubts about how effective he would be; Garry was integral to the team success that season. The team went on to the championship series losing in the third and final game of the series.
As the baseball season pushed on that year, I noted that Garry was not always available. I gave my own reasons as to why he would say there were better players. He attended most games and when not in the game or on the mound you could find him at first base coaching runners or in the dugout keeping the book. At the end of every game, I would hear a heartfelt “good game” from Garry and often if we were heading out for food Garry was often right along with the team.
Garry was not fast and you could easily determine that he had knee trouble; he would lash on braces before each game. Sometimes his warmups were short and, in hindsight, the limp in the run was more noticeable. Garry played a year or two in the 40+ division after a year with the young boys and while having lunch with him sometime after he told me that he was retiring from the game of baseball. I was saddened.
Garry had both knees replaced in 2013 and as I looked at the inaugural season of the CNCMSBL 50+ division, I found Garry Mlot on the roster of a new Athletics team. As I spoke with him, I discovered that he had been playing on hurt and painful knees for years. We spoke on how the nurses had him up and walking the ward daily right from the beginning. He commented about the months of rehabilitation that took to building the muscles to walk, run and more aptly bend without issue. I was not only impressed with the work that had brought him back to a more mobile and pain free life, back to the ballfield, but also the fight required to get there. To often I see that we take the easy solution and don’t fight or stand up. This guy showed me that with a bible, ball, and family that are few demons and no mountains we cannot overcome.
To Garry ‘Sandy’ Mlot … smile my friend, just smile.