Some of you who know me well will read that headline and wonder where the hell I come up with this stuff because you are certain that a guy with my imagination and athletic ability never had a shot to play for The Dodgers.
I can hear some of you thinking out loud and I can feel you shaking your heads. “Sure, Wilner was a decent athlete with a lot of heart but that didn’t make up for lack of ability.”
But there are a few who really remember there was a day when I had decent wheels, a better arm than most and the ability to hit the long ball. Some of you might even recall seeing me hit a ball or two to the second road at camp. Or you might remember how many I launched into the parking lot but that is probably not enough for you to believe that I got a try out with the Dodgers or that Tommy Lasorda was the one who cut me from the team.
Tommy Lasorda Killed My Dream Job
I won’t try to fool you into believing that I attended Spring Training as a player or that I did anything dressed in an official Dodgers uniform. Tommy Lasorda didn’t kill my dream job, at least not by the way normal people measure things.
Nor can I blame Jerry West or Jerry Buss for not giving me a shot to play for the Lakers, but I’d like to.
I’d like to say I had/have enough talent to have played both sports at the professional level. It wouldn’t bother me much to say I was just one of the scrubs on the team because even those guys are light years ahead of the average person talent wise.
At least I don’t think it would bother me, but I can’t say for certain. I might not have the sort of peace of mind and zen disposition to just say I came this close and let it go.
The more I think about it the more I wonder. Maybe it is because playing pro ball sounds like an awful lot of fun to me. To be paid millions of dollars to play a game. To receive the best possible healthcare and treatment so that I could stay in tip top condition sounds amazing to me.
That is not to say I have hated sitting at a desk because I haven’t. But as a civilian who is probably going to have to put another 30 or more years in working the idea of of being an athlete is attractive.
The idea that I could earn enough during my career to put myself in a position to retire as a young man is truly exciting. Let me be clear, I can’t imagine sitting around the house for the next 60 years or so and given how long my grandparents lived it is not reaching to say that.
I don’t want to sit around and do nothing, but I like the idea of choosing to continue or not continue working. I like the idea of choosing work solely based upon the position and not worrying about compensation.
I Could Be The Dread Pirate Roberts
Sometimes I think about becoming The Dread Pirate Roberts. I love the ocean and I rather like the idea of sailing around the world. How many amazing stories would come from that.
Ask those who know me well and I promise some of them will say I’d make a great pirate. I wouldn’t be the nasty kind though, I’d be the fun one.
There are only a few hiccups with piracy.
- I can’t afford to buy a ‘proper’ pirate ship.
- The ship I can afford can’t handle aircraft carriers, battleships or most navies.
- Piracy is frowned upon and I don’t see being imprisoned or executed as being romantic.
- The last time I asked the serving wench to bring me some grog it was dumped on my head.
Don’t worry mom, that last line is strictly a joke. I didn’t call anyone a wench, nor did I refer to them as a serving wench. In fact the only time in recent memory that I used the word wench was in this post or maybe at Disneyland on the Pirates of The Caribbean Ride.
But I digress.
Imagination Can Take You Anywhere
I don’t remember who first told me that imagination can take you anywhere but I know it to be true. I know it to be true the same way I can tell you that I have played basketball with Don MacLean and Tom Niedenfuer.
MacLean played in the NBA and Niedenfuer played in the MLB.
I only got to play with MacLean once. It was at my old gym right around the time he graduated high school. I guarantee he won’t remember me. I played more than a few games with Niedenfuer at the same gym and I can’t tell you if he would remember me.
But by using the power of the transitive property I believe we can make a case that says I could have played in the NBA and the MLB. You do remember the transitive property, right?
If a = b and b = c, then a = c
That good old transitive property proves since I was successful playing with an NBA and MLB player I could have played pro ball.
Don’t bother arguing with me because I won’t agree and you’ll be relegated to dream killer status right alongside Lasorda.
Confession: I may be 45 but I still think I could play in the big leagues. Give me one chance, one game, one moment in time. I might strike out or I might air ball but it would make for a hell of a story.