How Quarantine Affected My High School Baseball Career

For Better and For Worse


Diamond Nation Baseball Complex (Flemington, NJ)

Tyler Cooney, Staff Writer

The months of March up until June are four months that I am sure everyone would like to forget. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten months, there is a global pandemic that caused many of us to quarantine in our homes for upwards of 16 weeks. As for me, I had to stay home until Memorial Day weekend, and after that I was finally able to hang out with my friends outside, of course. However, it’s not about what happened after quarantine that affected my high school baseball career, rather, what happened during it. During those four months I was blessed with a type of motivation and inner-fire that I had never experienced before, and I’m glad I finally did.

I vividly remember redoing my basement, by myself, on a specific day in March so that I could actually work out, given the fact that all of the gyms and private training centers had closed due to COVID-19. After that, I hit the ground running, working out every day for six or eight weeks and eating more than I ever had before. Finally, I was seeing the fruits of my labor. However, in typical ‘me’ fashion, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, as when I was lifting, specifically deadlifts, I was lifting off of a slanted surface, which caused my hips to misalign by about three inches. My right was three inches higher than my left, which caused excruciating pain every time I went to bend down, or, even worse, throw a baseball. I say, “even worse” because that’s the whole point of working out in the first place, so that I could throw the darn thing as hard as I possibly could.

So, in the midst of the pandemic, we went to a doctor, specifically an orthopedic, who didn’t know what the problem was (typical, right?). He gave us a script to attend physical therapy three times a week. The next day, we went to physical therapy. After the session, it was the first time I had felt even an ounce of relief for the first time in weeks. She twisted my leg a certain way and, just like that, my hip popped back into place. I was so excited to finally work out and throw a baseball without pain again. But, if you thought it was over there, and this was going to be the end of the article, that is not true.

Once I started throwing a baseball again, I started to feel a pain in my shoulder down to the head of my bicep. It wasn’t dull, rather, it was a sharp-shooting pain that wreaked havoc on me every time I reached my arm above my head. So, my parents and I consulted the same orthopedist, and he actually got it right this time. I was diagnosed with a shoulder impingement (a small tear in the scapula, LAT, labrum, or rotator cuff.) of the rotator cuff due to a lack of mobility in my arm. This came as a result of changing my throwing pattern in order to reduce pain when my hips were misaligned. Cool, right?

Not cool. I missed my first summer start because I shut down throwing for two weeks. After the two week, “throwing quarantine,” I began to ramp up again. My first official pitch of the summer came a day after I threw for the first time- with the bases loaded in a playoff game in one of the biggest tournaments in the entire northeast. Oh, and we were tied in the bottom of the seventh. I threw my first pitch of the summer and the number “85” flashed on the screen, however, there was a ‘pop’ followed by a shooting pain in my elbow.

Shut down again. The other team ended up walking it off after a base hit, and that was it. We went home, I went back to the physical therapist, and the elbow pain was there every single time I threw a baseball for the rest of the summer and the fall. Only now am I starting to recover from it and throw harder than I was at the beginning of the summer.

I say that quarantine bettered my high school baseball career, yet I only highlighted the negatives. This is because it taught me how to be patient after being impatient all summer, eager to throw with this seething pain gnawing at my elbow every time I slung a baseball more than 70mph, only making my pain worse. It taught me discipline, because without quarantine, there was no way I would have been able to gain over 20 pounds-and still going. Finally, it taught me how to appreciate the little things. My basement was a ‘little’ thing that I appreciated by spending hours redoing it to take my mind off of how the world was in shambles. Overall, quarantine was good for me.

If there’s one thing I can say here in January, it’s that I have been putting in 100% of the work to come back from this small roadblock in a winding and bumpy road, and I’m extremely excited to see what comes next.