[Editor’s note: Tim Tawa graduated from West Linn HS in 2017 as perhaps the most decorated athlete in Oregon history. A rising junior on the Stanford Cardinal baseball team, the 2016-2017 MaxPreps National High School Athlete of the Year is in Cape Cod for the summer trying to get better while also trying to catch the eyes of professional scouts in the toughest wood bat summer collegiate league in the nation. Every Monday, Tim shared his experiences in the Cape with you. This is his sixth and final installment]
In my last Journal of the summer, I share some of my favorite moments on Cape Cod and why they were special to me.
The first “moment” has lasted since the day I arrived at my host family’s home. They play cards, something I never have. I instantly joined in, determined to win in “gin” and “golf,” the two card games always played.
While gin was not my game, golf was and I became very competitive with my host sister, Amy. The game is played with two sets of three by three cards and ends when one person turns over all of their cards, hoping to have the lowest score (hence the name “golf”).
At first, Amy was always winning, seeming to have a way to always come up with the lowest score. Then, slowly but surely, I started to find my stride and consistently win, finding a new and effective strategy.
I have lost track of how many times we have played this summer, but it must be over 50 games. I have cherished the ability to come home no matter what happened during the day and have fun playing with Amy. Aside from the game being extremely entertaining, it made my relationship with her become very special and close to my heart. It will be difficult to leave her and our games of cards when the time comes.
I also cherished reading to young children at the Falmouth Public Library one morning before a game. I went with Hayden Cantrelle, an infielder from Louisiana Lafayette. My book of choice was Goodnight Baseball, a spinoff of the popular children’s book, Goodnight Moon. While reading, I noticed one child who was paying close attention, decked out in New York Mets gear and smiling ear to ear. After I finished reading and the children went to do their arts and crafts, I approached him to say hello (because how could I not?). He eagerly gave me a fist bump and told me who his favorite player was. Before leaving, I told him if he came to the game, I would be sure to get him a baseball. A few nights later, I saw him at our field, still decked out in the same Mets hat and shirt. He left with a baseball signed by the entire team and a smile that makes playing baseball, no matter the struggle or anguish, worth it.
Finally, I won’t soon forget getting the silent treatment after a home run late in a game against the Orleans Firebirds last week. With so much frustration and disappointment this summer, that small act of kindness by my teammates showed me how much they care and how good baseball can be. The feeling of being hugged by all your teammates at once after they pretend like nothing happened for a pitch or two makes it hard not to love the game. I play for my teammates and to win games for the school or city across my chest, but I also play for memories like that. Did the home run mean anything to the outcome of the game? No, we would have won either way. That doesn’t mean I won’t remember that small instance where it was impossible not to smile and be happy playing baseball for the Falmouth Commodores.
Other small things I will cherish from my time spent on the Cape this summer include getting to see one of my old friends for the first time in nearly a year and working out in Fenway Park. Most importantly to me, I got to meet and become friends with some incredible people. From the trainers, to the interns, to the coaches, to the players, and my host family, I have been incredibly lucky to have gotten to know so many wonderful people. While leaving the baseball behind will be hard, leaving the people I have become close with might just be harder. I hope to stay in touch with many of them heading into whatever the future has in store for me.
That being said, I am very excited to see my actual family again. What can I say? I miss my mama and I miss my home. I haven’t been there for more than a few days since December. See ya soon, West Linn!