It's the fourth inning of high school baseball game at Don Richardson Field in Richmond. Madison Central has a big lead and appears to be heading toward a nice, easy, short, mercy-run victory against an overmatched opponent.
On the verge of establishing a 10-run advantage, which would secure a game-ending lead, the Indians remove their starters from the line-up. They pinch-hit for their best players and go to the bullpen for relief pitchers.
And many times, the results of those substitutions was three more innings of baseball, instead of just one.
In the 17 years I've worked at the Richmond Register, that exact scenario has played out dozens and dozens of times.
It's even become a bit of a running joke with some people I know around the Madison Central baseball program.
I understand why coach Steve Roof does this.
And I want to make it absolutely clear that I am NOT criticizing him. NOT at all.
Roof is an outstanding coach and more importantly a great person, teacher, role model and father.
I don't have a bad word to say about him. Not one.
Roof makes those changes mid-way through a blowout game because he wants to get younger players into a varsity game and — quite frankly — he takes no joy in running up the score on anyone. He's a nice guy.
And that's a big part of the reason why I feel like a jerk now looking back on all those times I got more than a little frustrated by having to watch three extra innings of baseball. I was just being selfish.
An extra hour of my life seemed like a big deal just a year ago.
I was wrong. Now, there's no baseball. There's no softball.
There's no trips to the movie theatre, or having drinks with friends at a local bar or going out for a nice meal.
We spend our hours indoors, hoping for a time when life will go back to normal. We can only hope it happens soon.
I've thought about all the time I've spent at Don Richardson Field and the other athletic fields around Madison County a lot recently. I should be at one of those places every afternoon at this time of year.
But, I'm not. And neither are the players, coaches and fans.
It's sad. Especially for the seniors, who will probably never play another game for their high school team.
In the future, I hope I remember this feeling and maybe learn turn to appreciate things a little bit more.
Because right now, I'd really love to watch just a couple more innings.
Nathan Hutchinson - Richmond Register
Seniors - D'Marko Foster, Sean Lyle, Logan Metcalfe, Noah Metcalfe, Colton Perkins, Nick Shortridge, Brady Snyder, Bryce Travis, Bobby Vasquez
"I don't know the answers to your questions. But I do know this, my life is not full in spite of the disappointments, it is full because of them. I am proud of you!"
I Still Believe - The story of Jeremy Camp