Blake Willingham

See below for a link to Blake’s audio file.


The Worst Practice Ever

One of my favorite things about playing baseball at Donoho is the practices. Whether we are hitting batting practice, taking fungos, doing field work, or playing wiffle ball, some of the best times of baseball season happen at practice. Some practices are not as fun, though, especially when Skip is blaring Metallica over the speaker. That tells us what kind of practice it is going to be. When he plays country music, it’s going to be a good day of practice, but if he is playing Metallica, it is not a good day.

One of my first practices of my seventh grade year was one of those Metallica days, but at the time I had no idea what it meant. All of the upperclassmen knew it was going to be a bad day, but little did I know how bad it would be. We started practice with Skip ripping fungos, or hitting ground balls as hard as he can to the infielders. I think I may have fielded two of them, and the rest just pelted me all over. We then hit batting practice where I probably swung and missed more times than I can count. Lastly, we started running sprints for our conditioning for the day. Whenever we run sprints, we often get very competitive and end up racing each other. Two of the guys started arguing over who was faster, so they raced, and both were arguing over who won. Things grew heated, and the guys started shoving each other. Skip saw this and was not happy. He raced over on the lawn mower, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Skip as mad as he was that day. He started unloading his wrath at us. After chewing us out for what felt like forever, he told us to start running and to not stop until he was finished cutting the outfield. 

He took his time cutting, too, because we were still running, and it was almost dark outside. We were getting tired of running and some of us were messing around and started throwing our hats at the lawnmower as Skip passed by. We kept throwing them and running over to get them before he ran over them. One player, Garrett,  didn’t quite make it in time. He threw his hat and it landed right in front of the lawn mower. We all knew what was about to happen when we saw it. Skip started laughing as he ran over and ripped Garrett’s  hat almost in half. Garrett ran over to his hat and threw it at Skip again as the whole team was dying laughing. After that, Skip had finished cutting the grass and told us to go home, and to this day, that hat is still hanging up.

Another time in my eighth grade year, I was pitching really badly. I was getting absolutely raked off of, so Skip came up to the mound to talk to me, and he was furious. He said something along the lines of quit throwing like a baby and just throw the ball. So that’s what I did. I started throwing as hard as I could, which wasn’t very hard, and I finally got out of the inning and went on to pitch another inning.

Memories like these are what makes our team so great. There is so much camaraderie between our team, whether we’re actually practicing or just talking about the game and hanging out together in the dugout. Some of the best memories from the past few years have come from baseball practices because we never know what Skip is going to do that day, which makes practice unpredictable, unless he is playing Metallica.

Please click on the arrow below to hear Blake’s Senior Reading.