Commentary: Hitting a home run (September 11, 2003)

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BOB EDWARDS, host: Not all heroics occur in big-league stadiums. Commentator Morton Dean, who plays ball near his home in Connecticut , has had a moment of glory he's still savoring.


This was a 1) ____________  ____________ for me. I will never be the same. I hit a home run. I had never hit a home run before and I'm 68 years old.

I was 2) ______  ____________  ________ on the softball field on that sun-drenched Sunday morning. Most of the regulars who show up for our weekly pick-up games are much younger than I; some 20 years, even 30 years younger. But that's their problem.

I can still hear the distinctive sound of that home run 3) _____________ from the metal bat. I can still see it, what a majestic line drive it was, laser-like, a rope major leaguers might call it. And I can 4) ___________  ___________  ____ , the exhilaration, the outfielders playing me at an age-discriminating middle depth had to chase the ball, which carried to the stone wall in deepest left field. I sprinted around the bases and when the throw-in was wide of the mark, I scored 5) ____________  ________. The home plate greeting was classic: lusty cheers, obscenity-laced compliments, backslaps, high fives, low fives.

Before that exquisite moment, as the innings of my life played out, I did often contemplate the 6) ___________________ of dying without ever belting a home run. What would my gravestone read: `He was a 7) _____________ hitter'? The truth is, I had never really given up. That's because I don't believe, never did believe in letting age suffocate goals or extinguish dreams. I play sports by 8) _____  _____  _________of the game but I don't live life by all the rules of the game.

So what has changed about me since that super Sunday? Well, I walk 9) _____________. `Man, I hit a home run,' my walk seems to say. `Pay attention. You hearing me? A home run.' I know that I think differently. I have a will, but not the kind most of my contemporaries have. I will finish that novel. I will paint that painting. I will hit another home run. And I reinvested in the notion that 10) _____  _________  _________for older people to hang out with younger people, on the ball field and off. I believe even more fervently now that you should aspire to things that appear to be beyond your reach. I aspire to be younger.

EDWARDS: The comments of Morton Dean, a lecturer and freelance writer who played one year of baseball at Emerson College in Boston .


1.      How old was the man when he hit his first home run?


2.      What did he feel when he hit it?


3.      What did he often contemplate (think about) before he hit the home run?


4.      What changed in him after he hit the home run?


5. What does he think people should aspire to do and be?