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.

MORTON DEAN:

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 .

Questions:

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

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2.      What did he feel when he hit it?

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

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

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

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