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THE BEGINNING OF THE DREAM
Every day, Mr. Dravecky would come home from work smelling of sweat and grease from his machine shop, his trousers smeared with the day's work, and his fingernails black with grime. His young son Dave used to look at his dad washing the grease from his hands and think, Such big hands. Such big, strong hands.
"As a kid growing up," Dave says, "I felt safe and secure knowing those fix-anything hands belonged to the man I called Dad. And no matter how tired those hands were at the end of the day, they were never too tired for a game of catch with me. In the backyard my dad would burrow one of those big hands into a catcher's mitt and play with a seven-year-old boy who could barely wrap his hand around a baseball. I remember how he would crouch down and pound his fist into that mitt, making a well-rounded pocket for the ball I was about to pitch. Often we played until it was too dark to see, and still I begged for more, never wanting that time to end."
And that's where Dave Dravecky's dream began, when he was a young boy, pitching to his father in their family's backyard. It wasn't long until the Dravecky backyard became a ball diamond where all the neighborhood kids would come to play. They wore base paths between the trees used for bases, hit foul balls that ricocheted off the house, and knocked homers over and past the fenceless yards of neighbors.
"The backyard was never the same after the first time my dad put on that glove and played catch with me," Dave says, "and neither was I."