Hard To Grip: A Memoir of Youth, Baseball, and Chronic Illness

Hard To Grip: A Memoir of Youth, Baseball, and Chronic Illness

by Emil DeAndreis


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In 2008, after a record-breaking career as a D1 college baseball player, Emil DeAndreis' life seemed set: He was twenty-three, in great shape, and had just been offered a contract to pitch professionally in Europe. 
Then his body fell apart. 
It started with elbow stiffness, then swelling in his wrist. Soon, his fingers were too bloated to grip a baseball. He had Rheumatoid Arthritis, a disease that causes swelling and eventual deterioration of the joints, mostly targeting old people and women. 
Hard To Grip tells the story of a young man’s body giving out when he needs it most. It chronicles an ascending sports career, the ups and downs of life in the NCAA, and the challenges of letting go of pro baseball due to a dehumanizing condition. In a series of humorous anecdotes, Emil takes the reader on his bittersweet journey of a young man’s having to grapple with an “old woman’s disease.” From striking out future major leaguer All Stars, to sitting in support groups; from breaking university records, to barely making it up the stairs; from language barriers with Chinese healers to figuring out how to be employed as a vegetable, this book unveils the disease with humor and fearless honesty through the eyes of an unlikely victim. This memoir is an honest, rueful and at times hilarious story about learning to come to terms with a new reality, and an inspiring account of how Emil learned to run with the disease and not from it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781943156146
Publisher: Schaffner Press, Inc.
Publication date: 04/01/2017
Pages: 326
Sales rank: 1,212,196
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Emil DeAndreis is the author of Beyond Folly (Blue Cubicle Press). He is a high school baseball coach, and he teaches English at College of San Mateo. He lives in San Francisco with his wife.

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Hard To Grip: A Memoir of Youth, Baseball, and Chronic Illness 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MinTwinsNY More than 1 year ago
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease that cause swelling and eventually deterioration of the joints. The people who are most likely to suffer from this condition are elderly women. So imagine what it was like when a 23 year old young man who just completed a college baseball career in Hawaii and was about to sign a contract to play professional baseball in Belgium finds out he has this condition. That is exactly what happened to Emil DeAndreis. His memoir about this situation after dreaming of a baseball career is one that will tug at every emotion in a reader. The stories he shares from his experiences are funny, sad, thoughtful and honest. It is clear while reading the book that DeAndreis is pulling no punches and fully describing his emotions when he finds out the news about important events in his life – not just the diagnosis of the disease. His story about the offer of a Division I baseball scholarship from the University of Hawaii-Hilo was one in which I was pumping my fist to cheer for him. His subsequent description of some of the wacky happenings on the campus with his teammates, the struggles of the team as they compiled losing records in each of his four seasons, and the joy of earning a win against a major conference school (the University of Kansas) are fun to read and make the reader feel like he or she is living the college life with him. DeAndreis, who studied writing in college, saves his best for his battle with RA. His internal thoughts of denial that he has the disease, the alternative treatments he tried before medication and the support of his then-girlfriend (now wife) Kendall makes for compelling reading. Between the description of what his body was going through, his wish to disassociate from anything associated with baseball because the memories are too painful, and his life afterward which included coaching the high school baseball team for which was a star pitcher, will inform and entertain the reader. This book is not one in which is meant to draw pity or sympathy for the author, nor is it one that is written with a greater message or cause in mind. It is simply an honest story of a young man who was diagnosed with a disease that caused him to give up his lifelong dream and adjust to living life with different goals. It is one that readers of many different genres will like – one does not have to be a baseball fan to cheer for Emil in his road to life after baseball.