For many of the participants at Orioles Dream Week, fielding ground balls and hitting fastballs from former professional players could be considered a bit of a challenge.
For 59 year-old Joe Pavlock of Melbourne Beach, Florida, picking up a grounder or taking swings against the pros is nothing compared to what he has been through and is about to go through.
While living in Maryland, the former Montgomery County (Maryland) police officer was a big baseball fan and an avid softball player.
“I was playing about 100 games a year and just love the game,” he said.
And although being a police officer certainly was and is challenging, Pavlock was faced with the biggest challenge of all when he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1995.
After a successful surgery, a friend who had attended previous Orioles Dream Weeks reminded Pavlock that nobody lives forever and that he thought Pavlock would really enjoy the experience Dream Week provides.
He was right.
“My first camp was in 1997 and the first couple of years were exciting as it was neat to meet the players,” said Pavlock. “Now, it’s like a fraternity and the relationships I have built through this are priceless.”
Now cancer-free, Pavlock faces yet another challenge. But this is one that can be addressed after a week with friends in sunny Sarasota.
“For about 40 years, I’ve had no cartilage in my left knee and the pain has gotten so bad I will have to get it replaced,” he said.
But Pavlock wasn’t about to miss Dream Week and appears to be trying to get every last bit out of that knee as he even logged a few innings behind the plate.
“I had a cortisone shot to help me get through the week,” he acknowledged.
He is scheduled to go under the knife February 9th, but plans to be ready for the next Dream Week event.
“It is about a four-month recovery period,” said Pavlock. “I’m going to push it hard to rehabilitate so I can go to Cooperstownthis summer for the Orioles Cooperstown Dream Weekend.”
His Dream Week friends know he’ll be up to the challenge.