There’s two ways Anthony Price could look at his senior year.
He could look at it as one of the worst years possible.
He looks at the other way.
Price is a recent graduate of Archbishop Ryan High School. His school year started off bad and it took a long time before it got better.
The star catcher on the baseball team couldn’t catch a break. He just didn’t know what he caught.
“It was right before I was going to go back to school, I woke up with a huge lump under my neck,” Price said. “I thought I slept wrong. But then my whole side of my body was hurting. It was weird because I just took a week off, so I tried to play, but I was so sore.
“The first day of school, I didn’t feel good and I had a 103 fever, so I went to the doctor. I had another lump then, and they tested me and my blood count was bad. I was really nervous. We were all nervous.”
After a battery of tests and treatment, doctors still couldn’t figure it out. Eventually, after ruling everything out, he underwent more tests and it was discovered that he had acute mononucleosis.
Doctors said it was the best-case scenario, and it was.
It ruled out things such as cancer, hepatitis and other serious diseases. But it didn’t change the fact that Price was feeling terrible.
“I was out of school until right before Halloween,” Price said. “My organs were failing. My liver, I had jaundice, my kidneys were swollen and infected, my colon was infected, I had five organs that were in danger of failing. They gave me steroids and I started to feel better, but it was really hard for a while.”
Price recovered, but it wasn’t overnight.
In fact, he missed all offseason workouts and wasn’t cleared to get back on the field with his teammates until March. Then, you know, the whole coronavirus shut everything down.
It would be easy to call it an awful year, but Price looks at the good side of things.
“I was the only senior captain returning and I was the only one who played varsity as a sophomore, so I knew this was a big year for everything,” said Price, who lives in Bustleton. “So I tried to stay involved. I would go to workouts and do whatever I could. I would help the younger guys, I would talk to everyone, try to encourage them, sometimes the only thing I could do was put the ball on a tee. I would do that. I just wanted to be around them.
“Ryan was great about everything. They were great about sending my school work and making sure I was able to do everything. And everyone was so helpful. My coaches, my teachers and everyone at the school. They would always check in when I was sick, and when I was trying to come back, everyone on the team would support me, and when I came back, everyone was like, ‘OK, let’s do this. We can win the PCL. This is our year. We can do it.’ ”
No team won because baseball was canceled before it started, but it didn’t impact Price’s future plans.
Next year, he will continue his baseball career at Chestnut Hill College, where he will major in some type of business or possibly education. But instead of going with his best friend, he’ll be going alone.
Price was slated to room with fellow Ryan grad George Karusky, who passed away in April after a short battle with meningitis.
Losing his good friend was worse than anything else he endured this year. Way worse than his own illness and way worse than missing baseball season.
This hurt, but once again, he was happy with the way the Ryan community came together to get through the tough time.
“We were all there for each other, that’s how (Karusky) would have been,” Price said. “We went through a lot this year, especially with losing him, and everyone was together. It definitely helped because we needed each other.”
Price will always fondly recall his days at Ryan and he’ll remain friends with many of the guys he played with.
But he’s also looking forward to getting started at Chestnut Hill.
He knows he has work to do. He lost 25 pounds due to his illness, and he wants to add some muscle before he gets to college. He’ll also spend some time working.
“Before all this, I worked at Sluggersville,” he said of the indoor baseball and softball training facility on Blue Grass Road. “I mostly work the counter and take people in the tunnel (where they hit). It’s a great job because I love being around baseball, but I haven’t been able to do it.
“Lately I’ve been working with my dad at (Mastoris), a restaurant in Bordentown (New Jersey). My brother is a busboy there. I haven’t been able to do much because we can’t open, but I prep the food, get the bread ready. It’s a good job, too.”
He’ll also put in as much work as it takes to be ready for the season.
“I’m feeling a lot better,” he said. “I’m not 100 percent yet, I still need to get stronger, but I feel great. I can’t wait to get back.”