Sunday, February 13, 2011

My One Proud Moment from the World of Sports

First, a disclaimer: I have this nagging suspicion I've shared this story on here before. If I have, it's not my fault. I wasn't myself when I wrote it, and thus I don't remember it, so technically I'm not at fault.

My one proud moment from the world of sports is all about a baseball game against Palmyra back when still young enough for other kids my age to want to play baseball (around 7th grade or so, kids lost interest, and I started having to play on the older kids' team, which mean a lot of time in right field and much disappointment at bat).

Palmyra was the team we hated to play, and hated to lose to--which were one and the same, really. If we played them, we lost.

They had these awful kids on their team that--if I remember correctly--were twins. They'd say awful things to you if you were near enough to hear them, but far enough away from any umpire they wouldn't be heard by the wrong person. I'd love to give you an example, but I have none. I just remember they were terrible.

It would make for a much more pleasing narrative if I could say this particular incident involved one of those twins directly, but I can't remember if it does or not (I can't even remember if we're talking about twins or not).

We were in Center, playing Palmyra, losing badly. Nothing new about any of this, really.

It was the late 70s, so that should help you imagine what the people in the stands were wearing.

I was pitching. Brad Gibbons was catching. Matt Harris was out in right field. Six other people were spread all over the place. I have no idea who they were. I'd assume John Richard (or however it's spelled--I remember learning how to spell his last name and not mix it up with the last name of our classmate Marilyn (Riechards, I think), but I haven't needed that knowledge for over twenty-five years now) was on the team, and if I had to guess, maybe John Taylor, maybe Joe Wisner, maybe Chad Laird... or maybe not. They weren't directly involved in my proud moment.

For all to be right in the narrative world, the bases would have been loaded. I have no idea if they were. I'm pretty sure at least one base had a runner on it, but that's as good as I can do.

Again, it's not important.

Also not important is how much I hated pitching. I still cringe at the thought of being that responsible for what's happening with a team at a sporting event. I absolutely hated pitching. I wanted to catch, or play second base, or center field... but not pitch.

One of the pitches I threw to this particular batter (who may or may not have been one of the guys who may or may not have been twins) was just right for him to hit it flying out to right field.

We were all ticked off. It's just how you were when you played Palmyra.

Matt got the ball and threw it as hard as he could to me.

It didn't matter that we were going to lose no matter what. It didn't matter that over thirty-some-odd years later the details would be very hazy in my head.

What did matter was, by God, this kid was not going to make a home run, but he obviously was. And that was infuriating.

I caught that ball, and turned and threw it as hard as I could (actually, probably harder, inasmuch as that's possible) to the backstop--not even to Brad, really. I wasn't aiming. I was just ticked off and wanted to throw the ball as hard as I could.

My aim was terrible. It went right to Brad. Brad caught it and tagged the guy out.

No lie.

It was the greatest feeling in the world! We got the guy out! Matt to me to Brad and he's out! I was on top of the world for several minutes, until Brad took off his glove and his fingers were bleeding around his fingernails because of how hard I threw the ball to him.

For the record: he didn't care. He was just as excited as I was that we got that kid out.

So we lost the game, but we got that kid out. And I made Brad's fingers bleed. What a day!

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