Sliding......

...... I remember the first time that I ever took a base away from an opponent.... it was second base, and I was 11 years old.....

..... my Mother was in the stands and my Uncle was my coach.......and on one hot little summer night in Englewood, Tennessee - with a million insects circling the lights that illuminated the small ball-field - I hit my first double....... I remember how my left knee stung as I straightened myself on second base........ and how, as I dusted myself off after my slide, I gazed off towards centerfield and up at the lights...... cicadas chirping wildly and the gigantic luna moths circling the lights...... the heat of a steamy southern evening choking the air around me........

.... I heard my Mother clapping and I turned myself towards her... and there she sat sitting straight-legged on the concrete slabs that made up the stands........ I was in heaven......

..... but, good lord.... what must it take to spur a middle-aged woman to sit in sweltering heat after a long day of work to waste her evening on a set of concrete bleachers whilst her son spent an evening under the spotlights?........

..... Dixie Lee Youth, folks.... it is what us youngsters once did in the evenings before video games and cheap internet porn were invented.......

... actually, that is a bit of a lie, I guess..... since Space Invaders and the Atari were already on the go by then...... it's just that my folks couldnt afford an Atari..... and the old baseball catcher's mitt was a hand-me-down.... and actually, baseball didn't cost my folks a dime - other than their time...... which, even though I am childless myself - is catching me as a more and more precious resource as the days tick by.......

..... my eighth grade year ended with me hitting 36 homeruns..... big stuff for a little guy like me, and especially when our centerfield fence was sitting at 300 feet (and was really the border for the local football field and never meant for gauging baseball whacks.).........

..... the very next year?..... I traded my cleats in for working boots as my Mother underwent surgery on her back........ and although I lettered my freshman year, I never played a single game.......

.... and now I bounce a ball sometimes with The Missus...... not a baseball, but a Hi-Bounce Pinky instead......... and it is fun.......

..... and she is a pretty good catch, if the truth be told.........

..... we all miss opportunities, I guess.......... and perhaps that is the gist of this post tonight........ then again, perhaps I didn't miss all that much, really......... perhaps I just miss the feeling of The Slide........ standing up on second base, dusting yourself off, looking at the gigantic lights illuminating center field, and wondering if your Momma had just seen you make a double......... after all, there is nothing like knowing she is watching you when you succeed.......

.... I awoke this morning from a dream...... and after calming myself, all I could think of was how proud I was when I finished catching my first double-header........ I didn't hit a homerun that set...... and I didn't even make a double........ but I did block home plate for an out on a guy stealing home from third......... and we won the All Star game for McMinn county that year against those cretins from Riceville..........

..... we try, we do....... we all try..... .and some of us succeed.......... but as for me, I will never forget that first time that I tagged ass to earth and slid for a double......... if we never try, then we never do........ and we have always, always, ALWAYS have to try........ we have to take that chance.......

.... slide, rubberneckers......... we all need to do it more often..........

by Eric on August 10, 2011 | Bullshit (6) | TrackBack (0) | Ummm, Ok....
Bullshit So Far

True grit for a shrimp like you to lord over home plate and emerge victorious.

Of course, that's coming from a lummox like me who reveled in totaling smaller chassis than myself. That is, until the select few outgrew me and stuck to the weight room. Big bastards put me off high school sports entirely. Delivering hits in Gray Y football league was a helluva lot more fun than trying to stand up to suicidal tackling drills against boys who found their testosterone over the summer in barrels rather than bottles.

God, if I was to slide now, I'd be due for #6 in the never ending parade of knee surgeries.

Missed opportunities, indeed, homes.

Wish we coulda played the game together.

A

Bullshitted by Andy on August 10, 2011 10:55 PM

You are right about that feeling of tagging someone out or sliding into third (for me). I was never great at sports, but I was better than average. Yet, my parents rarely came to see me play - after all, I was a girl and girl's sports are just not as important. It's still a sore spot for me. With my own kids, how could I ever miss seeing them play? I love it!

Bullshitted by Lou on August 11, 2011 07:22 AM

Back in the writing saddle, I see. Perhaps you need more raspberry cheesecakes. ;-)

Bullshitted by Elisson on August 11, 2011 09:51 AM

I loved watching my kids play fall ball. It wasn't so hot and it wasn't as competitive and my kids were really into it. Well, until my second son, the real athlete in the family, kept getting whacked by the ball when he was up to bat. He was fast as hell, his nickname the jackrabbit, but in kid pitch, he was so small rarely could a kid pitch to him, so after the second season he said, 'I'm done. If I never get hit by another baseball, it'll be too soon." Sometimes he jumped away in time... sometimes he didn't.

He's a tremendous football player, one of the star players on his flag football team in middle school. The kid has hands... he can catch and run. His big disappointment is he can't play real ball in HS. At 5'3" and slated to top out at 5'6", he'll get crushed. So he's relegated to the stands, playing the trombone, and studying Chemistry and Pre-Calc, while the guys are on the field, either practicing or playng.

I suspect he'd trade it all to be on the field. Just one season...

Bullshitted by Bou on August 11, 2011 04:35 PM

Eric yes it is a magic feeling if you feel loved for whatever reason, make another peep feel the same love.

Lou, that is sad never repeat that falacy. You Go Girl.

Bou, I know that he would love that one season, I did. After he turns 35 or perhaps before he would look at the stars of this year with their drug, alcohol, personality problems and smile at his good fortune for missing that season, I did.

Bullshitted by keeskennis on August 12, 2011 03:02 PM

.... the very next year?..... I traded my cleats in for working boots as my Mother underwent surgery on her back........ and although I lettered my freshman year, I never played a single game...

That's the year you lettered in life my friend. It's no game, but the rewards are higher, if played well to the end.

Bullshitted by kdzu on August 12, 2011 03:37 PM