A Personal Baseball Story
As I grew up in my small home town, the sport of baseball meant a lot to me and a lot of other kids. By the time I had entered high school I had made quite a name for myself as a pitcher and hitter in this sport. I was also on the football team and an up and coming half back for our squad.The spring day that we were to begin our first practice session, i made the mistake of telling a team member that my father was related to our new baseball coach. Mr.Bo, as he was known, had a reputation of being a good coach and knowing the game of baseball backwards and forwards. The team member that I had told about being related was a little jealous of me and always had revealed this over the years that we both played on the same team. Mr. Bo got wind of my statement and the next thing I realized was that I had been benched for most of the season.
As I sat on that hard bench each ball game, the resentment and anger began to build up in me, and I even considered quitting the team. I began to feel like a lonesome old hound dog laying on a porch, with nothing much to do. Something kept me hanging onto hope that I might get to play in at least one game that season. I was used to being one of the top players of the teams, and not outcast on that lonely bench all season. At last a game away from home came up, and late in the game, the coach decided to give me a break and show a little mercy. Our team was losing six to zip and one man had managed to walk to first base. The coach called my name and I was a little shocked. He told me to try to get a hit or advance the runner. The coach always told us to take the first pitch, but I would have no part of it. The tall lanky pitcher looked as though he may have been at least twenty and too old to be playing in any high school game. He had already struck out most of the team several times and we were already in the last inning. I gritted my teeth and swung with all my might at the first pitch, a high fast ball. When that bat struck the ball. I knew that I would be gong for extra bases. When I saw the white orb disappear into the woods at the far end of the field, I put all may speed into gear, that I could muster. My legs were like a blur.as I rounded the bases and sped across the home plate. The biggest surprise came when even the opposing players cheered me on as I rounded those bases that day. The coach looked at me with a strange look on his face and mouthed a silent curse word as I returned to my bench seat. The whole team cheered for me and patted me on the back and when the game ended in a six to two final score we got ready to pile back into cars and head for home. I rode in the car with Mr. Bo and four other players that day and just before we were to get into the car, I saw a large knot, about the size of a half dollar on the side of Mr. Bo's front tire. When I pointed this out, he went right to work and replaced the dangerous tire with a spare. As he returned to the car, Mr. Bo commented that I had not only knocked a home run, but probably had saved everyone who was to ride in that car from being hurt in a bad wreck. I did actually get to play in a few games after that one and then I felt a lot better about Mr.Bo as our coach.
A few years later my grandfather passed away and as we waited outside and talked at the home, Mr.Bo came over to my dad and I. He commented that I was a good ball player and that he should have let me play in more games than he had done. My dad knew of my situation and not much more conversation was had back then. My dad was my stepfather and Mr. Bo was a second cousin. My dad followed every ball game that I played in back then, and whenever he could, he was at the ball games cheering me on. A short time later I injured my spine in football practice and never got to play in high school again. My humbling experience later proved to be beneficial in my accepting the future life I was about to endure for the rest of my high school education. I was made a better person from all that was to take place.