I began to swing as the ball hurtled toward me, but it started to corkscrew as it reached the plate. I checked my swing just as the pitch thumped into my right hand that gripped the bat handle. As I trotted down to first base, the sensory registers in my brain informed me that it felt as if a gorilla had pirouetted on my hand.
I was 12 years old, playing in a summer baseball tournament when I fractured the 5th metacarpal in my right hand, which is the bone that runs along the outer edge of your hand.
I don’t remember the specifics, but I know I got hit by a pitch in the early innings. I also know that I played the rest of the game. It wasn’t that I was tough. Nope. I was too afraid of coming out and looking like a dork. Our team was shorthanded, and if I came out, there would have been no one to replace me other than the coach’s son, who was a couple years younger at the time and was keeping the scorebook.
So I played the rest of the game like a goon.
Adults tell you all the time that sports develop character. I can testify that’s true. But what they don’t tell you is that, other times, sports nudge you along and help you develop your own brand of stupidity.
The next time I came up to hit, I could barely cradle my right hand around the bat’s grip. Somehow, I swung with one hand and drove a fastball up the middle for a base hit. As I ran to first base, I did a terrible job of camouflaging the tears. So much for the tough guy act.
When my first base coach coach asked me if I was okay, I scrunched up my face and shook my head. Clearly, it was time for me to tap out and admit that my hand felt it was stuck under a jackhammer, but stupid is as stupid does, right?
I had never broken anything before, but it didn’t take Einstein’s intuition to realize that the pitch had caused some damage. Afterwards, my dad took me to the hospital and I got a cast.
Here’s the punchline. I went on vacation to Virginia Beach the next week. My first time at the beach, I had to put on this rubber glove-like covering that prevented water from getting into the cast. I had to pump it up with air to create a seal, so I could go frolic in the waves with what looked like an oven mitt. Fun time…
I got some stares and a few kids my age came up to me and asked why I was wearing a rubber oven mitt, so of course I got to tell the same story again and again. But the beach and the waves eventually drifted everyone else’s attention away, and I ended up having an enjoyable vacation.
I tell this story, because it’s just that—a story. It’s a memory of mine, and I chuckle now looking at it in the rearview mirror. I need to work on my storytelling delivery anyways, so what better way than to mine my own memories?
The funny stories don’t stop here. Stay tuned for future posts, and you’ll find out how I managed to split my eyelid open on the baseball diamond. The good times just keep on rolling…
Author’s Note: This post is part of an ongoing series of articles that will chart the progress I’m making on writing a short story. The story will be part of a larger Geneva College project in which students from Dr. Williams’s ENG 344 Publishing compile their short stories into a published collection for the campus. Check us out on Facebook under “Geneva Inklings.”
Kevin Cochrane is a writer and college student. Like what you read? Follow him on Twitter @RunFree_KC, find him on Facebook, or click the follow button at the bottom of the page to get Town Crier’s latest updates. Want to read more? Visit his blog at restandrefuge.wordpress.com which offers a Christian perspective on the surrounding culture. You can contact him with comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.