Saturday 28 April 2012

More Firm Than Gentle

I’m not sure if there will even be a blog for tonight. I guess that this is what it will be, but I am getting pretty tired and the day is more than half over.

I think the plan is to attend a Blue Jays game that starts in the late afternoon. I am not a really big baseball fan, and by really big I mean someone that can actually watch a whole game on TV. I do like to watch baseball movies, like “Angels in the Outfield”, and there was “The Rookie” I think it was called, where a high school teacher becomes a pitcher for some major league team. I find I tend to cheer for the underdog and I like it even better when the game is boiled down to the interesting bits. I have a feeling that the Blue Jays have no intention of “boiling down” the game for me today.

I played softball when I was a kid. I suppose that I should say that my dad enrolled me on a baseball team each year, and each year I would let him down. I generally played left field and I think it is one of those positions that is universally given to the worst player on the team. I earned that position and consistently proved that I deserved it year after year. 

The team was sponsored by the local barbershop. Years later every time I had my hair butchered by the German barber I could look up and see myself and remember those painful days. I can remember standing in left field watching the other guys on the team toss the ball around and somehow they were having fun. It was a fucking nightmare for me! Whenever the team was out in field I would pray to God that I would be struck by lightning or swallowed by the earth in a freak earthquake. Any kind of violent death would be preferable to having someone hit the ball to me. I am sure that after the first game, all of the other coaches would tell their teams in practice that if they could hit to the left field it would pretty much guarantee a double, triple or even a homerun. 

The only thing worse than being in field was when our team would be at bat. Everyone got a turn at bat, in order of his field position. I was more than likely the only guy on the team that was hoping for three up, three down. Unfortunately that rarely happened, since the other team had someone just as shitty as I was in left field and our team took advantage of that fact. The closer I got to bat, the more nervous I became and I would hope for some thing, anything to happen that would stop the game. Eventually it would be my turn at bat and if there were two down, the rest of the team would start getting their gloves ready. I actually thought that it would save time if I carried my glove out to the plate with me, but the coach wouldn’t let me. I never even saw the three balls whiz past me!

My brother was a great player and as the pitcher he often won the game for us. I imagine that the pressure he felt to do well was worse than the pressure I had about being bad, but this is my blog, not his and I will write what I want. The good thing about the game was that it was over pretty quickly and it would be a week before the next one. Not all childhood memories are good ones.

Years later, I came home from work really drunk and Louise sent me out of the house to sober up. I walked around the neighbourhood and ended up at a schoolyard watching a kid’s baseball game. I guess that saying is true, those that can, do. Those that can’t, heckle. It turns out that parents watching their kids playing ball don’t want to listen to constructive criticism from a drunk. Who knew? I was thrown out of that baseball game and escorted off of the playground by a couple of really nice guys. Gentle but firm.

I hope that tonight I am not tossed out of the Blue Jays game, because I am pretty sure they will be more firm than gentle.

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