Sept 30, 2020
I sat there watching the butterfly flutter by and the sun cast a shadow on the ground. The sun was hot. The wind slightly blew out of the south. My hat was fastened on my head but was still loose enough that it would fly off when running fast.
Mom was in the stands where she usually sits. Trying to always have a view of me on the field. I wanted her to see me make a play. I wanted to make her proud. I never thought it would come to anything meaningful, cause after all, I was the smallest on the team with the least amount of energy. Maybe today was a day when that would change.
The inning ended when a strikeout. The crowd didn’t really cheer at these small local baseball games. It was only for parents, grandparents and the occasional random uncle that showed up to watch a game. My nerves were at their normal tense level. Always apprehension. Always a bit churning in the stomach. Why? I don’t know, maybe it was because in the game, there was always a chance something exciting and stressful would happen and I would mess it up. There I went again, overthinking it.
I bet no one knew how strong I *could* be if I wanted. I bet they only saw the exterior of the frail fragile boy that was wrapped around these bones. I didn’t look strong. I didn’t do strong things. I didn’t even have a loud voice when I yelled. I could always be over-run by the next biggest kid.
It was out turn in the offense. We got to bat. You might think this story is about the time that I stepped up to the plate with bases loaded, two outs, down by a run and I hit the winning run in to win the game. The team carried me away on their shoulders in victory and I was their new hero. I was the champ. I got the best seat on the dug out. Everyone wanted to play catch with me …. Nope. Not today. That’s not this story. This is a story of truths. My truth. My secret. My reveal.
I was there and I bet no one knew. No one ever got close enough to chance finding out. I kept it secret. Had for years. Mom didn’t know. I don’t know how it happened, I don’t know where I got it from, but I had it. It was mine and maybe the only power I had was keeping it a secret. And once I let go of that secret I would lose that power and control. Did I want to let it go?
It was risky. It was inevitable that one day it would come out. Someone would see it. Someone would know and see that I was a phony. Was I willing to let that happen? Always hiding in fear? But if I was in control of when it was told to the world, maybe I could pick the time place and location. I could sneak it out when no one was looking. I could just do it.
Well, it happened. Today was the day. As I walked to the plate and took my place in the batter’s box, I felt the same nerves as usual. All the sickness. All the sweat beads running down my forehead. Gulp. I swallowed.
One pitch went by. The pitcher and catcher were of course twice my height and weight. I didn’t know how I why others were so much more advanced than me. They too had their secrets. I had mine.
Second pitch. I don’t even know if they were balls or strikes. Didn’t matter. Had anyone noticed? Had anyone cared? I was there and no one was watching. The coach at third base was disappointed, looking at his clipboard calculating how the next batter would have another out on the board when they got their chance. No one was looking. No one cared.
I looked down and could see my feet were there. Right inside the batters box. Where they are supposed to be but where they never were before. Did I do it on purpose or was it just an accident?
There they were, on the first base side of home plate in the left-handed batter’s box. What a relief. Felt so natural. Felt so real. Now, the jig was up, every was bound to see it. My turn. Here’s the pitch. The swing and yep, strike out. But you know what, at least I’m done hiding it. I can be myself. I’m left handed in a right handed world. Guess I’m eating at the end of the dinner table tonight. Thanks Mom!
Saying: The jig is up
Nouns: Mom, baseball weakness