That’s the magic of the game, isn’t it? Here I am playing in my very first season for my very first team. I was five. That team won three league championships. In the final playoff game during that particular season, I was at third base when the batter smoked a line drive right at me. I caught it like a pro. Coach Danny was so excited that he came out and hugged me, picked me up, put me on his shoulder and paraded me around the field. It is the one memory I have of those times that is the most clear, and it’s the best one.
I was five- I could do anything!
It turned out that I had a talent for the game I played on teams that won six consecutive championships. Primarily as a shortstop, but I played everywhere- pitcher, catcher, second base, outfield, wherever I was needed. By the time I was eleven, I was one of the stars of the league.
Then we moved and I had to prove myself all over again. The new kid in a new league with established stars and pre-conceived notions. By the end of the season I was playing centerfield on their district all-star team.
There’s no better feeling in the world than charging a ball and making a perfect throw to first on the run. The joy I received from tracking down a fly ball and making a spectacular catch. The way a ball came off the bat when I made perfect contact. Stealing a base was the most natural of acts to me. It was the best time…
A few years later, it was over. I played senior ball and American Legion ball but I had listened to a cross-country coach and ran track instead of playing for the high school baseball team. One of the biggest mistakes of my life- I was a mediocre runner (ironically, I still road run to this day) but a fantastic baseball player.
It would have been tough to stay with the game. Ten thousand dollar elite travel teams and year-round training had not yet been conceived. I would have been a walk-on at any college tryout. Besides, by that time I was obsessed with altered states and sex. It was the seventies, after all.
On to the next thing. The only other skill set that seemed natural to me was writing. Again, I was good at it. I loved covering the local and state politics of the times. Being able to hobnob with those who turned the wheels of power was a power trip in itself. I dabbled in short stories, but journalism was my drink of choice.
That was a long time… and a couple of careers… ago, but here I am again. This time, I’m writing fiction series about a future that looks way closer than when I first envisioned it fifteen years ago. These days, I’m not even sure I can classify it as fiction so much as dumb luck prediction.
Here’s a challenge: try writing a one hundred thirty-two thousand word fiction novel in third person and without head hopping. First person is for lightweights.
I’m writing a children’s book about dogs too. Frankly it’s harder.
Hope springs eternal. I hope to find an audience. I hope to find a publisher. I hope to find distribution. I hope to find my way, to meet the test. To be good.
That’s the magic of the game, isn’t it? No matter how awful things were before, however triumphant or disastrous yesterday was, today we get go out and do it all again. We cross the chalk and make the plays; taking our hacks with no idea what the outcome will be. For the true player, there’s no concern over what is in the hand of Chance. Just so long as they were good.
It’s the best time… – KH