A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Battling

JV is okay.
Sitting on the bench just sucks.
Hit, pitch, field, compete!

Last night, Joe battled. While the score was 11-2, and he was the pitcher of record, with 3 runs scored in the 1st inning, 2 runs in the 2nd, and 2 runs in the third, the scoreboard didn't tell the full story.

The maple trees have shed their helicopter seeds, which litter the ground. The cars are covered in pollen, and Joe, who has a difficult time trusting that I, especially, or his mother know anything about anything, has refused to do anything about it, Allergies have been kicking Joe's butt, but he has refused to take any of the antihistamines or decongestants that we have offered him -- his sinuses are all inflamed, his head is pounding, and he probably now has a sinus infection.

One day last week, on Teacher Appreciation Day, with an Honor's English presentation due on Ibsen's The Doll House due, Joe tried to play his allergies and not feeling well into an excuse for an absence. While Joe was playing possum, Karen and I together reinforced the expectation that the only excuse for an absence was if he were barfing, bleeding, or dying. I played my X-box card, and threatened to get rid of it until he moves out of the house if he didn't either go with his mother to the doctor or make it to school. When Joe went to print out slides, as I was checking to see whether he was lying about having completed his presentation after I had been able to prod him until he had dragged himself into the shower, I found that Joe's computer had locked up. I was able to open Power Point and retrieve the last autosave from 30 minutes before he finished, so it was not a total loss. Joe arrived a little late, but was able to present. His X-box is still in it's hiding place, so I suppose I will have to release it back to him eventually.

Last evening, Joe played down with the JV team, and was the starting pitcher, and when he was done pitching, he got to play center field. I don't enjoy going to varsity games with my son sitting on the bench and only occasionally pinch running, so I rarely  go, but last night, I knew Joe would be at the top of the batting order, and I knew he would get a chance to play in the field, but I had no idea he was pitching. Last night, it was a perfect evening for baseball, hot dog aromas filled the air, and I was the proud papa. Joe was complaining about how poorly he felt from the moment I got there, and he had not eaten all day. He was visibly on edge, leaning against the fence or whatever would prop him up, partly from the stress of pitching, and hitting at the top of the batting order, partly with the stress of other players looking up to him, and partly because he just felt awful. Joe would come to me at the fence at the end of every inning and tell me how badly he felt, but knowing that playing is a privilege and that opportunities are as fleeting as dust in the wind, I kept pointing toward the field, grinning, and growling at him to get back out there and tough it out.

Joe's velocity on his pitches was in the high seventies to low eighties, which seemed at least five to ten miles an hour faster than the other pitchers. He had command of the strike zone, and he was going after hitters, even though he wasn't mixing his speeds and locations as much as I remember him doing the last I watched him pitch, and was mostly throwing heat. The three runs in the first inning were unearned, because there were a number of fielding and throwing errors, but Joe held it together as hitters worked the counts full by staying alive with foul tips. Balls that were hit managed to find gaps. With the score 7-2 in the third inning and the bases having been loaded through a combination of bloop singles, and a few well hit fly balls, Joe went after the hitter with a pitch that went a little high and inside, which led to a passed ball, and Joe came to the plate to accept the throw from his catcher, which led to a run down, and Joe easily caught the runner.

At the plate, in his first plate appearance, Joe ripped a ball straight to the 3rd baseman. On his second opportunity at the plate, Joe hit a textbook single up the middle, just like his coach Chuck Hoyle has trained him to do, he stole second, was advanced on a fly to deep right, and scored on a sacrifice fly. Last night, the team hit the ball well, but most of the Atoms' hits found gloves, while most of the Titan's hits found gaps. That's just how it is in baseball sometimes. After the game, I talked with a father of a senior, whose son was hammering hits to the fence all night, but was only able to drive in 2 runs. Parents were enjoying watching their upper classmen, who perhaps felt a little like they were from the island of misfit toys, play JV with 9th and 10th graders.

In center field, Joe covered a lot of ground and was able to hold runners. During the fifth inning, Joe caught a long fly ball and threw the ball all the way over the catcher's head. If only he had been able to gun down the runner ...

After the game, Joe wouldn't eat his customary pizza. He ate chicken noodle soup and curled up on the couch. That Capitals allowed a goal with less than 2 minutes to play and lost a heartbreaker in the Garden in overtime. His mother covered him with a blanket because he felt cold.