The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Cheating on my Girlfriend– Day 23

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October 28th, 2006: Matt and I meet at a park he claims is Zion’s best for baseball. My stomach feels queasy from the moment I get out of my car. I’m confident that I’m going to make contact with the ball, but don’t know how effectively because Matt will be pitching off a mound. I know it will only increase his velocity, which has been around fifty miles per hour, topping off around sixty.

We go through a bucket of soft toss to get warmed up. When I criticize several of his tosses, he counters, “I can tell you’re getting to be a real hitter. You’re complaining about pitches.” After a bucketful of warm-up tosses off the mound, we begin the final test.

Matt puts on a good show, considering he has no catcher and is sliding in mud on his follow through. I can’t do anything with his first eight pitches except foul back four of them, chop two in front of home plate, and miss two others entirely. I have mud problems of my own. My pivot foot makes a thrkkkk sound and is clumped with mud every time I move it, veritably nullifying the effects of squashing the bug.

I pause to collect my thoughts and clean mud off my shoe. I return to the batter’s box and steady myself for the ninth pitch. I watch the ball from Matt’s hand, test the ice, point the knob, and in the time it takes a synapse to fire between neurons in my brain, my cardboard strike zone appears like a template in my mind’s eye. The ball is coming into the seven slot in slow motion, and as if by divine intervention, I get my hands across my chest faster than ever before. There is a satiating crack as I rocket the ball over third base, looping to the right. The crack echoes off the trees behind the third base dugout. It is the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.

Before I can stop to think, the tenth pitch is barreling towards me in the four slot. I launch it hard into left.

A flood tide of adrenaline is surging through me. I don’t know what to say, but think that my smile is saying it all. I’m lost in giddiness and foul off or miss the next five pitches. I have twenty-one balls left. I do some quick math in my head and realize I have to hit over .280 from here on out. I step out of the batter’s box again, wipe sweat off my face, snap into focus, and then slap the next pitch down the first base line into right field. I scatter nine of the next nineteen pitches around the shallow to middle parts of left and center field. Matt does his part to keep me humble by making me miss a few altogether and foul off the rest, but I can see his pitches coming into most of the slots in the strike zone as I focus on watching the Big Stick hit the ball.

Before I’m ready to return to Earth, Matt calls out, “These are the last two.” I tell him it doesn’t matter now; I’ve surpassed my own expectations and it’s all gravy from here on out. He chucks the thirty-fifth pitch and I rip it right back to him, forcing him off the mound. He sees me smiling and smugly announces, “You shouldn’t show up your pitcher like that.” He reaches back and lets loose with an inside curve that looks like it’s coming into the seven slot. It drops faster than I can move and thumps the middle of my calf. I pogo-stick around the batter’s box on my right leg, too stunned to do more than laugh and exclaim over and over how I never thought he’d do it.

We pick up the balls, make notes about my hitting pattern, and I thank him for everything before I head home. His final words are, “You can definitely hit sophomore pitching.” It figures. That’s exactly where I left off 20 years prior.

*

Later, before I finally make it to bed, I grab the Big Stick, stand in front of the cardboard strike zone, and swing through numbers seven and four a few more times. My smile grows bigger with each swing as I relive the jolt and crack of contact. When I’m finally too tired for nostalgia, I limp to bed and fall asleep as my calf throbs and the last beads of sweat dry on my forehead.

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Written by seeker70

October 29, 2009 at 12:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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