Thursday, July 28

batter up

In the same sports writing vein as my bowling post, I now continue with a short story of one-arm batting. Apparently all it takes to get the sports juices flowing is having a guy in your house for a while––in this case, an Indian guy who's never played baseball, but loves cricket. No offense to all the sporty ladies who need no such motivation.

And so last night, in the spirit of American summer fun, we went to the batting cages. It seems appropriate if I here tell you that, as a child, I was a remarkably good pitcher. We have the home video to prove it. We also have footage of me swinging a huge orange plastic bat. Incidentally, the same video shows evidence that I used to sport a white girl fro. Eventually my parents fitted me with a nice lefty glove which I still have. The orange bat is no longer with us.

But though I have warm fuzzy feelings about baseball, even if i can't stay focused enough to watch a whole game, my talent was never really nurtured, so I probably missed an opportunity to become the first female major league pitcher; with one arm no less. The closest I ever came was dating a pitcher for some time.

My good aim, however, did later come into play. When I was diagnosed with scoliosis, I was told that one of the symptoms is not being able to throw a ball accurately. When someone tells you something is wrong with your body, it's nice to be able to say, a little haughtily, "Actually, my aim has always been quite good." If I had only known I would be balancing atop a horse in the not so distant future.

However, it's been a long time since I "played," so pulling into the the parking lot of the batting cages, I was conscious of being out of my element. Asif and Opie got in the cage first, starting with the slower pitches and progressing to faster speeds. Asif even held his own at 70mph. I wasn't feeling any more comfortable. Little Gen was next, though I'm not sure if she was having more fun batting or wiggling her butt.

After some deliberation, it was decided I would try a slow baseball pitch. I entered the chain link fence, the spotlight, and waited for the first pitch. Clunk went the machine and out came the first ball...

I don't think I scored any home runs, but I actually hit most of the balls. Plunk, plunk, plunk, all jitters behind me, I started to get into confidence rising with each hit. Before I knew it, I was floating on a one-arm batter's high. I could hear the crowd. And my arm is no worse for the wear this morning, though I think I still prefer throwing the ball to having it thrown at me.

But I'll leave the major leagues for some other one-armed girl to pitch into. I'm satisfied with the occasional Sunday evening game. Asif, on the other hand, could have a new career ahead of him.

My high was only slightly deflated when a small girl passing by the bench stopped short to look at Finneas. "That sucks," she pronounced after my standard explanation. "I think it's cool," I countered. "I think it sucks," she said. When I proposed that she give my small arm a pat, she refused saying, "It's scary."

Oh well, can't win 'em all.