Take Your Base

Calvin got beaned.

Right in the head.

With a baseball.

Thrown by an over zealous eight year old, so you know it wasn't going that fast, but still, right in the head.


That was the sound the overly zealously thrown baseball made as it beaned Calvin right in the head.

"That's why they wear helmets." One of the other parents said.

But I wasn't listening.

I was dissecting every little nuance of Calvin's reaction. I watched how the bat immediately dropped from his hands. I watched as his spine straightened and his shoulders rose up to his ears. I watched as he paused for a split second and then spun around and looked for me out on the bleachers.

"Dafuq just happened?" his face seemed to say as his eyes caught mine.

I held my breath.

The coach skipped over from third base.

We all held our collective breaths. You could cut the trepidation with a knife.

And then . . .

. . . nothing happened.

Calvin reached down, picked up his bat, and settled right back in the box.

"No, No dude." said the coach as he reached the batter's box. "Take your base."

"But I wanna hit." Calvin said in his whispiest doll-like soprano.

"Sorry buddy, you got hit. Take your base." said the coach as he ushered Calvin out of the box and down the first base line. "Them's the rules."

So Calvin plodded down the base line, until he got about half the distance to the bag and realized he was now gonna be on base and then galloped the rest of the way to first.

And we all breathed out.

Or at least I did.

Because I remember what it felt like getting hit with a baseball. And I remember that for the rest of the season I would cry like a little baby when it was my turn at the plate, and I would stand so far out of the box that the pitcher would only have to get the ball over the plate three times for me to strike out.

I would never play a second season of baseball. That was it for me. One hit and I was done.

Yet my own boy, a boy, need I remind you, that ran in fear of butterflies and motorcycle noises and warning labels, a boy that was afraid of water, and fire, the possibility of the world exploding, my boy gets hit right in the head and it only phases him long enough to bend over and pick up his bat.

This day, and there aren't very many of them, this day gets to go in the "Win" column.

So much of our lives are spent in the dugout among the dust and the grit and the empty sunflower seeds, cheering on our friends and telling dirty jokes to the guy next to us.

So much of our lives are spent in right field, doing our best to stay attentive and secretly hoping the ball never comes our way.

But sometimes we're at bat. Sometimes the ball is good and we miss. Sometimes the ball is bad and we don't bother swinging. Sometimes the ball is bad and we can't help it, we gotta swing, and sometimes the ball is good and a connection is made and for a split second, everything is infinitely possible.

And sometimes,

we get beaned in the head.

In life, however, we have two choices.

You either run out of the box crying, and vow never to swing again, like I did.

Or you pick up your bat and you dig in, like my boy did.

But not in baseball.

In baseball, if you get beaned in the head, you take your base.

Them's the rules.

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