The roar of the crowd. The anticipation of a game-changing play. The elation of victory. These were all things I knew nothing about after a truncated and disconsolate career in the game of baseball, a career which drove me to a Big League Chew addiction and left my batting average at just a notch below my weight, or IQ, depending on whether I was in a slump or not.
Baseball memories are always ingrained in young athletes. I meant that figuratively, by the way, not like the time I fielded a line drive off my jaw. The reward for that was no solid food for several weeks and, to this day, persistent questions of why I have a faded Rawlings tattoo in close proximity to my right ear.
Like any other uncoordinated urchin, I, too, remember the first time I tried to make an eye-popping catch only to land in an uncoordinated flop, missing the ball by no less than 5 feet and soon realizing that batting practice foul balls don’t count as outs once the game starts. And, yes, everyone remembers their initial time getting to first base, as well as the first time it happens in a game (a hit, that is). Of course, for me, I accomplished both after getting beaned in the head with a piece of cowhide.
Little League Baseball is an important part in a child’s life. (I copied and pasted that from some website, FYI.) The motto of the organization is courage, character, and loyalty. I presumably have stumbled upon the reason why I never flourished at this level. Where else would one expect such a spectacle to be staged but in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, a 30,000-person town once known as “The Lumber Capital of the World,” presumably because of its liveliness. Adding to the town’s pizzazz is its wet/dry vacuum and wire rope manufacturing industries, and it being one of the largest destinations for Bavarian tourists in Pennsylvania.