Saturday, June 17, 2006


Thursday we played our sixth game of the season after going 5-0 for the previous five. Three years ago I volunteered to become pitcher. I figured that I'm fairly good at skill sports like bowling or darts and this is a position I could have fun with. I have gotten better over the years to the point that I now have pretty good control.

But at the beginning there was one aspect of that position that really scared me. First, you are the closest person to the batter. And second, you are in a follow through motion when they hit the ball. You are very vulnerable since you have a shorter time to react and you are usually not in the best fielding position. That first season I had a few balls hit almost directly back at me that really spooked me. I started to make sure to be ready as soon as the pitch was thrown. That affected my control, so I tried to limit how soon I would change my stance. And during many games, I would get so tired by the end that I would concentrate only on throwing the ball.

By the second season, I had overcome that initial fear and actually got fairly good on the fielding front. Any line drive ball that was in arms reach I was able to snag. That included three screamers coming directly for my head.

So Thursday was a close game. It was nearing the end and the opposing team was up to bat. We needed to keep them from scoring and they needed to score. One of their two biggest guys was up with one out. I got behind in the count and needed to be sure to throw him a strike. My aim was too good and it was right in the center. He must have seen this and was thinking home run. Unfortunately, he didn't get any lift on the ball. The result was the fastest liner I have ever seen screaming directly for yours truly. I was a bit off balance from delivering the pitch and it was so fast I could make no evasion to avoid it. In fact, I wasn't even able to turn my body for a glancing blow.

The ball squarely impacted halfway between my belly button and my left side. I absorbed the blow so completely that the ball just dropped and rolled a few feet. I remember a glimpse of the ball halfway between home plate and myself, then this muffled thud as it hit me. The outfielders later told me they heard it too. Amazingly the pain was intense and stung like all get out, but it wasn't a 'wailing in pain' kind of hurt. Also, I don't know how I avoided it, but I did not get the wind knocked out of me. I just dropped to my knees for a minute to wait for some of the pain to go away, then got up and walked around a bit.

I had no trouble playing the remainder of the game. My knees and feet were actually the parts I was having difficulty with. It was tender to the touch, but it didn't hurt to make movements like twisting, running, or bending over. I put some ice on it during the game. I got home and there was some minor discoloration. The following morning there was a hint of purple, but nothing major. It was still tender all during the day.

But when I got home, it looked like this. It's one of those 'looks worse than it really is', but it sure looks gross. I'm wondering if the red will advance further up. One thing that concerns me now is whether some sort of permanent mark is left behind. Not like an imprint, but an area of discoloration. My skin is very light, so any color will really pop out.

So there's my little war story. Hopefully I didn't gross you out. I'm actually a bit proud that my body stood up to a blow like that. Though I don't think I'll join any fight clubs soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i was once beaned by a pitch while playing little league--and it so rattled me that my promising career was over....