Thursday, September 22, 2016
I'm Pitching Today
I'm pitching today. I'm sure of it. I'm not too worried, even though I haven't pitched a game for more than fifty years. I pitched some in high school--when I wasn't catching (no, not at the same time!)--and I had a pretty decent curve ball, a "fast"ball I tried to keep out of the strike zone.
Once, when our Hiram High Huskies were playing a game down at the Hiram College field (of dreams), I allowed one to go right down the middle of the plate, and the Crestwood HS batter, Mike Cusak, hit it to dead center field, about a mile away. I didn't watch the ball. I watched our center fielder, Andy Krauss, who glided to the ball ... approaching the fence ... caught it! Andy was a good one.
After the inning was over, I strolled back to the bench as if I'd done something awesome. And feeling the greatest relief a human being can feel. I mean, Mike hit that ball a ton.
I don't know how I know I'm pitching today. But I do. I'm not even sure for whom I'm pitching . I don't seem to have a uniform. Do I have a mitt? I must have. Somewhere.
As I approach the diamond--which I both do and do not recognize--I see gathered there many players from throughout my boyhood--Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio. I call them by name. (I cannot remember a single one now.) They smile and greet me, as well.
I am loosening up a bit by throwing shadow pitches--"throwing" with no ball in my hand. I'm a bit stiff. But I should be okay. Shouldn't I?
I remember getting a sore arm for the first time when I was a senior at Hiram High School. It was a cool, wet spring. And my throwing arm hurt. My girlfriend rubbed some greasy stuff on it (was it Bengay? or that stuff my dad used to call "goose grease"?). It burned a little--but seemed to work. I remember thinking I can't possibly be hurt ... I'm Dan Dyer!
The game hasn't started. I still don't know where I am.
And then I do.
In my own bed. About 3 o'clock in the morning. I've been playing in the field of dreams.