Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Baseball and Mosquitoes

Baseball and Mosquitoes

It was one of those hot dry-your-eyeballs-out kind of days and I was board.  My nine year old mind decided to go visit my friend Rebecca, who lived across town, which in reality was only about four blocks away, but to me seemed quite a distant.  Rebecca was a few years older than me.  She was a sandy-haired Alabama girl with a Southern accent, which made her a weird bird to us Nevada kids.  She was constantly putting on chap stick, because the dry Nevada air caused her lips to chap and split. We became acquainted through our mothers.  My mother was the hospital administrator who had hired her mother as a nurse.  Because of this, my mother made it my job to befriend her (or else).  My mother seemed oblivious to the fact that an eleven year old was not particularly interested in being friends with a stupid nine year old.  Rebecca seemed aloft and arrogant to me (although at the time I did not know the meaning of either of those words).  All I knew it wasn't easy to be Rebecca’s friend.  Everything had to be her way based on seniority.

When I got to Rebecca’s apartment, for once she seemed glad to see me.  “You want to go with me to watch the Ladies Softball team play?”  I knew better than to say anything but “Sure”, so off we went.  We walked the four blocks from her house to the baseball field talking about baseball.  When we got to the field the two teams were just getting ready to start their game.  The white ladies were playing against the Paiute ladies.  Suddenly, Rebecca piped up with, “Hey, can we play?”  The captain of the white ladies smiled and said, “OK, you can cover third base and your friend can go to right field.”

I was so excited.  I ran out to right field. Enthusiastically, I spread my legs and crouched down, rocking back and forth in anticipation of catching a fly ball.  Several innings passed, but all hits seemed to go to center field or left field.  Now the field was all dirt and as you got to the outfield it turned into small weeds and then into small sagebrush. As the game progressed the heat and dust became uncomfortable.  The worst was that the mosquitoes were eating me alive.  I was dressed in shorts and a sleeveless blouse so they had plenty of landing space.

As the game progressed, I became bored with the game, since I wasn't

getting any action, but very interested in slapping mosquitoes. I’m not talking about a few mosquitoes, no, I’m talking about hundreds of mosquitoes.  I was slapping and jumping in place and praying for the game to end.  I was so busy slapping mosquitoes, I didn't see the fly ball coming until it passed over my head.  Those Paiute ladies were powerful sluggers.  Everyone was yelling at me as I ran as fast as I could through the weeds and sagebrush to retrieve the ball.

By the time I caught up with the ball, the hitter had already reached home plate.  I was embarrassed I had missed the ball and so angry at the mosquitoes that I closed my eyes and threw the ball as hard as I could towards the pitcher’s mound. When I opened my eyes, the pitcher was knocked out cold, laying on the ground.  Apparently she had gotten tired of waiting for me to retrieve the ball, and had turned around towards the catcher.  My throw was right on spot and hit her dead center on top of her head.

Everyone was yelling at me and for help.  I was horrified.  I was convinced I had killed her.  At that point I walked off the field thinking “I’d better go tell  Mom I killed the pitcher.”  As I walked I kept listening for the ambulance, but I didn't hear one.  I didn't want the ambulance to reach the hospital, where my mother worked, before I did, because I wanted to tell her first.  I kept looking for the police to arrest me and ran as fast as I could.  

To my surprise there was no ambulance, no police and my mom was quite understand.  Apparently the pitcher was revived and the game was finished minus me and my damn mosquitoes.

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