Rule Eight: Don't Love What You Do; Do What You Love

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Rule Eight: Don't Love What You Do; Do What You Love

It didn’t occur to me that I should enjoy the homerun, like one of those thick and gooey Turtle Sundays from Culver’s—the probability that it would happen again this season was severely unlikely. But I wasn’t thinking of that then, I was thinking ‘Holy shit! Holy fucking God!’

The second basemen stood an uncomfortable distance from the base, as if he couldn’t make his mind up whether to chase after their right fielder or leave him to fend for himself; centerfield had already taken off at a gallop and was overtaking righty rapidly. They were still too far off from my ball to even pierce a hole of anxiety in my shell of pride. 

My foot stamped loudly on the plate, though the rain had done its best to sop the field; a layer of gravel still ticked my heels and spit wildly. Zooming past shortstop, I shot through third—I was running faster than I’d ever run in my life. The air whooshed past my ears and the helmet rattled back and forth on my head. ‘There, damn it. You’re nearly there’, the moments before I flew over home seemed like forever, but the second I hit it everything fast forwarded and time came back to me in a rush.

The crowd howled; I could pick voices out of it. Gramps yelling “Wowza Arts! God Damn!” Grams hooting, “that’s my boy. That’s my boy!” And lastly, Liz’s drowning roar that put half the bleachers to shame.

There is no feeling in the world that comes close to the level of satisfaction I felt at that moment. Coach gripped his clipboard (only out of needing some sort of stability) and his entire arm was shaking, the color had drained from his face and his expression was completely unreadable. The team didn’t need to be told twice. I was slapped on the back so many times it hurt and my head rung from everyone who rattled my cap in glee.

“You did it!” I think that was Matt, but everyone’s voices layered on top of each other so thickly, deciphering it was unfeasible. They knew that this was something big for me—even before I’d broken my wrist, I had only had one good slammer every once in awhile. My batting position had been seven; the typical pitching position, meant for the players that leaned on luck rather than skill with their batting average. I’d never hit a moonshot. Until now that is.

“You were absolutely brilliant!” Chevy sincerely believed he had a British accent—everyone on the team knew he was from Canada, so I don’t know why he tried so hard.

“Fuckin’ hell Man, I thought I was fuckin’ dreaming!” Henry proudly pulled Chevy away from me and shook him so hard that he stumbled over the bench.

“Hey, coach! I think Heart just proved himself, let southpaw pitch!”

Coach was distressed more than my head. “I call the shots Winston, now shut your arse hole up. This inning ain’t over boys and unless we got another miracle, we’re as good as sunk.” He never appreciated the little things—the glory points that got us nothing but a spitfire of desire between our balls, did little to warm his. The score was 2-8, so unless we got a couple more flyers we were going the long way home.

He pressed the clip region of his clipboard and flipped the sheet of paper on it over. “Knot’s up. He’s gonna get us out.” The boo from the crowd mirrored his words and Pete Knot slunk back to the dugout, avoiding our eyes and tossing his bat disdainfully on top of his bag. Coach looked up and his glare shuddered through me. “Heart. You give them one point and you’re on the fuckin’ bench for the rest of the game.”

The team went silent instantly, the hungry happiness evaporated, but hope still clung to them; I could see it in the shadows of their hats and the way they shuffled to put their mitts on. Coach had a way with preempting premature celebration.

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