I don’t hate baseball. Baseball hates me.
Don’t believe it? Read on and you’ll see.
Baseball is evil and it’s trying to kill me.
I was 5 years old. My cousin and I were playing with our Tonka trucks in a small sandpit behind the backstop during a game of baseball. Suddenly everyone was screaming. A foul ball went flying over the backstop and was about to land in the sandpit. The ball hit me in the face, just below my left eye.
A year later my parents put me in T-ball. I was hesitant. I didn’t want to admit I was afraid of the ball. The pace of the game was slow and the ball was soft. Soon my confidence rose and I started to enjoy the game. The next year I was old enough for softball or baseball. I chose softball, obviously. I liked softball until I was teased at school for playing a girl sport. The next year I enrolled in baseball. Big mistake.
After a few practices it was evident to my coach and teammates, I sucked at baseball. After a groundball popped up and hit me in the mouth, my fear of the ball came racing back. When you’re afraid of the ball, you avoid the ball. I’d pretend to try to catch it, making it look like I sucked at catching, but I was really just too afraid to get in front of it. Batting was no better. I couldn’t hit a pitch. The ball was too small and too fast. I spent the first half of the very short season on the bench.
My first time at bat I got hit by a pitch. It hurt. A lot. Every time at bat after that I stood there and cringed as the ball whipped past me, hoping to be walked. The odd time I worked up the courage to step in and swing, I’d hopelessly strike out. The coach shouted, “This isn’t golf, Hudyma!” The one time I actually made contact, it was a foul ball, of course. All I knew was I hit the ball so I ran like hell. Everyone laughed. They weren’t laughing because I hit a foul; they were laughing because I’m probably the worst runner in the world. I look like C3PO fleeing.
When the coach finally let me hit the field, he sent me to Right Field, the position for losers. I played 4 games without having to touch the ball. When I finally got some action, I misjudged the ball and it hit me right in the face, just below my left eye. I spent the rest of the season on the bench and I’ve never played a game since.
The Toronto Blue Jays made history in 1992 when they won the World Series. It was the first time the World Series was held outside the United States and when the Jays won, it was the first time the championship was won by a Canadian team. After the victory, people rushed into the streets of every downtown of every city in Canada. In most places the partying got out of control, and the authorities had to intervene. The following year, the Jays were set to win again.
The night of the game, a friend and I decided to split a bottle of Wild Turkey. We didn’t set out to finish the entire bottle, but that’s what happened. That night, the Jays won again. Like the previous year, people started flooding the streets. This time the police were prepared.
My buddy and I rushed out into the crowd to join in the celebration. Within moments police surrounded us and started rolling tear gas bombs into the crowd. Of the thousands of people in the crowd, a canister stopped right in front of me. In a baseball celebration crowd. Baseball. Me. Coincidence? I think not. Once again baseball was trying to kill me. Within minutes I was on my hands and knees, blinded and coughing violently. Soon I began vomiting uncontrollably. I slowly crawled out of the crowd until I reached the sidewalk. My buddy showed up moments later and we headed home. Wasn’t that a party?
Even if I get free tickets to a professional baseball game. I’m not going. Who knows what would happen?
Feature Photo credit: theseanster93 / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)