August 03, 2009
my son, the star
Originally PUBLISHED April 24, 2004
The Oakmont field is clear over on the other side of the county (and Effingham is a BIG county). It's about a 40-minute drive from the Crackerbox. I showed up at 10:45 and saw two teams warming up on the field. But I didn't see Quinton. I searched carefully, but nobody out there resembled my boy. I finally asked both coaches if Quinton played for them and they informed me that they never heard of him.
I went back to my truck and sat for a minute. Maybe I was in the wrong place. I was CERTAIN that Quinton told me he was playing at Oakmont, but I've fucked up names and places before. If he was playing somewhere else, I never would find him. Baseball fields are as common as cowshit in Effingham County. I drove back home and called him.
"Oops," he said. "I looked at the wrong date on the schedule. We play at 1:30 this afternoon."
By then, it was past noon. I had to saddle up and drive all the way back over there to Oakmont again to catch the game. I'm glad I went.
Quinton has come a long way in one short year. Last season, the coach marooned him in right field, where he was bored out of his mind and spent more time stomping anthills and digging his underwear out of his asscrack than he did playing baseball. He also batted dead last in the order and couldn't hit for shit. He struck out swinging almost every time at bat.
This year, Quinton is playing shortstop and hitting second in the order. He went three-for-three today, with one legitimate double, two RBI and two runs scored. The little fart can PLAY now. He made a couple of good put-outs in the field and threw like a bullet to first base. Man, he's growing up fast.
He also has mastered the Major League technique writhing in agony on the ground any time he falls down. He went for a pop fly in the top of the last inning, just missed catching up to the ball and took a tumble on the edge of the outfield. Yep. He stayed down. He cried. He writhed in agony. He was gonna DIE!
The coaches and umpires ran out to check on him. He had a lot of attention there for a few minutes, until he managed to rise from the dust and trot off the field to tumultuous applause. He hurt his hand when he fell. They put him in the dugout and applied an ice-pack and he was just as happy as a clam. The hand looked okay to me, but I'll check on him later tonight.
I didn't like that pussy-act he performed (okay, okay... I KNOW he's only 10 years old, but I don't believe he would have done that if I had been there and his mama wasn't. He knows my motto: "You ain't hurt. Rub some dirt on it and GET UP!" That's my football mentality at work.) Other than that, I was very proud of the way he played today.
I guess that some of the throwing and hitting practice we did on weekends paid off. Quinton is four times the ballplayer he was at this time last year. He hustles and he's got a better arm at his age than I ever had. He can be as good as he wants to be at anything he applies himself to.
Bejus, but I miss that boy.
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