Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Spoiler

In May of the fourth grade we moved about 4 or 5 blocks to the other side of school. We moved next door to the Reuhlmanns. Margie was in my class, Peter was in Mary's so we already knew the family a bit. After we moved to Philly, Mr. Reuhlmann was elected mayor of Cincinnati, back when it was an position of honor in the pre-Springer days. Peter was a year ahead of me in school and we played together that summer a lot.
It was my first year of Little League and because I was pretty big and had a decent if not awesome arm, my coach taught me how to pitch. I was pretty decent as I had some modicum of control and I could drop down and throw sidearm to give a different look to the batter.
We started out the season pretty badly at 1-4 before we started to gel. We had gotten our record up to 4-5 and had the last game of the season against Peter's team. They were in first place and would clinch the title if they won. They beat us pretty soundly the first time we played. Normally we played on Sunday morning but this game was in the evening during the week for some reason. School was out by then and I thought about the game all day long. Peter and I did some trash talking but I felt like he had upper hand in that department since they were such a good team. I was quite edgy but come game time, I had just the right mix of adrenalin and composure. Once I got out of the first inning without much damage, I was really confident that I could beat them. We ended up winning 3-2, which was a low score for that level of play. I pitched the absolute best that I could and have never experienced such a high athletically since (not that I had any sort of athletic career).
Peter's family hosted a cookout for his team that night that they had figured was going to be their pennant celebration. Peter came over and invited me to join but I refused to go. I felt like I would have shown disloyalty to my team if I attended another team's party. (Go figure) I also felt very sad for their team, and felt kind of guilty for ruining their fun. I remember laying on my bed listening to the fun outside with all sorts of mixed feelings.
But boy, I was proud of how I pitched.

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