opening day. Practice wasn't anything like what I thought it would be. It might have been different if I was actually playing and not just sitting on the bench and running down flyball fouls that went hard left of third base into Mrs. Jacobs' yard.
Every pitch to each guy at bat made me shift my weight from my right to my left, and for the first few swings of the first batter I even moved my arm like I was swinging until the heavy cast pulled me around in a circle and I almost fell. Nobody saw me except for coach, and he was too busy yelling at how everybody was slow and had lazy eyes and lead-filled legs to worry about me practicing learning to fall.
I guess I thought practice would be harder. Dad made me work so much more on catching and throwing than coach made the team work, and nobody once, not even coach, told those guys to keep their heads down on grounders the way Dad would tell me a hundred times in a row even if I was keeping my head down and my eyes on the ball.
"Keep your head down," I yelled to Steve at third base after the third short hop grounder in a row rolled right past him. Steve's two years older than me and about a foot taller, so it must be hard for him to get his big stringy arms all the way down to his feet, or he's just lazy.
He looked at me like he wanted to kill me but then he kept his head down on the next one, caught it and blew the throw over to first by a mile, and I had to chase it about ten miles into the cornfield at Hurley Reubendahl's dairy farm which sits right next to our school smelling like cow crap, especially in spring.