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that evening.
I asked coach if it would be okay if I was to skip the second half of practice and he looked at me like I just killed his dog.

"N.B.," he said my name in a whisper, "now you know your Dad isn't gonna' be happy hearin' that you're quittin' on me."

"I aint quittin' you, Coach." I looked him in the eye. "But the second half of practice I can't be any help watchin' the guys run laps and do conditioning work." It was true. Last night when I left early I hadn't told Coach and he didn't even miss me as the boys ran laps and did sprints before hitting the showers.

"Well, I guess we can manage without you for the last half of practice," he made it sound like I was a wheel or something. "But you'll be in the dugout for every game."

The way he said it sounded like a question, so I said "Sure, Coach. I wouldn't miss it for the world."

One day soon the cast will be off and that evening I'll stay 'til after everybody leaves and start tossing slowly with Terry if I can pry him off Ms. Harriet's leg long enough to toss with me.



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