If you’re a baseball fan, you’ve likely been to a live game. And at that game, you may have also brought along a trusty friend. One that you’ve always trusted on the field, so why not in your seat? This friend hugs your hand, working in concert to execute an important task. They soften the blow, keeping all your fingers intact, sometimes quite literally taking a bullet for you.
As a child, it’s particularly exciting for this friend to attend a game with you. You hold them tight, hoping they are able to spring into action at some point to bring you what would be a prized possession. An item that could be used in the back yard, or maybe signed and put on display.
As an adult, you wonder. Should I bring my friend with me? Will others make fun of the relationship I have with my friend? Do I even care if they do? Maybe I bring them. Maybe I don’t. It depends on how much I care about what others think at that point in my life.
Regardless, when going to a game, and whether you have your friend or not, you hope that a prized possession falls your way. That possession, as you have probably guessed, is a small, stitched piece of gold known as a baseball.
You sit and you wait.
You know you’re in an area that could see some action. But you’re not sure when. Many games have come and gone without you coming away with that bit of currency. With every crack of the wood, your heart beats faster. It jumps up to your throat, only to inevitably drop down into your stomach, saddened that you’re going to come away empty handed again.
Then, just as your belief and hope was fleeing your soul, you hear it. A loud smack. Once again, your heartbeat increases. A glimmer of hope returns as your eyes catch glimpse of the beauty. Popped up high in the sky, careening in your direction. If you brought your friend, you immediately grab them, making sure they are at the ready. If not, you look down at your hands, take a deep breath, and prep for the potential pain.
As if being controlled by another being, you’re out of your seat. Without realizing it, you’ve traveled a couple rows down. A small child is at the ready. Hip check. Its parents are pissed, but you’re at the ready. The rocket is coming in for a landing. Hands raised. Contact.
You’ve done it. Finally, after all this time, you’ve handled glory. Are your hands a little sore? Sure. Red? You bet. But you finally have that mantle piece you’ve waited so long to have.
Then reality sets in.
You’re coming out of a daze, you hear yelling, and feel something tugging at the side of your shirt. A child. The parents. Your friend can’t protect you from what you’ve done. And now, a decision must be made. Was it all for naught? All that hard work?
You try to tune out all that’s going on around you. But you see the look on this child’s face. Wiping away their own tears. And your heart drops back into your stomach. You know what you have to do.
This stitched, nugget of gold is exchanged for the good graces of all these people looking at you as if you’re an actual monster. They’ll never understand. Primal instincts took over.
“Better luck next time”, you think, as you leave yet another game empty-handed.
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