I watch from the dugout, fascinated. What a strange game this is, I'm thinking, that lets you do this to a man.
Powell stares at the ump, unmoving.
The ump calls the game, and we go home.
In November of last year, my meniscus tears on a three-point shot at the noon game at Barat College. A click, and there is that funny pain. You know, you just know. One of the Bears' team doctors, Gordon Nuber, scopes me before Thanksgiving. Fast, easy, and the knee feels O.K. 36 hours later. But that's all it feels today—O.K. It swells all the time, and I can't hoop with the old gang. In the old days the sawbones used to I say you don't need cartilage. Sure. And to think I hate, and have always hated, three-point shots.
Z was offered jersey number 34 for the heavyweight league, but he said no and took 33. "Thirty-four's Walter Payton's number," he told me when I asked why. "He was too good."
Why did Lauren and Cary become accomplished swimmers? Z, too. Even Robin, before she quit swimming for socializing. Because we were down in Key West for Thanksgiving vacation, 17 years ago, two of the kids not even born, and there was a tiny swimming pool in the back deck of the house we'd rented on Elizabeth Street. The pool was maybe 20 feet long by 10 feet wide, a nightlife lounging tub, really, with hibiscus and bougainvillaea all about, and Judy had just opened the double French doors to the deck, and Cary walked over to the pool and tried to step, in her little pink Velcro-strapped sneakers, onto the surface of the water. She sank instantly, and I jumped in fully clad and pulled her out. My heart was beating wildly. I had never felt this way.
Lauren and Cary took swimming lessons soon after at a community pool in the suburb north of ours. They were facile in the water, and the next thing I knew, they had racing suits and goggles and were entered in some summer meets, and one thing led to another. I remember Lauren winning a race, her front teeth still not all the way in, and her smiling in wonderment and confusion. Why did adults care so much? Why was her dad misty-eyed?
I remember later in that Thanksgiving trip sitting right next to three-year-old Cary, now in her tiny suit and inflated arm bands, and how she was crouched on the side of the pool, at the deeper end, splashing water with one hand toward the shallow end. What was she doing? She put her face very close to mine, as she did when serious.
"I want the blue water to go down there," she said.
Z and four of his buddies are cutting through the fence behind our house to watch the Division III Lake Forest College football team play a game on its home field. "Who are they playing?" asks Alex.