"Yes, I did."
Even E.J. saw it
and stood with the rest and he was changed after that, as were the others. A
true hero has some power to make us a gift of a larger life. The Schroeders
broke up, the boys went their own ways and once they were out of earshot, E.J.
sat in the Sidetrack Tap and bragged them up, the winners he produced and how
they had showed Babe Ruth a pretty good game. He was tolerated. Babe Ruth was
revered. He did something on that one day in our town that made us feel we were
on the map of the universe, connected somehow to the stars, part of the mind of
God. The full effect of his mighty blow diminished over time, of course, and
now our teams languish, our coaches despair. Defeat comes to seem the natural
course of things. Lake Wobegon dresses for a game, they put on their
jockstraps, pull on the socks, get into the colors, they start to lose heart
and turn pale—fear shrivels them.
Boys, this game
may be your only chance to be good, he might tell them. You might screw up
everything else in your life and poison the ones who love you, create misery,
create such pain and devastation it will be repeated by generations of
descendants. Boys, there's plenty of room for tragedy in life, so if you go
bad, don't have it be said that you never did anything right. Win this