He pointed to his father, the opposing coach, who was loading equipment into a station wagon. It was a summer day, muggy, and I had the kind of sweaty grime on me that makes a child feel like a grown-up.
"Excuse me," I said. "Your son's ball wasn't a hit. It was an error. I pitched a no-hitter."
"The boy didn't touch the ball," the man said. "That makes it a hit."
"It went through his legs. He should have had it."
"That may be. But he didn't touch the ball. It's a hit. Those are the rules."
"Those aren't the rules," I said. I was near tears.
"You pitched a nice game today, son," he said. "Don't spoil it." He turned to his boy. "Let's go, Terry."
They drove off and left me standing there. What do you do with a man like that? And where is that vile score book today? I want it changed.
After my first year of college, I spent the summer in my hometown having my heart broken. The girl I loved loved someone else, and it took me all of July and August to get the message—eight weeks of mowing fairways at a local country club during the day and pleading at night.
Two evenings a week, I played ball. I'm over six feet now, but I grew late and wasn't big enough or strong enough to make my high school team. At 18, I was still growing and a little gawky. But our community had just started a league, and the teams needed players. I made one of them as a marginal outfielder when I got off a good throw from rightfield to third during tryouts.