The Witness Kid Tries to Play Baseball

by wanderlustguy 11 Replies latest jw friends

  • wanderlustguy

    I was 11, coming out of the 5 th grade, my dad had just been to jail for having sex with a kid who was 14 at the time, he has been having sex with her for two years and everyone in the 1900 person town I grew up in new it.

    I remember always being the last picked for everything. I couldn’t even throw a baseball or football correctly, it always looked like I was lobbing a grenade, no accuracy, no power, nothing. The only thing I really had raw talent at was learning and drawing/painting. Up until all the crap hit the fan with my family, I made straight A’s. After that I guess I just didn’t really see the point. None of the Witnesses had anything to do with us anymore; they had cut us off after my mom left my dad…unless we were with him. But then once he was arrested the Disfellowshipped him quick, fast, and in a damn hurry.

    I don’t know now where I got the bright idea, maybe it was because there were some kids at school I kind of liked and thought it would be fun to try baseball. I had never played before, but why not right? How bad could it be? I already was the weird kid with a big nose that didn’t celebrate any holidays or say the pledge of allegiance. Already told all the kids that Santa was a big fat lie. Maybe playing baseball would make me ok.

    I remember tryouts, I had very rarely swung a bat, but boy did I wail on the ball at tryouts. Couldn’t get one by me, or I had the eye for the ones I couldn’t swing at. So I made the team, which everyone did.

    We practiced for a while, I was there every day, my mom took me even thought she really should have said no to the whole thing, it wasn’t like she had enough time with working her jobs to keep us ok. I remember my dad, one of the weekends we were visiting him and his kid girlfriend, he told me it wasn’t such a good thing to play baseball, learning to be competitive and all. But it seemed like it was going to be fun.

    Our first scrimmage game came along, I remember being so excited, because this was the bigs! I was gonna walk out there and blast the ball to kingdom come. But as I stood in the circle waiting on the batter before me, I got really nervous. There were a bunch of people here; at tryouts it was just the kids that were playing, like at school. Here it was a big deal. I could barely walk up to the batter’s box, and didn’t even know how to stand in it. Never watched it on TV, and my dad had never thrown anything towards me unless it was meant to hit me or it was a tool to work with. But I did OK I thought, not as good as the kids who had played all their life, but the first time I saw a real live home plate was at tryouts.

    Not long after that, after more practices and some more scrimmage games that for some reason I didn’t get to bat at, we got our uniforms…AWESOME! They had brand new white uniforms, it was the Cardinals, they were mostly white with little red stripes on them, and I thought they were so cool. By then I had seen a little baseball on TV and these uniforms looked a lot like those, cool! We got in line to get our uniforms and I remember being so excited, then when I got up there, they gave me my uniform, it was solid red with just blue numbers and the name across the front in blue. It seemed they didn’t have enough uniforms for the whole team so me and one other kid got the old ones. Eh, no big deal, at least I wasn’t the only one, right?

    Our first game went off without a hitch…but I never got on the field nor batted. Eh, maybe they wanted to start the season off strong or something, maybe next time. Before the next game, the other kid got his white and red uniform. Now I was “that kid”. That kid that sucked so bad he didn’t even wear the same uniform as his teammates. That season I went out on the field during a real game 3 times, and got up at bat twice, the whole season. I was only at bat in the last inning for the team, and only if we were ahead, but still it was twice. There I was, in a bright red uniform sitting on the bench in the middle of a bunch of white ones…every game. I never got to get over the fear of playing in front of the crowd because I only got to try it 3 times. No one told me anything; I was just expected to know all of this. My mom was at every game, and I only got up there twice. My dad came once to a scrimmage game. I was so glad he was there, but he never made another one.

    The worst thing, that hurt the most, was the one-day I was sick, the only day I ever missed practice or a game at all for any reason, they decided to take the team picture. Funny, they never even told me about the picture and that I should bring my uniform had I come to practice. They came by our house with the picture and asked my mom if she wanted to buy one, she asked them why would she want to do that, I wasn’t even in it.

    I hated that place, we were outcast by those who once said they loved us, and then never given the chances most other people had because of what we had been, and what our father was. My mom wasn’t seen as the person she was, and my brother and I weren’t seen as the people we were, we were always Joe’s kids, yea, Joe that went to jail for that 14 year old girl that he has shacked up in another state now.

    It feels good to be so far removed now that people only know these things if you tell them, and they are always so shocked.

    To bad I didn’t know then all that crap would serve to increase my entertainment value later…maybe I would have paid better attention.


  • damselfly

    I bet you looked adorable in your uniform, even if it was different then the other kids.

    I always look forward to your posts, never quite knowing what to expect.

    You aren't an outcast here, you are warmly in the big group circle! I notice that you reach out to a lot of posters, this makes me smile when I see your name come up.

    Big Hugs to you!! ((((((((( )))))))))))


  • Dan-O

    May he rest in peace, my old man loved baseball (and golf, and bowling, and boxing). He had been involved in all of these sports when he was younger. Of course, he was an Indians fan, having grown up in northeast Ohio. I try to not hold that against him. :-P

    At least he took the time to pitch some balls to me when I was a kid, and buy me a ball & a bat & a football & to encourage me to find that at which I could excel.

  • in a new york bethel minute
    in a new york bethel minute

    i felt for you in that story... i could see myself making faces in an emotional response in many of the parts of that short story. but it was well written and i feel bad that you have to remember a not-nice feeling


  • nilfun

    Poignant -- I could just picture that little boy trying his darndest -- you captured the feeling of a scapegoat/outcast perfectly. Thank you.

  • jgnat

    Oh the pain between those lines. Spunk. Wanderlust, you've got lots of spunk.

  • buffalosrfree

    Reminded me of a guy I knew in junior high and high school, he came out two years in a row to play football got to suit up, but never given a real chance to play, he didnt bother wasting his time in junior or senior year, and that was too bad, because we use to play what we called north of the river against south of the river, tackle, violent, no uniforms, andl he was always a star there, he went to a small college and became 2 or 3 team all american in that bracket, Here was someone who was tough, fast, and extremely talented, but because his parents weren't rich or influential, he never got the chance to show his stuff in high school. what a waste. A lot of small towns are like that, If they know you and like you or if you parents are "in," then you have it made "if not", forget it.

  • jeeprube

    I kind of feel your pain. My step dad never taught my brother and I anything about sports or being a man. It was nothing but Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah. We had to teach ourselves how to play sports, fish, camp, and the like. However I have always been very athleticly inclined. Another sore point for me, since I was never allowed to play team sports in school. I could have been a varsity starter on my high school basketball team. I used to play against the rest of the team in gym class, and whoop their ass!

  • dedpoet

    I really feel for you WLG. Reading that makes me so glad that I wasn't brought up in the jw religion, and even more glad that I got out of it.

  • schne_belly


    I know you've had a tough childhood, but seems to me it's only made you a stronger individual. Give yourself a pat on the back that you are successful and have not remainded bitter about your past experiences.

    I always enjoy reading your posts...thank you for all the time you put into them!..keep em 'coming.

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