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Thanks Dad! (standard:drama, 1843 words)
Author: SfbaywriterAdded: Feb 15 2002Views/Reads: 1753/1132Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A story of a boy and his father. Thanks Dad!

Imagine the emotions Billy Schwartz felt standing next to the dugout,
scrutinizing the young players on the field. They resembled a group of 
young Greek gods, graceful, strong and determined to Billy. It was a 
warm and sunny August morning and the scent of freshly mowed grass 
filled the air. The sky was cloudless. Billy watched the young studs 
before him stretch and warm up. Each one wearing a clean white uniform 
with the name of their school or city league team, clean socks, and 
what appeared to be new shoes, while Billy stood on the side wearing 
his denim cutoffs and a white T-shirt. One would think Billy might of 
felt some self-doubt or insecurity observing this dissidence, but he 
did not. Billy knew he was good and his initial assessment of his 
competitors gave him more of a reason to feel confident. While there 
was no question there was talent on the field, no one appeared as 
talented as Billy felt he was. Feeling self-assured and thinking of his 
dad, he walked onto the field and signed in. 

The previous night, Billy was apprehensive and incapable of sleep. All
he could envision was the tryout. All night long, he continually 
visualized each phase he successfully needed to execute. His fielding 
was flawless, each ball fielded cleanly and throw on target. He hit to 
all fields, spraying the balls around in baseball lingo. He threw 
strike after strike with his fastball. His sinker dropped as if it 
plummeted off the end of a table. His curves broke hard and down. He 
watched as he walked off the field, scouts desperately attempting to 
persuade him to sign a contract. Despite these images and the 
confidence they inspired in him, he knew in reality, the odds were 
against him. 

Billy had planned for this day continually, for as long as he could
remember. While his friends shifted their allegiances from baseball in 
the spring, to soccer in the fall, basketball or football in the 
winter, he lived and breathed baseball. In the winter, if the weather 
was unsettled, he would stand in front of his mirror for hours, 
repeating his wind up, over and over.  Looking intently for ways to 
modify his windup so he could hide the ball from the batters longer.  
He knew the best hitters could determine the type of pitch approaching 
by the rotation of the ball. So the longer he could hide the ball, the 
trickier it would to pick up the rotation. While performing this 
ritual, he always imagined he had been summoned from the bullpen to 
save the last game of the World Series. The bases were loaded, no outs, 
the middle of the order coming to bat. He would hear the fans boo as he 
entered the field from the visitor's bullpen. The stadium full of 
screaming fans, rising from the field level up towards the sky.  At 
times, he would save the game by striking out the side. Other times, he 
would induce 2 ground balls, one turned into a double play, the other a 
force. Each time, no matter the detail, the game was secured and he was 
carried off the field, a hero. 

He dressed and brushed his teeth. Standing in front of his mirror,
delivering another fastball to the helpless invisible batter over and 
over. "No one can hit me today," he said to himself as he walked 
downstairs for breakfast. He knew his dad would be downstairs, waiting. 
His dad always found the right words to encourage him and had had 
always been Billy's most ardent and passionate supporter. Spending 
hours of time explaining the intricacies of throwing a baseball. The 
finger positions, release points, weight movement, and the other 
details one needs to master in order to have a chance of making a 
living playing a boys game. His dad, always making time to help Billy, 
but also making it clear Billy needed to practice on his own often. His 
dad would do anything to help Billy out, as long as Billy dedicated 
himself as well. 

It took awhile for Billy to fully appreciate his dad. When he younger,
Billy had always resented how his dad was never around for holidays or 
how often he had been unable to attend school events like his friends' 
dads did.  Even though his dad had always made time to share his 
knowledge of baseball, play catch, or take Billy to major league games, 
somehow it had not been enough. When he was younger, It seemed dad 
always put work before the family. Walking down the stairs and into the 
family room, Billy paused as he passed the sliding glass door. He 
recalled the day his mom and he had the talk, as he referred to it. One 
day when Billy was 8, he complained to his mom after his dad missed 
another event. Billy made some comment about how dad did not care 
enough to make time for him. 

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