Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Salt Lake Baseball Story

As mentioned in the last post, I was the type of kid who would ride a bike out into tornado weather to play baseball for the team!

On moving to Utah, I immediately joined a local little league baseball team.

I was tenacious and went to every practice and every game.

Nor surprisingly, I did not get to play in the first year. I was the new kid and I figured I needed to prove myself in practice.

I was a good hitter and had a strong throw. I figured if I practiced harder than the other players, I would get to play.

I spent most of practice fielding the ball. Basically I would spend practice in the outfield catching the balls that I could and running to get the other balls. I had a strong and accurate throw. At other times I would run around the bases to give the infield practice. At hitting practice, I was on par with the other players.

Anyway, toward the end of the second year my dad came to a game. I was a bit embarrassed because, in over a year and a half I had never been at bat. Since the whole team showed up for the game, I was not anticipating playing that day.

I saw my dad talking to the coach. 

My team was way ahead by the eighth inning. The coach put me in at the bottom of the line up. It was unlikely that I would get a chance at bat, but we got several runs and the score was somewhat embarrassingly high in my team's favor.

Anyway, I finally got my turn at bat.

The play was absolutely inconsequential. But, when I went to bat, the coach gave me the signal to bunt.

In two years of play, the coach had never given the signal to bunt. The coach never demonstrated the bunt in practice. He had never called a bunt in a game.

From my perspective things were awful. Since we had never practiced the bunt, I wasn't sure how to do it.

It is not as if unpopular kids were born with an innate ability to bunt and that swinging the bat was a acquired skill.

Anyway, not knowing how to bunt I went against orders and decided to swing.

The first swing was a wild foul ball to the right. The second swing I connected with the ball and it went straight down the right baseline into the bushes. I thought it was inbounds, but the umpire called it a foul.

I hit a couple more fouls before finally striking out.

Between each of my swings, the coach gave the signal to bunt.

The gods of baseball did not ascend from heaven and fill my spirit with the magic knowledge of how one is to go about bunting. So I had no choice but to swing.

I could see the coach was furious, but if you don't teach the kids how to bunt, it is not reasonable to expect that they would know how to do it.

After I struck out, I explained to the coach that he never showed us how to bunt.

So, during the next practice, the coach singled me out in front of all the other players to give me a special lesson on bunting. The lesson was clear. If I had a chance at bat in the remaining games, I would be given the signal to bunt regardless of the strategic situation.

This information was not problematic in that I knew I would never have a chance at a bat. If I continued to play the coach would actually hurt the team by calling a bunt regardless of the strategic situation. My very presence on the team was bad for the team.

The lesson exhausted my tenacity and I didn't go to any more practices or games.

Okay, my baseball story is pathetic. My baseball story just doesn't have the ring that a baseball story should.

As I look back, I realize that the coach and team were LDS. I am decidedly not. That might have been a factor. I hope that wasn't the reason the coach never played me.

Truthfully, I looked at the lack of play as a challenge to overcome.

I figure that the primary point of athletics is exercise. In my book a game in which only a few players actually play is foolish. If you don't get a cardiovascular workout at a game, then the game is a waste of time.

After the baseball fiasco, I set about looking to create a new game.

Most team, and individual sports, are centered on competition. There is not a sport for people who like to exercise and have fun.

The sport I invented is called juggleball. The fun part of juggling is coordinating tosses with other players. My sport was a game in which people would meet at a baseball diamond. They would juggle run with a ball from base to base completing tosses. Whoever was best at completing tosses with other players would win.

The game is actually about running between bases and coordinating tosses with other teams. I withdrew the requirement that people know how to juggle to play the game. (Juggling is very easy).

I called the game juggleball. I registered the names and several years ago. Unfortunately, I still in Salt Lake. Utah is run by the LDS Church which prides itself on closed minded intolerance.

It is really hard to do anything in a society that treats everyone who does not belong to the political machine as a pariah.

I love to travel. If there was any group that wanted to run a fundraiser or a person who was willing to play hard and who wanted to become an millionaire in the field of sports and recreation, they could contact me.

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