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May 19, 2022
Hambone All-American
I don’t know if I’ve ever been prouder of my son than when he got hit by a
fastball yesterday. He is the youngest in the 9-10 division (he’s still 8), and is not particularly gifted at baseball. Will catch the ball maybe 10% of the time. Not great form with the bat. Skinny waif of a boy, but he’s fast and he’s a great teammate. Very vocal and kind of dorky and weird and fun to have in the dugout.

Yesterday he went to the plate for the 3rd time this season against this 10-year-old slinger that was throwing fastballs clocking in the 40-50 mph range. I’ve never seen a kid at that age throw as hard as he was throwing them. So my son was up there concentrating on keeping that elbow up, spindly little legs straight as boards, zero athletic stance or presence, completely unaware that getting hit by a ball is even a possibility.

The first pitch comes in hard and dead center for a strike. My son doesn’t even flinch. The second pitch comes in and beans my son hard right in the rib cage. He took it in the ribs the same way a that a cow eating grass would have taken it. Didn’t try to move or lower his arm to deflect or anything. It just came careening in there and pelted him hard.

All of the spectators winced and groaned at the hit, and my son who, at home, takes every opportunity to cry and whine in order to get his older sisters in trouble, like, he is really a wimpy kid, leans over, grabs his side with his left hand, and continues to hold the bat in the air with his right hand. He looked like an injured bird.

He’s fighting off the tears and the ump and coach come running out to check on him. What is Dad doing? What every dad was created to do, of course. I was shouting at him from the bleachers like Paulie coaching Rocky, “Be tough, boy. You’re okay. Straighten up and take the base for your team. Be tough. You got this.”

After a few seconds of fighting the shock and tears, this wimpy little, gangly kid wipes his eyes, jogs to first base to the sound of applause, and refuses to head back to the dugout and let a sub take his spot. Tough little guy.

On the next rotation later in the game, he went out to bat again without hesitation. He has a welt the size of a pancake on his ribs, but he hasn’t complained once. I gotta be honest, he is tougher than I was at that age. I quit tee ball when people laughed after I whiffed on my first swing. I had to learn toughness at a later age. This kid has it in droves.

This is why we have youth sports. Great opportunity to build character.
This message has been modified
Originally posted on May 19, 2022 at 11:51:06am
Message modified by Hambone on May 19, 2022 at 11:54:27am
Message modified by Hambone on May 19, 2022 at 11:54:48am
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Jan 11, 2006
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