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I think it was sometime during high school that something broke.
I remember it fairly clearly; it was spring in Fairport, a little suburb of Rochester, NY, and it was still chilly and muddy outside. In P.E. class, softball was up on the menu of Fun Things For Kids To Do, so out we trooped into the cold muck, to the small diamond up on the edge of campus. Coach Jacobi must have been feeling feisty that day, and made a big show of throwing fast balls to the kids who yelled and mocked when someone came up to bat, and pitching fair to those who just went up and took a swing. It was a meduim-small class, so I got up there a good number of times, between jogging back and forth from the line at the batter's cage and the damp outfield, where I could do the least damage. Bad depth perception or something, I guess.
A bit more than halfway through the game, there I was again, hanging on to this unfamiliar piece of lumber, just waiting to get a single or a foul or whatever, just get it over with and get back in line. I looked over at first base, the kid there was in the class above or below me, I don't remember, but tall, on the swim team, or basketball, or something. Sort of a prick. Coach pitched me a good ball, and I cracked it straight down, and straight down the middle, right up to the mound, where he bent over and scooped it up almost before my bat hit the ground.
I started off towards first base. Slowly. I looked over at the pitcher's mound; Coach had the ball in hand, waiting for me to approach the base before he easily threw me out, as I'd seen him do to a dozen other kids that afternoon. "Run!" he yelled, and swept his arm, motioning towards the base. I stopped. People started hollering a bit more. The kid on first: "Come on!" Everyone else, my team, the other team: "Run! Come on! RUN! GO!" I walked about halfway, close enough for the agitated first baseman to hear me when I spoke loudly, "It doesn't matter..." Then I turned around, and went back to the line behind the cage.
Why run, if it doesn't matter? Why make an ass out of yourself trying, when you've already lost?
The locker room was not a friendly place after that game. Everyone was furious that I didn't play their little game right. I was amazed at how offended people got when you didn't make a production out of making a valiant effort towards a futile end. Well, let 'em be furious. I'm not playing that game any more. I think I skipped most of my P.E. classes after that. I'd gone to enough so that I could just get a passing grade, even if I never showed up again.
I just got tired of running, when it didn't matter.(March 05, 2003 10:38 AM)