Monday, August 24, 1998

The Sad Story of Susie Q

This past week was a bit more eventful and stressful than usual. In the end the image that will remain is having my Quién Mas Sabé wave good-bye to me with her toes. Quite impressive I must say. Because that is the lasting image, and one that caused me to smile, I think I must report my mental state is a bit stronger than it has been in the past. I'm just a little sore from it all.

The week began on a positive note with my softball team's successful appearance in the state's tournament held annually at the fields by Lake Phalen. I've been playing on this team for the past seven years. The first few seasons we seldom won any of our games. Last year we finished second in the tournament. This year we had the best record in the league. Thus it was a tad disappointing when we fell apart in the final inning of our first game of the tournament. Ahead by seven runs we played our poorest inning of the season and lost. It was a double elimination tournament meaning we had put ourselves in a rather large hole. We couldn't lose another game or else we would be eliminated. It was a rather dismal beginning to a tournament that we felt we legitimately could win.

We won our second game on Saturday afternoon and thus had to play the next morning at 10:00 a.m. Early Sunday morning thunderstorms rolled through the area and whether or not the tournament would continue was in question. The skies looked rather dreary during our first game and a few drops of rain fell upon us. We won a close game and blew away our opposition in the second game. In the third game we were playing a team that has always given us trouble, a team that has the best hitter in the league on its roster. By that time it was around noon, hot and humid and we were all rather tired. But we played surprisingly well and continued on.

By winning our fourth game that day we now were in a semi-decent position to win the tournament. We were playing the last undefeated team, meaning we would have to beat them twice to be champions. We were playing well as a team so I knew our chances were good. We were in the opposite role as we were in last year's tournament where we were the last undefeated team and lost twice to a team that clearly was better than us.

The key moment in our fifth game came in the fifth inning when we were behind by four runs and the opposing team was threatening to blow the game open. There was one out with runners on second and third. Their team's best hitter lofted a fly ball out to me in right field. The wind was blowing away from me and I took an initial wrong angle on the fly ball. I realized it was over my head so I darted back as fast as I could. At the last instant I reached my glove back as far as I could and barely snared the ball. The catch caught the umpire by surprise and she allowed both runners to score without tagging up but it also gave us momentum. We had reached a point in the game where every out recorded was important..

By the championship game we were clearly feeling it was ours' to lose. The other team seemed even more worn out than us even though we had played two more games that day than they had. Personally my legs, the key to my game, were long gone. I was hitting popups all afternoon. Tired, sweaty, and dehydrated, it had become a matter of endurance for us all. But we managed to play an outstanding championship game defensively, and scored enough to win. It was a day none of us will ever forget.

In the middle of the week I was at my desk when a young woman appeared at our counter. She looked familiar although I knew I had never seen her before. But I knew right away who she was. She looked too much like her mother to disguise the fact. It was the daughter of the woman I admire most at work. About a year ago the daughter was in a serious car accident from which she suffered head injuries and was in a coma for several weeks. That she looked so healthy and full of life was a comforting sight. After speaking with her mother she left and the mother turned to me with a smile. I asked her how her daughter was doing. "She's doing well," mother beamed proudly. "I used to say she was 15 going on 21, now I say she's 15 going on 13. I guess that isn't entirely bad," she said equal parts proud and with her typical humor.

The week concluded with me walking away from my job and now facing the difficulty of finding another. The psyche was a bit shaken. But after a wonderful dinner with one who after a similar stressful situation has come out with deserved opportunities and has returned to herself (a wonderful sight for sore eyes) I know that things will somehow work out. They somehow always do if you keep what is important in mind.

No comments: