Monday, July 17, 2006
A Heroic Performance
If you look back in the history of sports you will find several stories of athletes who played through injury or illness to lead their team to victory. There was Willis Reed in game seven of 1970 finals playing with a torn thigh muscle inspiring his team to victory. There was Kirk Gibson who leg was hurt so severely that he could barely walk coming in to pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth in game one of the 1988 World Series and hitting a two run homer to win the game. There was Michael Jordan scoring 38 points in game five of 1997 NBA finals with the flu. Tonight something happened that will be talked about for years, the performance of Dennis Cook in City League Softball.
Bothered by a problem in my right eye all day I considered sitting out this evening's game. After lunch my eye was bothering me so bad that I had to take out my contacts and put on a backup pair of glasses that I keep in my car. At one point in the day I could barely open my eye, as the progressed I was able to open it but my vision was a little blurry and it felt like someone was sticking it with a needle. Knowing that we were playing the feared Micro Stars who are widely considered the best team in the league, I had no choice but to play.
Wearing glasses instead of contacts for the first time in my softball career I took the field at my usual first base. Through six innings I was 2-3 with three RBI (it is RBI not RBI's because runs batted ins makes no sense). We entered the bottom of the seventh trailing 10-7. I lead off the inning with a single. The next batter got a hit and as I was running to second I felt my hamstring pop. Clutching it in pain I asked for a pinch runner. City League rules allow for the last batter out to run for you and you don't have to leave the game. We scored three runs in seventh sending it to extra innings.
Since we had no subs left, I had to take the field in the eighth. I could barely walk but I made out there and prayed that a ball was not hit in my direction. We gave up two runs in the inning so we trailed 12-10. We scored two runs tying the game up. With two outs and a runner on third I limped to the plate. I could have tried to draw a walk and because of some bizzare rule would have been able to take second and the next batter would have automatically taken first thus loading the bases. Taking a walk in slow pitch softball is just a plain wuss move. I knew if I could just get the ball into the outfield I would be able limp into first before the throw and the runner on third would score. On the first pitch I hit a hard shot to the shortstop and I took off towards first, as I hobbled down the line at about 25% of my normal speed, the shortstop rifled it to first but threw it low and the first baseman was unable to grab it (a skilled defensive first baseman like myself would have gotten it). I reached first base base safely and we scored the winning run. Final score PCFCU 13 Micro Stars 12!