Catch That Ball, Vinnie!

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Can Vinnie help his team win the championship?

Submitted: June 18, 2017

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Submitted: June 18, 2017

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The following took place at El Roble Junior High School in Claremont, California in the mid-1970s. Mr. Flora’s eighth-grade boys’ physical education classes had been broken into softball teams, and for the last few weeks, the teams had played each other.

Then came the championship game.  The two best teams battled it out, while the rest of the boys watched.  Early in the game, a fly ball headed into the outfield toward Vinnie.  As the ball flew through the air, two of Vinnie’s teammates, Geoff and Rusty, began to shout, “Catch that ball, Vinnie!”  “You better catch the ball or I’ll kick your ass!”  Vinnie, who had earned a reputation for botching plays, had reason to fear Geoff and Rusty.  They were two of biggest and strongest boys in the whole school (a few years later they would be stars on Claremont High School’s football team).  Vinnie nervously ran to meet the ball.  As he raised his hand, the ball hit the center of his glove and popped out.  While the runners ran around the bases, Geoff and Rusty cried in disgust, “Oh man, Vinnie!”  “Oh man!!”

Not surprisingly, a similar situation developed a couple innings later.  More threats, a more nervous Vinnie, another error, and the same cries of anger and frustration afterwards. 

Fortunately for Vinnie, his team was an offensive powerhouse; by the final inning, they were leading the game.  All they had to do was get three more outs, and the championship was theirs.  In their final at bats, the opposing team scored some runs and made the game close.  With two outs and runners on base, a fly ball once again headed toward Vinnie.  As Vinnie ran to catch the ball, the usual threats came, this time with more emotion and intensity than ever.  Vinnie trembled as he prepared for the catch.  The ball gently fell into his glove—and it stayed there. “Vinnie!” “Vinnie!!” “Yea!”

As Geoff, Rusty, and the rest of the team celebrated, Vinnie collapsed in relief, knowing that he would live to see another day.

 

Kzam lived in Claremont for most of the 1970s.


© Copyright 2017 Kzam. All rights reserved.

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