I was playing softball with by church league team when I remembered an incident from my childhood that I had buried somewhere in a corner of my mind. I see it all now as if Im standing just to the left of the entire scene. I was a kid playing catcher in a league that used a pitching machine. I was too old to be hitting off a tee but too young to handle a pitcher. Our little arms just didnt have the strength and accuracy to get a ball across the plate. We still had a pitcher but he just hung out on the pitcher's mound next to the pitching machine. The machine always threw strikes but it couldnt stop me from distrusting it when I stepped into that batters box. I had a bit of a phobia. Things changed, however, on defense. I had the easiest job. I was the catcher squatting behind the plate. I knew where the ball was going each time; right across the plate. I'd catch it on strikes and just watch it sail off when the batter got a hold of it. On one particular occasion neither happened. This is a little embarrassing, but funny. I dont remember how it affected me then and maybe thats why I really didnt remember it until recently.
I remember the batter swung and missed. I must have lost focus because I missed it too. Now boys require and extra piece of equipment. A ball and bat aren't the only things boys take to the ball field. It is just an odd coincidence that the need for a jock and cup coincides with a boys awareness of modesty. Its a touchy subject eventhough we'd joke about it in locker rooms. That ball I missed hit my cup center mast and the percussion of it reverberated audibly like a kettle drum. The cup did its job as is was designed to do; maybe it did it too well. The ball ricocheted back from between my legs and back to the pitcher even before the sound was out of my ears.
I dont remember my reaction much less anyone elses. I wonder if I'd laugh now. For that matter, I wonder if I laughed then. I think it's funny and I think about it now everytime I see a catcher.