Home Rush

Home Rush - Photo by Tim Gouw
Photo by Tim Gouw

The year is 2003 and I’m standing under a blue sky and a warm sun. It is bright enough to warrant a cap to keep the sunlight out of my eyes, and just warm enough to warrant having a water bottle handy.

To my left there is a green field carved with areas of brown dirt. There are 8 people on this field and they are waiting for something. They are waiting for me. In front of me is a chain fence that extended far to the right of me, forming a corner. The people behind this fence are seated on bleachers, enjoying the sun, eating snacks and occasionally screaming out in competition and joy. It’s for me, some of them for and others against. To my immediate right is a man dressed in metal armour with leather flaps and he is kneeling, with another taller man behind him hunched over dressed somewhat the same, but older.

The cap I had been wearing is now replaced with a helmet that only protects my left ear. The object in my hand didn’t feel heavy, but it isn’t easy to move around either. I’m nervous, but I’m also ready. I can only do what I can only do, right?

1 of the 8 people to my left suddenly stood up straight, cupping a white ball into a large fingerless leather glove he is wearing. Suddenly everything becomes clear and I see everything at once instead of one at a time. I am on a diamond field, the object in my hand is a metal round bat that I bring up and over my shoulder to the right in a ready position. My right foot tenses up onto its ball allowing the spikes under my shoes to dig in to the dirt, so as to twist my toes into the ground and have it become spring loaded and ready.

My whole upper body is tense. The man who is now standing straight begins his motion to throw the white ball. He pitches. It comes towards me fast. But time seems to dance for a small moment and I can see this ball coming towards me clearly spiralling in a counter-clockwise direction. Hands become fists around this metal object. Forearms tensed to stone and becomes a part of this object. I swing to the left, and I swing hard all the while watching this white ball reach just in front of me.

Sweet spot. I don’t even feel a thing. Zero vibration. The sound it makes, might as well be a weapon firing. The white ball? A projectile soaring through the air. During this small moment as the bat comes to a rest to my left pointing toward ground, I forget what the rules are as to what is supposed to happen next. This ball is just flying and is still gaining altitude.

Time stops dancing and returns to normal. Something begins to overtake my body. It feels as though I’m being hit with a large body of water, but from behind so as to propel me forward. There is a rising heat that is beginning from my heels and climbing up my calves. There is a pulse of gravity in the center of my chest projecting outwards to my arms. All of this at once, in under half a second.

I break into a full sprint headed for first base. I’m not able to reach that first base before everyone realises the ball has been knocked out of the park, beyond the boundary of the diamond field we are playing on. My sprint becomes a job. Not a slow job so as to take my time, but not a full sprint as me reaching a base safely no longer matters. 2nd base. 3rd base. Home.

It isn’t until I reach home and step on that plate that it fully begins to dawn on me as to what just happened. The world seems to be pulsing closer and further away in my vision timed perfectly to my heartbeat. I can barely hear the people who at this point are only cheering for me. Supporters who travelled with us to the ‘away game’ along with my team mates behind the fence which served also as a makeshift dugout.

I can’t feel anything. Because I can feel everything. Every drop of blood still attempting to surge through me even though there is no longer a need. There is nowhere else for it to go. So my hands begin to shake as the rush peaks upon full realisation.

I just hit my first home run.

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