There are obviously no try-outs in little league. I remember my Father being Head Coach of the Palos Hills Giants. I entered little league in the Minor division. I was 9 Years old. 9 and 10 year olds played in the Minors. 11 and 12 year olds played in the majors. At this age we all played on small fields. I remember the signs down the left field and right field lines reading 203 FT. Moving on, the Minors had six teams. My Father was one of the coaches. He and the other five Fathers actually had a "DRAFT". LOLOL. Drafting nine and ten year olds. That's just so funny to me, even as I type it. Obviously I was given to my Dad. All the coaches' kids were automatically on their Father's teams. I was now a Giant. I was terrified though. I remember one day after a "Coaches" meeting at my house. My Mom sensed that something was wrong. She asked, and I told her. "All these kids have been playing ball for one or two years. What if I'm no good?". "You'll be just fine Honey", she replied.
We had our first practice on a weekend. I remember stepping into the batter's box being scared as hell. The pitcher tossed, and I let rip. Now I don't believe in God, but there must be some sort of God Given Ability. I remember lacing the third pitch into the concessions,. Roughly 240 Ft. After my very first batting practice I went into the dugout to get my mitt. My Dad gave me a pat on the shoulder and said, "Now you'll understand why I didn't want you playing Tee-Ball. These other kids won't hit half as good as you because they're pussies." I remember thinking how he must have known what he was talking about. So many kids were barely hitting the ball out of the infield. When we got home, he was so proud. And I was so satisfied. He said to Mom, "This kid's a natural".
It was halfway through the season. We were the visiting team. Top of the sixth. (Only six innings at this age). I remember being down with one out and I went up to the plate with one out and men(?) on first and third. On a 3-0 count the pitcher threw a cherry. I roped it down the first base line. I remember rounding first and hearing stop. But I saw the kid on first running towards home, so I rounded second and headed to third. I was thrown out, but I had tied the game. As I started running back to the dugout, I saw my Dad. He had a look of utter shame. I just kept my head down and headed to the bench. My Father grabbed me by my hair and said, "You pay attention to your Coaches, you fucking idiot."
My teammates and I were at the concession area eating the shittiest pizza you ever tasted. But to a nine year old fat kid, it was great. We won the game by three runs, and I was really happy because I had tied the game. My Father opened the car door for me. I felt like a champ. Must have been that God given ability. When my Dad sat next to me in the Driver's seat, he stared at me. I looked at him and asked,"Is something wrong Dad?" He put his hand on the left side of my head and shoved it into the side window of the car. As I started to cry he said, "You can either be fat and slow, or stupid. If you ever do something like that again, I'll give you something to cry about."
We walked to the back door. I went in first. I took off my spikes and immediately headed to my bedroom. I heard my Mom ask, "How was the game?" My Dad replied,"Jonathon has some God given ability." I closed my door, fell onto my bed, and cried. I couldn't figure out for the life of me what I had done wrong.........
But at least I had that God Given ability.