The Last Pitch

Somewhereabouts nine years ago I was introduced to a cute, blond haired, blue eyed eleven year-old, that I'd grow to love like the baby sister I never had. She is of course my wife's youngest sister, who lives with us whilst she's going to college.

In the past nine years I've watched her grow as a person and as an athlete. Last June I wrote about how much I enjoyed watching her play softball.

With this year's softball season in full swing and things returning to semi-normalcy after the phinlet's birth I had looked forward to returning once again fields of green to watch her dominating performances from the mound. Each pitch a brilliant display of grace, speed and beauty, truly a mesmerizing sight.

This year however was cut short. A week ago I received a call from the missus, the Sister-In-Law had turned her ankle in practice. The initial diagnoses was a sprain. A doctor's appointment and x-rays were scheduled for Wednesday morning. I received a call Wednesday afternoon, the diagnoses a pretty bad break that was going to require surgery. The surgery was promptly scheduled for Thursday.

Attempts to sleep Wednesday night were in vain.

As I was driving to work Thursday morning I was overwhelmed with feeling of anger and sadness. I realized for a long time ago, and say quite often, that life isn't fair. This my friends, is a shining example.

Twelve years she's spent perfecting the motions she uses to hurl the ball across home plate at 60+ miles an hour.

Twelve years learning how to reach other pitchers enabling her to carry one of the team's highest batting averages.

Twelve years as a student of the game and its intricacies.

All stolen in the blink of an eye.

I got a call from the missus Thursday and the surgery went okay. She was home. It took a plate and two pins to repair the damage.

I keep hoping and praying that this isn't how her pitching career is going to end, but things aren't looking so hot, and I haven't woke from a nightmare yet.

Sunday was the last home game for the college. Since it's a Junior college they were honoring their graduating sophomores (similar to senior day).

When the Sister-In-Law's name was called with the use of crutches she stepped forward as they started reading off her stats for the year.

Thirty-four games pitched, twenty-five wins and nine losses.

Eight-hundred-sixty-some-odd batters faced, with one-hundred-eighty-some-odd strikeouts and an ERA of 2.3.

And a batting average a bit better than .250.

The list went on but somewhere in the mix I lost track.

The announcements ended, the flurry of pictures subsided, the parents started shuffling back to their seats and it was time to get the show on the road. The person chosen to throw out the ceremonial first pitch was none other than the Sister-In-Law and she did so with a smile on her face.

Something I couldn't do, hell, something I couldn't watch without grimacing.

She smiled as she threw out the first pitch of the game, potentially the last pitch of her collegiate career, then she stepped over to the dug-out to watch the game and to cheer her team-mates on.

From the pitchers mound she'd proven time and again why she was the most-valuable-player in many of their games and tournaments. Sunday she showed that as a champion she can grin through pain and continue to lead her team, even when she isn't on the pitcher's mound.

I've often admitted to being in awe of her prowess from the pictures mound and in the batters box.

This time, as she threw out the first pitch, I sat in silent admiration of more than her athletic ability.

Posted by phineas g. at 02:55 PM on April 11, 2006 | TrackBack

What a wonderful post, and a touching tribute! She's a strong young woman. I wish her the best.

Posted by: Theresa at April 11, 2006 03:12 PM

... wow... Just Damn!... she'll go far...

Posted by: Eric at April 12, 2006 06:31 AM

Great post.

Posted by: The Maximum Leader at April 13, 2006 07:59 AM