Sometimes You’re the Windshield, Sometimes You’re the Bug
First, a little “housecleaning.” As of this writing, DC fans are still nervous, as the Flyers managed to stay alive in their first round NHL playoff series against the Caps (see last week’s blog). Tha Nats are off to a nice 11-3 start, feasting on Atlanta, Miami, and Philly. And our own little dynasty, the SU baseball team, keeps rolling and remains the number 11 D-3 team in the country.
Now, to this weeks topic. This time of year always takes me back to my high school baseball days at Martinsburg HS. Specifically, my senior year in the Spring of 1977. Our team had such players as Fulton Walker (who would go on to play in the NFL) and Keith Brooks (who would spend time in the SF Giants farm system), but we were about a .500 team, at best.
My senior year had it’s brief moments of glory, but my season was hampered a bit by trying to serve two masters. Like a lot of upperclassmen, I had my own car, but my parents required me to make the payments. Thus, I could not abandon my job at a local sporting goods store, Coaches Supply (by the way, the greatest job a 17-year old sports nut could have). There would have been no way to play baseball and work, had it not been for an agreement between my boss and my coach that I could keep my job and remain on the team as a relief pitcher.
With the backstory out of the way, fast-forward to the Sectional semi-finals, where I was called on for the save in a Bulldog win over Keyser. For good measure, I also added a single at the plate on a “red-letter” day. My boss even hung the newspaper article on the front window of Coaches Supply for all to see.
With my heroics now cemented in the record books for all-time, I could relax in the finals against powerhouse Jefferson. The Cougars were loaded, and led by Panhandle coaching legend John Lowery. But surely our ace, Hans Herzog, would shut Jefferson down. Wrong. Down 12-3, I got the call for mop-up duty. Needing just one out, I proceeded to throw batting practice to the mighty Cougars, who scored a mind-blowing 10 runs before I could get one lousy out. The bench-jockeying from Jefferson was brutal, and I was even begging my coach at one point to take me out. There was no hole big enough to crawl into, as my high-school baseball career ended with a thud.
The epilogue to this tale is that a few years later, I ran into my assistant baseball coach Vic Holmes at a party. The first thing he said to me was “Randy, we’re still waiting for you to get someone out at Jefferson.”
Sometimes you’re the windshield…sometimes you’re the bug.
Until next week, that’s it from the Booth! GO HORNETS!