Prompt for Week #50 (Aug 8, 2020 – Aug 14, 2020): Gratitude
First off, I’m grateful that my internet issues this morning were indeed just a blip and are now resolved. 🙂 And now for my mini-tale response:
“Grateful? Sure I am. But still…”
This was inspired by a wise friend who told me years ago that when you’re making an apology or discussing something, as soon as you say the word “But,” you’re going in the opposite direction.
Just think how many long-winded arguments start out with…
“I do agree with you, but…”
I sat down awhile ago to begin, a short story, thinking I’d like to do one of these three-short-paragraph ones, and I was going to pick a quote as my inspiration. But my plans went awry and I ended up with a long, maybe soppy, tale.
Here’s the quote I chose:
“What is defeat? Nothing but education, nothing but the first step to something better.” — Wendell Philips
And here’s the tale I wrote to illustrate it:
THE LOSER WINS
“Hey, girl. Why are you looking so sad? Lost your best friend.”
Finch looked up at the teen leaning on the door frame. One of the Senior boys. She swiped at a tear. “What do you care,” she grumbled.
“No, really, you look shattered. What’s bothering you.”
She glared at him, but could see he honestly wanted to know, so she spilled her sad story. “We played baseball at recess. I hate baseball! I’m not good at it and the others all know it, so when it came time to pick teams, I was picked last. In fact, I wasn’t really picked; I just ended up on Jenia’s team because I was the only one left. She rolled her eyes like ‘Do I have to.’ Then she says, ‘Okay, come on then,’ like I was such a zero. I was, like, totally humiliated.”
“Hey, that’s tough. Some people don’t do tact. They care zip about anyone else’s feelings.”
“That’s her. Miss Always-the-Leader. Then when we played, I was so nervous I couldn’t hit anything, and the others on the team grumbled straight time about me being so slow. The teacher told them to ‘be nice,’ but they just did it when she wasn’t looking. I don’t ever wanna go back to school again.”
“I know where you’re coming from. I got the same thing when I was a twig.”
“You! But you’re a natural at baseball. I’ve seen you play and you make great hits and catches.”
“Now, yeah, but I remember singing the same song as you. Back when I was in grade school, I was the last one picked. Couldn’t run, couldn’t hit. But I really wanted to play so I joined a team playing sandlot baseball. It was misery. I was slow; I fumbled; if I hit the ball it was luck.”
Finch stared at him. “I don’t believe it. What happened!”
“I was ready to quit after the second game, but one of the dads, Bill, was acting as umpire, and he saw I was in the dumps. So after the game he came over and gave me a hug. Then he rattled off this bit of wisdom. I’ve typed it up and pasted it on my wall.”
‘What is defeat? Nothing but education, nothing but the first step to something better’.
“I got a life-lesson that day, thanks to Bill, who cared enough to help me out. He told me I wasn’t going to just drop into a game and be a star. He said, ‘If you wanna get good at baseball – or anything else in life – you gotta work at it.’ He got me and a couple of other boys to meet him a couple evenings a week at the ball park and we’d practice. He brought his young boys and met us there for a few weeks, explained the game, the moves, and worked with us. After that we went back on the team and all three of us are good players now.”
“Wow! You were lucky. Not all dads are like that.”
“I didn’t have a dad – and I needed one badly. I think he caught that. Same with the others. He did what he could to set us, and his own boys, on a better path.” He fell silent and his smile told Finch he was remembering those good times.
“And maybe you got an education today, if you take it that way.”
“Huh! So what have I learned? I’m a loser? Nobody wants me on their team?”
“You found out you can’t just jump in and be awesome. You can’t be a fast runner if you don’t regularly run. You can’t be a great hitter if you don’t regularly work at it. Have you got a friend or kid brother or sister that’ll play ball with you sometimes so you can get some practice pitching and hitting?”
“And take up running. Work at it when you have some free time and you’ll get faster. I promise you. What that dad told me back then has held true for everything I’ve tried so far. Playing ball. Good grades. Making friends. Staying out of trouble. Life isn’t going to hand it to you; you gotta work for it.”
“Yeah, I suppose.”
“So don’t let today get you down. Call it an education. Do something with what you’ve learned.” He reached down to give her a hand up.
A fresh wave of courage washed over Finch. She was ready to begin again. She reached up and took his hand. “I’ll try.” She let him pull her to her feet. “Thanks a lot…for what you said…and for caring.”
“Sure. See you around.” With a quick wave he headed off.
If Finch hadn’t seen him on the senior boys’ team, she could almost have believed he was an angel.
Good morning everyone! The sun is shining bright, the temp was -20 C first thing this morning and it did indeed feel cold! However, it’s expected to rise to -6 C by this afternoon, which means spring-like snow-melting in the sunshine. 🙂
Not a word I’m very acquainted with, though I have heard of freestyle skating. According to Merriam Webster, FREESTYLE is used in connection with some sports competition where more than usual liberty of movement is allowed at such events.
When I Google “freestyle verse” I see that this indicates some types of music (rap?) and I wonder if “freestyle verse” isn’t also used to describe the flowing, un-rhymed type of poetry so common now?
Oxford English Dictionary claims it can be used as a verb, too, meaning: To dance, perform, or compete in an improvised or unrestricted fashion.
My Word of the day, which I’ve just posted over at Word Buds, is VICARIOUS. I can say that I derive a vicarious thrill out of watching young and energetic sorts participating in active sports, but I am happy to cheer from the sidelines. Today I shall expend my energy sitting at the sewing machine, piecing together a blanket top. I’ll see how fast and how well I can do it — with no freestyle inserting of odd patches here and there. 🙂
I haven’t mentioned anything about our provincial tragedy yet, but thought I’d post something today and offer my sympathies to the families and community of Humboldt, SK.
Funerals have been ongoing this week — one is starting as I post this — for the ten Humboldt Broncos hockey team players, their coach, assistant coach, statistician, team therapist, a broadcaster and the bus driver who died as a result of a major road accident. If I have it right, ten other team members are still in hospital, two in critical condition.
Last week Friday the team was on its way to a game in Nipawin, SK. The bus was passing through an intersection when a loaded semi approaching from the side ran the stop sign and crashed into the front of their bus. The photos of the accident scene showed the bus on its side with its whole front end totally destroyed.
This morning we watched to a replay of the vigil held Sunday afternoon in Humboldt, where the Teams chaplain delivered an evangelical message. He spoke about the need to connect with God and walk with Him through this dark valley of death. The Pastor wasn’t glib or full of soothing words. He asked, “Where Wwas God? and where is God now?”
The Pastor had been driving his own kids to watch the hockey game and he arrived at the accident scene a few moments after the crash. He went along to the hospital, seeing first hand the suffering of the dying, the survivors. One sad part that came out in the news was that the injured were so battered, the father of one team member, an ER doctor, couldn’t identify his own son.
When news of the accident hit the media, President Donald Trump sent a message of condolence to Prime Minister Trudeau and the families involved. Anti-Trump media may perhaps find some fault, but we Canadians appreciate the kind gesture. That a US President, with all he has on his plate, would take note of an accident here in western Canada and send a note of sympathy, shows a compassionate side to the man.
The recording camera caught a few shots of Justin Trudeau, sitting in the crowd gathered in the Humboldt arena for the service. A number of prominent Canadians attended this service to pay their respects and show support. Team members who’ve died were between 16 and 21, the youth of the community. This is a major blow, with so many homes suffering a direct loss and ten more where health issues will be ongoing. We feel with them in their loss.