“From the pee-hole to the 6 hole.. My son was bred to play short!” he says walking into the dugout un-announced…
Luckily for me, the pee-hole kid pitched too!
It was my first year coaching and I’ll never forget that family. They were the first to introduce me to the “Strike Detector Reflex”
It’s a real disease transmitted from home, passed on from father/son,
a real scientific disease.
And it’s not easy for these kids.
Looking back it was crazy the hurdles the kid had to clear due to what many at the time thought was an illness, but I knew was a blessing.
Every time the poor kid stepped on the field you better believe he was….
- Getting the worst umpire!
- Being forced to pitch on the worst mounds! (The kind a mound you had to constantly tamp just to keep from hitting another on-deck hitter. )
- Playing for politicians instead of real coaches who actually knew the game of baseball.
I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen another kid as Unlucky as this kid…
- Every defender on the roster sucked.
- Not only that, he was never supported with the respect and effort he deserved.. Take the 3B who was too lazy to get his glove in front of his face and ended up getting his teeth knocked out.. Crazy thing was he was two steps in the grass.
- And what about those cheating scorekeepers?
- Talking about some home cooking… There was no way all 11 runs were earned, ask his Dad ya don’t believe me.
Personally I think they was all hating on him if you ask me.
All because he was blessed with “The Strike Detector Reflex.”
Man, it was crazy what this kid was genetically blessed with.
Later I would find out on several different occasions…
The genetically superior Dad had suffered a freak accident at the county fair the night before when the Tilt-a-Whirl operator thought it was funny to not buckle him in safely, leading to a mild concussion and prevented him from participating in the MLB tryout they were holding at the city park the next day.
Sadly, the Dad never played another inning of the game he so loved but that didn’t stop him from playing it through his son.
But this story ain’t about the Dad…
It’s about a kid blessed with a disease we all have if we’re willing to dig deep into our moral compass and turn the dial while nobody’s looking.
And once you do, it’s amazing how much better you become than everyone else but there’s also a downside. A dark downside. A side so dark that everyone turns against you and suddenly Life becomes unfair.
Meet Eddie O’doole, of the O’Doole Family.
I often attribute The Strike Detector Reflex to the Conquistador Competitor which drove his competitive spirit and willingness to achieve fairness on all playing fields even the ones he never stepped on.
If only more of us coaches weren’t so political and actually had the cajones to keep kids like this on our team, there wouldn’t be room for lawyers in this game.
But, that’s not the case. (pardon the pun)
Nowadays, some of the biggest games aren’t fought on the field, they’re played out in the court rooms.
And it’s kids like this one, that pay the price. Kids just looking for a fair shot, that’s all they want.
But most of you reading this could care less, and that’s sad.
And I know why…
It’s because you’re parents never took the time to develop your innate Strike Detector Reflex…
So, why take it out on the kids and parents who have?
You think that’s fair? As you’ll learn from Eddie Dale O’doole, Life isn’t fair, but it’s gonna be!
For those of you that will someday coach this game as long as I have, you can only hope one of the “lucky ones” falls into your lap, but maybe you already have. Maybe it was in your first year. Or maybe you’ve never coached and you know several Eddie Dale’s. I don’t know. Just sounded good.
Guys like Eddie Dale… Some call Pitchers, I call warriors, each have a sense of the strike zone so strong..
Their body unconsciously takes over to do what the idiot behind the plate couldn’t.
Honestly, between me and you…
Is there a better feeling than showing up an umpire? I can’t think of one.
I only wish…
- My Neck could extend forward as my mandible drops..
- Relax so deeply that my shoulders slump into oblivion…
- And if only I had the dexterity to turn my palms up in the air as quickly as this could, I’d taken home the “Hand Slapping” belt worn by the 19 year old sophomore savant, Thomas Floyd.
But you can wish with one hand and palm with the other, it’s not happening.
However, for those kids like Eddie, who’ve developed the Strike Zone Detector Reflex from years of watching your parents practice it at home… Why are they being treated so unfairly?
Because their parents are leaders?
Just ordinary citizens hell-bent on leveling out the playing field… proudly strutting their “Strike Detector Reflex” at home, in the office and on the field.
Before you know it, what once was a physical gift evolves into one that’s telepathic.
That’s why Eddie had the ability to…
- Burrow his eyes into the stands like an ant-eater digging for honey bees…
- Scan the grounds like Arnold in the Terminator searching for his Dad as he yelled out to umpire like Sarah Conner..”I’ll be back!”
- But let’s face it… There’s nothing that super glues the Father/Son stronger than a father/son combo yelling at the umpire together in harmony, shaking your head and finally proving to everyone who the real idiots is.
I remember trying this once but it didn’t work and the only telepathic message I got from Dad was….
“Wait til I get your A** home boy!”
It’s crazy how in-tune Eddie was with his body….
- It’s like he had a 6th sense.
- He know every time exactly when the bats were about to get hot.
- He let you know with his eagle eye stare at the coaches that you probably need to get another pitcher hot.
Guys like Eddie can sense it. I don’t know how, but they can.
Luckily for me, his coaches and teammates, Eddie would sound off the alarm by churning his shoulder in Wind-Mill like fashion.. and we knew things were about to heat up.
Jut imagine having the power to know danger is coming, to be so aware of your body that it becomes physically painful.
Cause that’s what happened on several occasions with Eddie.
Truth be told….
The wind-mill only churns when there is intense pain… But somehow they fight through it to keep it going, churn after churn, as they stare you in the eyes from mound to dugout.
It just goes to show the mental fortitude kids like Eddie have, brave enough to fight through the sound of a snapping elbow heard on the previous pitch ricocheted off the foul pole on the next field over…
Honestly, by the time you reach Wind-Mill status the arm has nothing left to give and it’s the heart that takes over.
I can still remember the conversation I had with my wind-mill churner. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.
During that fateful mound visit my young hero stood there looking up at the scoreboard down 11-0 in the top half of the first with a gleam in his eye that reminded me of Mel Gibson in Braveheart.
I can vividly remember the passion felt on the mound that day, there was an energy in the air I can’t explain.
To think this kid was suffering from arm pain so intense that wouldn’t wish on on the Friday night guy in the NCAA tournament during an elimination game….
Yet, he still had the heart and compassion to care about the other players, on the other team.
Because the level of sportsmanship this kid displayed that day put Kenny Powers to shame…
I can still hear him….
He even had the guts to let the umpire hear him.. This young man had been taught by his parents that when you’re unhappy about something, you let everyone know. And now was his time to shine.
In fact this selfless young man took the platform and was willing to share it with those less fortunate than him.
What happens next would put Lou Gehrig’s speech to shame, as the young man proclaimed…
“How’s it fair that all the kids with the mustaches get to hit but the kid wearing the Eastland shoes and wearing the Polo collared undershirt hasn’t hit yet…
Why not, huh?
Tell me that! Why not?”
“How’s that fair?”
“You f’in cheater!”
It was at that point I knew this 12 year old kid had the makings of a young Liberal and the courage to make sure that every damn kid in our country would never leave the field again, without a trophy.
Because he had been one of the lucky ones, trained to think of ways that Life isn’t fair and was bold enough to let it be known. It’s why they put ‘super’ in front of hero’s when talking about kids like this.
But sadly, the umpire wasn’t having none of it when he had the gall to say….
“It’s only the first inning son, there’s still plenty of time for him to hit and I’m sure the coach will make sure he gets his shot.”
But what really stands out is the courage this family displayed as they left the field for the last time…
- I can see the Dad now as he left the field proudly holding up the #1 sign to our dugout using both middle fingers…
- And the visual of the young Mel Gibson ripping off his shirt in celebration of the 4th of July celebration going on later that night.
I can only wish that more parents would have the heart to act like this.
Brave enough to teach their son’s that Life isn’t fair but it should be.
And possess mentality required to ensure every kid gets a trophy, a fair shot, equal playing time… especially their son.
So let it be known to all you coaches that if you’re gonna play favorites and politics… You’re going to have to do it in the courtroom, the baseball field isn’t the place.
Cause just in case you didn’t know kids like this are not born this way, they’re made. Made at home and led by example.
I often sit back and think on this fateful day and every time I do, I can’t help from hearing his Dad walking into the dugout the first inning of the first game, when young Eddie didn’t get the start..
“From the pee-hole to the 6-hole, my son was bred to play short… (and pitch!)”
END OF STORY
If you’re anything like this idiot in the story, please don’t show up to my program on September 2-4th.
Cause in my program’s, you work you hind-end off, you take hours of notes and at the end of the program I may look you in the face if you ask, and tell you that you need to pick another sport.
At the end of the day, kids are a direct reflection of their parents!
Trust what you FEEL!