The Old Ballgame - Carson Pytell

The Old Ballgame - Carson Pytell

There are these days when the sky is dark but all else underneath seems, looks just as bright as if immediately after a late spring sunshower or right before a hurricane. I woke up late today, though, and don't know which this is. Only last year a tornado touched down on Old Best Road and it was the first to hit our county in over a decade. The world has already changed and I'm not so sure what to do.

My father is the youngest of three by five years, my mother the second oldest of eight. In a beautiful Victorian house with commensurately ugly values my old man was brought up, and in a small home the siding of which was always well kept my mother spent her youth with a mother who worked and a father who once tried. She went to charm school and he earned an athletic scholarship to a D-1 university even further upstate. 

My parents did not meet each other until they were in their middle thirties and had all opportunity not to have had to. Dad was scouted by the Pirates in the early seventies, when they were good, and at about the same time Mom was spotted by some weirdo from the city who mentioned Warhol, which would have killed her regardless of her still being a minor.

Now, both occasionally express regret in not seizing their opportunities to be happy by themselves and, worse, claim contentment in defense of my expressing a forecast only of disappointment for myself whenever I get enough a hold of things to say so. The only responsibility any parent has is to try and make their kids better than them. The only responsibility any person has is not to have children if not prepared to learn slowly every little thing wrong with them.

I learned as much less than a day ago after a Babe Ruth game under the lights. We won, we're good this year, but I let up my first dinger and when I went to give the kid a fist-bump while rounding third I saw my father out of his lawn chair with his fists rearranging the mesh, rabid for me not to. I didn't. I wish I had. When I got back to the mound I saw my mother in the concession stand behind the plate, clapping because I think she thought I was gonna punch the guy. 

Next, I gave up a double then closed the inning and pitched the rest of the game without any other earned run. At one point when we were comfortably ahead, I even walloped one of my own that was hit too well to allow me to trot. All it did was keep a low line and make a crack in the leftfield wall once it hit. 

I tripped over my own feet rounding first and we all had a great laugh since we were having fun winning, but I worked back slow and safe. The other team tried even harder after that, which made them worse, and the rule was that if you're down by ten runs going into the fifth, you had to forfeit. They didn't want to and we didn't want them to. It would have been more fun, much more for me because the ride home, fifteen minutes, was longer than any game I've ever played.

This is true. I know so because I just kicked out of the dream of it. It is almost twenty years later, but don't dare ask exactly how many. Not today. It's only the third in longer than triple the years I've been off any antidepressant and common side-effects of discontinuation syndrome are lucid dreams and sleep paralysis.


Written by Carson Pytell

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