Tryouts for the inaugural Swift Jr High Baseball team were held after school in the gymnasium due to snow cover outside. We would have about a 30-second shot to impress, and you either made the most of it, or you didn't. As soon as I saw what the coach was doing, I thought I had a good chance.
He was standing in one corner of the gym hitting fungoes to us at the opposite corner, and he'd watch us field and throw back to him, about 5 or so each person. That's it, so it was obviously important to not mess up. I knew what to do, and it was something the other kids weren't doing, namely, charging the ball. I had been taught right, by the older kids the first days, play the ball, don't let it play you. Your chances of an error diminish when you charge a grounder, rather than stay on your heels and let it come to you. Act, not react.
I charged each ball like a madman, fielding each one almost at mid-court flawlessly without fear of a bad hop on the smooth floor, stayed in front of the ball rather than backhanding it, turned and threw in one motion, and ran back to the corner for the next one. I made the team.
And that was almost the only highlight of the season for me. For some reason I decided to go out for SS, even though I was the smallest kid on the team and never had anything more than an atrocious throwing arm; I mean me at SS on a big-league field is such a mis-cast the only reason I can think of is that the ongoing Kubek-Tresh discussion started a year earlier in this schoolyard, and I just had that position on my mind. Here's the old thread...
Anyhow, I got one AB all year, in the last we-blew-em -out game, and I saw only one pitch, just like my LL tryout, and hit it into short center, where the CF went for a shoestring catch, came up short, and I can still see the strange sight as I'm rounding 1B heading for 2B running in the same direction he is almost as no one backed him up, and I can hear my coach laughing at the same time. I wound up on 3rd. My friends were yelling, "Triple! Triple!" Not me. Single, 2-base error. I don't know what the coach scored it; it doesn't matter. I now and forever have the highest lifetime BA in the history of Swift Jr High School.