BC: Baseball is dangerous. You have to watch out for swinging bats and wild pitches, but today, at least, it wasn’t sending me to the hospital.
FC: Learning About Baseball
1: By Chuck H.
3: Baseball can be fun, but it can also be dangerous. I was in fourth grade the day that I found this out. We were coming out to the playground for lunch hour recess. Everyone had their baseball gloves and bats, and some of us were swinging bats and throwing balls. The April sun had been drying up the muddy spots on our field, and the new grass was green. You guys get Ricky Davis and the Mohl twins, and I get Hatt and Larry Smith,” said my friend Tony Haas. “Chuck, you play catcher and start warming up.” "Great!” I thought, “I’m on Tony’s team. We’ll kick their butts!” I knelt down behind Chris Percilious while he stood at the plate practicing his swing. Suddenly a wild throw from the outfield came zooming in to the plate. The ball was a little high, and I stood up and reached forward to get it.
4: At the same time, Chris brought his bat around with all of his might and tried to clobber it. His bat smashed into my forehead instead. The next thing I remember is waking up on the ground. I pulled myself up out of the dirt, trying to figure out what had just happened. There was something that seemed to be sticking out of my head, something I could see on my right side. Oh my gosh, I realized, that’s not something sticking out of my head, it is my head! A goose egg was already growing large enough so that it was blocking my vision, and my glasses lay shattered on the ground. “Chuck, are you all right?” my friends chorused. Then they saw the purple lump on top of my face and they all got kind of pale and quiet. “We have to get you into the office.”
7: We walked in through the glass doors and down the tiled floor. My friends were speaking all at once trying to get Mrs. Aiken, the school secretary’s attention. “Quiet down, you kids. What’s all the excitement about? Oh my goodness, what happened to Chuck?” “He got hit with a baseball bat, and his glasses are broken. Look at his face!” “You guys go back out on the playground and make sure that Mrs. Elkins knows what happened and that Chuck won’t be coming back to class.” Mrs. Aiken helped me into the nurse’s office and told me to lie down on the cot. “You sit here, Mr. Hatt, while I call your parents.” “My folks are out of town today, and I’m staying with Mrs. Crawford.” My parents were at a convention for my dad’s work, and I was staying with a babysitter who was my mother’s friend. “Is her name on the card?” “No, but I have her number here on a note in my pocket.” I reached for it and suddenly felt very dizzy. At that moment my lunch had decided that it could no longer stay in my stomach, and I threw up all over the shiny office floor. “The basket, throw up in the trash basket,” Mrs. Aiken said, but it was too late. The floor was already covered with a bright red and lumpy liquid. The secretary led me to the cot and had me lie down. As she turned off the light and walked over to her desk, I could hear her calling my babysitter to pick me up and calling the custodian to clean up my mess.
8: The next hour or so was a blur. I woke up in and out of my nap a couple of times, and then I remember getting in and out of the car and sitting in the doctor’s office. Dr. Everheart held up fingers and asked me to follow them as he shined a flashlight into my eyes. He kept asking me what day it was and what year it was and what was the name of my teacher. “Well, he’s obviously had a concussion but his eyes are responding well. I am concerned about the fact that he threw up and that the vomit was red. If he threw up blood, I’m afraid we will have to take him to the hospital.”
10: “What did you have to eat for lunch today?” Mrs. Crawford asked. I thought hard and remembered. “I had a bologna sandwich and a bag of chips,” I said. “Well, there’s nothing red in that,” said Dr. Everheart. “Are you sure that’s all?” I remembered back to breakfast. Eggs and toast with bacon. Nothing red there either. I was getting worried, too. “What if I am bleeding inside?” I thought. “What if I have to go to the hospital and something is really wrong with me?” I imagined myself lying in a casket, with my eyes closed and organ music playing. People were leaning over me saying things like, “He was usually a good boy most of the time; it’s a shame he had to go so early.” Tony was lamenting, “It’s all my fault. I should have let Hatt play third base. He was actually an excellent fielder.” “Juice!” I said, “Red juice. I had High C cherry juice to drink with my lunch. That’s why my throw-up was red. I’m not bleeding on the inside. I had red juice to drink.” “Why didn’t you tell us that before, son?” said Dr. Everheart. “You could have saved us all a lot of worry.” “You didn’t ask me what I had to drink, you asked me what I had to eat.” Everyone laughed. They were as relieved as I was.