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The Good Years: 12

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Good Years: 12

I talked about picking the Yankees as my favorite baseball team (in which I good-naturedly accused a current friend of bandwagoning," and who in response upon reading his name in print threw such a hissy fit and crawled so far up my ass, I have since removed offended perpetrator's name.  Where I am from, accusations of "bandwagoning" are about as harsh as a mama joke, but apparently south of Oaktown, them is fighting words.  And I ain't a fighter.  I'm a...[washing sick taste from my mouth]...a writer).  And I talked about blackboard duty with Muriel.  That about covered my first decidedly good year, my 8th.

On to 12.  I've already discussed my first date/probably-not-a-date at the Berlin Fair with Tracy (in the post titled "Berlin Fair"), which took place in my 12th year. Things were looking up after three disappointing follow-ups to that first successful campaign.  9 was spent, much like later 37 would be, nursing a broken body back to health, 10 and 11 lost in the mire of nothing much doing.  I did play baseball once the body cast came off (BTW, for those who doubt I was a "fat kid," when I had that body cast, they had to cut a hole out for my fat ass gut.  True story), to occasionally spectacular results, one game in particular coming in for relief and striking out the side.  My first stint as a pitcher.  It was an auspicious debut.  I thought I was on to bigger and better things.  But much like my writing career (which began with a tour of CT, an award with the CT Review, and girls girl asking for my autograph), I petered out.

That was Intermediate League baseball, a stepping stone to Little League, sugarcoated by parents in town as an alternative to the fast-pace and pressure of the big time.  Which of course, like so many lies they tell you, was bullshit. Intermediate Baseball was for fucktards with no athletic ability who could barely hold a bat upright (hence my masterful three K performance).  It was where they sent the Timmy Lupuses, the "booger-eating spazes" of town, sticking them in the pasture to smell their fingers and eat dandelions.

I was very good in Intermediate, clearly the the best in the league, which is sort of like being the tallest midget, and we could've learned a lesson here, one that would've served me well in my later life, answering the age-old question of whether it is better to be big fish in small pond or to test your mettle and see what you got with the big boys.  No doubt history boasts several who chose the latter and saw it work for them, the guys and gals who board that Kansas Greyhound and set out for the Hollywood Hills and become stars.  Far more, however, board that bus and find themselves sucking the proverbial dick out by the trucker motel.

So I tried out for Little League at 11 and made it.  The Red Sox.  Such was my love of the real Yankees that I cried upon hearing the news and threatened not to report.

My Little League career lasted two seasons, and I was one of the better kids on the team, but the team sucked, and I didn't make the All-Star Team.  My buddy Dan likes to joke how when I got to San Francisco and would get drunk, I'd start bitching about where it all went wrong, citing my failure to make the All-Star team.  And it was a defining moment in my...

Wait.  This post was supposed to be about why 12 was a good year.

Come to think of it, 12 sorta sucked in terms of stuff happening to me.  I did have that date at the Berlin Fair, but my parents fought non-stop, I found out I'd never achieve my dream (playing for the New York Yankees), and I was chubby.  And Tracy Bartlett spent my $40.  But goddammit, 12 was a good year.  I remember feeling...happy.  There was a possibility present in my life.  I really did believe I could be anything I wanted to be.  And I had my mother, who was as good a mother as there ever was.  For every time my father called me "stupid," she was there to tell me I was something special, encouraging my art, throwing me surprise birthday parties, and doing whatever she could to shield me from my father's violence.

And I was 12.  12 is a pretty cool fucking time.  School isn't that hard.  At least not for me because I didn't do any homework or study.  And I read a lot at 12...

Hell, maybe it was just that fucking date at the Berlin Fair, or the years of abusing drugs have truly fucked up my memory, but goddammit I remember 12 as a good year!  That's my story.  And I'm sticking to it.

7 Comments:

At February 22, 2011 at 10:59 AM , Blogger Web said...

The all-star team and Amy Kroise (SP?) Joe. Don't forget Amy. I think the bitching went about 50/50. But it was okay, I was just impressed you met Syd Barrett ...

 
At February 22, 2011 at 10:59 AM , Blogger Web said...

P.S. The last post was Dan. Apparently, I am the "Web."

 
At February 22, 2011 at 5:48 PM , Blogger DSobczak said...

Trust me you didn't want to play for the Little League Yankees at that time. The coach was a real asshole. I should know I was on the team.

 
At February 22, 2011 at 6:06 PM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

@Web/Dan: Krois. Amy Krois...

@Duane: Gentile, right? He was a dick.

 
At February 22, 2011 at 6:35 PM , Blogger DSobczak said...

The Gentile's were on the team and I think their Dad may have helped out, but I was not talking about him. Petit was the coach. I heard they actually named one of the fields after him.

To give you an idea of how strongly I feel about him being a gigantic asshole. Naming a field after him is akin to naming a Synagouge after Adolph Hitler.

 
At February 22, 2011 at 6:41 PM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

Oh, yeah. Him. Yeah, he was an asshole. It's amazing how awful most of them were. Our coach, Mr. Dubac, was a really nice fucking guy. Probably not the sharpest baseball coach, but a nice fucking guy, who only asked you to try hard and do your best. Of course we sucked. The teams that were asshole coached seemed to win more. Sad, really. I've heard horror stories about Petit.

 
At February 26, 2011 at 4:28 PM , Blogger JCase said...

My Little League career mirrored yours. I was on the orioles, and I'm pretty sure that no little league coaches know what the fuck they were doing. At least Mr.Giana was a coach, he was cool.

 

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