Hey Batter, Batter (Or, Why I Hate Baseball)

In everyone’s life there are experiences that shape them. Moments of time that are frozen in your memory and are able to be recalled with perfect clarity no matter how many years have passed since they occurred. They can be flash moments like the first time you set eyes on the love of your life or they can be longer memories where you relive entire conversations from that one magical sunset.

I have many of these experiences but there is one that always sticks in my mind more than any other: Grade 8 Gym Class in the spring. I wish that I could tell you this was where I discovered a love of sports that had heretofore been unknown. Or even that this was the moment I met my best friend and we have been inseparable ever since.

Nope. Not at all.

(Let’s be honest, if you’ve read my blog before you know that what’s coming next isn’t sweet or nostalgic, but rather painfully awkward and probably a little bit humiliating.)

Dear reader, this moment, my most relived memory, was a lesson that taught me that life isn’t fair and that the bullies you know in high school don’t grow out of it but instead become adult bullies (otherwise known as the worst breed of bully).

My grade 8 gym teacher was one of those bullies.

Mr. P hated me instantly along with every other kid in his class who didn’t possess a love of sports and an effortless skill. The feeling was mutual. All of us misfits hated him with a passion and dreaded the hours we had to spend in his class. He taunted, belittled, and just genuinely made life hell for the uncoordinated.

Yet none of his behaviour could have prepared me for what happened when we played baseball.

I had actually been looking forward to the baseball unit because in the past it had meant I could hang out in the field and make daisy chains while the kids up front ran and threw to their hearts content. Also in the past it had always been the teacher who pitched the ball, throwing easy lobs to give each student a chance at bat.

But not Mr. P.

Mr. P thrived on discomfort. This is why one day I found myself at bat, facing the only boy in the class who played baseball recreationally. I didn’t mind too much, three strikes wouldn’t take that long and I had already watched the pitcher strike out almost everyone in the class with curve balls and fast balls and all the balls (I don’t really know a lot of baseball terminology). But Mr. P was a bully and he decided to do what bullies do best. Humiliate.

baseball

I solemnly vow that none of my offspring shall ever play baseball. Not my children, nor my children’s children and so on. Amen.

At the end of my three strikes I went to pass the bat to the next in line when Mr. P yelled at me to stop what I was doing. I was not going to be granted three strikes, I was meant to stand there at bat until I hit the ball. He didn’t believe I was trying hard enough and he made sure everyone knew it.

I was being singled out. The colour drained from my face and even the students who regularly bullied me looked confused. This wasn’t an appropriate action for a teacher.

I am an introvert and this became the darkest kind of torture. Not only was I the centre of attention in the worst way possible, I was also being yelled at by the teacher with each pitch I missed. The pitcher took pity and tried to throw me a few easy ones but I was so flustered I could barely swing in time, my brain going fuzzy and blank, and my arms shaking.

I can still remember it all so vividly. It took me 17 tries before I finally hit the ball. Everyone in the class was deeply uncomfortable and the pity was palpable. No one wanted to knock me out of the game after the humiliation I had endured so I made it to third base before the next batter struck out on three.

Mr. P stared at me with a smirk as the class ended. He had enjoyed this moment, revelled in feasting on my terror. I narrowed my eyes at him and didn’t break eye contact in what was one of my first and most memorable acts of defiance. It was not the reaction he had expected and I still smile when I think about how much that must have pissed him off.

Even knowing that I got the last laugh by refusing to let him break me I have never quite gotten over this humiliation and to this day I still loathe baseball.

Disclaimer: In the fifteen years since this happened I have grown to find this story hilarious in the way that all of our most unpleasant memories become a joke to be told at parties. Rose coloured glasses have added a nostalgic air to even the most dreadful of memories and I honestly believe this event shaped me in many ways.
Still, if I ever meet Mr. P again I plan on kicking him in the shins twice and calling him a poopy face before running away waving my arms like a lunatic.

The Most Humiliating of Humilations

*Disclaimer: This story is not PG 13. Well, at least, I think it’s not. Kids today are so much more “worldly” than they used to be. Or maybe it’s just that I have always been naïve? Regardless, be warned! Mature content below!

By this point in my life I am pretty sure my existence is just one embarrassing moment after another, tied together with less embarrassing moments, and the occasional awkward conversation. (Though one would think that constant humiliation would actually make it harder for me to be embarrassed, but one would be wrong.)

But every once in a while an embarrassing moment happens that just puts all others to shame. It may be a coworker trying to make a man to ask me on a date, or it may be that I have spilled lemonade on my white pants and am forced to spend the entire day looking like I couldn’t make it to the bathroom in time. Whatever the cause, there are times when even I can’t believe my (lack of) luck.

Take, for example, what happened to me today:

I was at Starbucks this morning, continuing my practice of throwing away any chance I have of retirement in exchange for an overpriced beverage. I go there so often the staff know me by name, and even have my order memorized. (This actually sucks, as I am far too polite to tell them when I actually want something different, so I am stuck getting the same smoothie every day. Perhaps one day I will work up the nerve to actually pay for something I want?) As usual, I engaged in friendly chit chat while I pulled out my wallet which would just not come out of my purse. (I am one of those jerks who will stand in line for twenty minutes, and not even open my purse until I am right at the check out. Sorry, folks, you’d think my years in retail would have made me more sensitive.) Finally, after untangling some keys and with a large amount of force, I managed to jerk my wallet out of my handbag.

Unfortunately my wallet wasn’t the only thing that came free.

In front of the eyes of two Starbucks employees, and a line-up of six people (including one coworker) out popped my “erotic dice”, going straight up in the air at eye level and landing in the middle of the counter at “blow” and “nipples”. The cashier went purple she was laughing so hard. At least two people in the line had to cover their mouths, vibrating with laughter. I stood rooted to the ground completely stunned before finally mustering up all that was left of my dignity and putting the dice back in my purse. Well, attempting to. In my hurry to throw the offending pieces back in my bag, I fumbled and managed to drop one on the ground, having it roll beneath an occupied table (this time landing at “tease”). Then, after my crawl to retrieve the die, I still had to go back up to the counter and pay.

I don’t think I have every spent more time starring at the ground, nor has my face ever been that red.

Though, in an effort to look on the bright side of life, I may finally be able to stick to my budget. You see, there is absolutely no way I am stepping into that Starbucks anytime soon. At least not without a fake mustache and a voice distorter.

Shattering Self Confidence in Three Easy Steps

Tonight my father laughed AT me instead of with me. And then laughed more when he realized I wasn’t laughing. It’s too painful for me to write a full post about, but I feel the need to publicize my humiliations.

I bring to you, dear reader (father), our evening replayed in point form. (You know, in case you want to relive the experience):

– My Dad had the nerve to debate with me about XMen, and then laughed when my anxiety took over at the possibility that he MAY actually be right. (He wasn’t … but the thought that he could be was terrifying)

– While explaining my tshirt (Teefury: Cyber3-PO and R2Dalek. Eg. AWESOME) I googled a picture of a Dalek and my Dad asked “WHY are you showing me this?” I started to explain my shirt again and he interrupted with “No. Really. Why?”

and finally:

–  When I asked my Dad if we could do Daddy-Daughter days on Thursdays he laughed so hard he started to wheeze, tears in his eyes … I still don’t know why.

Thanks, Dad.

It’s the Pocahontas incident all over again.

PS. I like Mom better.