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High Pop Foul






Foul Ball ,

Fred Smilde, 1934



It was a June evening in 1963

I had just received my year-end grades

They were better than good.


My coach was full of congratulations

as he drove me and my teammates

to our evening baseball match.


My academic results

may be why I, a lousy fielder,

was put in the infield for the first-time ever.


Our pitcher was Gaetan Smith

an impressive athlete

who was negotiating a perfect game into the final inning.


Life is full of surprises

it can offer up its victories

hopefully many more than not.


But reversals, defeats and losses

are also part of Her agenda

and so it was on that June evening.


There was a high pop foul

over third base

I lost it in the lights.


The next pitch was a homer:

Gaetan would not go down in Valois history

as its first little leaguer to pitch a perfect game.


I sometimes wonder

whether Gaetan has forgiven me

and hope to hell he has.


I also ask myself

whether this episode

changed our trajectories.


There are moments in life

that keep you here or take you there

giving direction in the most unexpected ways


I have feelings of guilt about this June 1963 evening

that periodically return to challenge me

why couldn’t I catch this foul ball?


Was it about technical prowess?

was it because I lacked confidence?

and how, if at all, did it change my life?


And Gaeten’s: maybe my error at third base

was responsible for putting in place a process

a downside from which he could never recover


Perhaps it was a useful lesson in adversity

giving him a new strength

that helped him move on to higher ground 


I hope you are at peace, Gaetan

Foul Ball.png


           Losing My Grippe



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