Just Like a baseball
Three strikes and the opposing team’s batter suffered defeat at the hands of the Chicago Cubs pitcher. He returned to his team’s dugout with shame hanging over his head. Although watching baseball had become a favorite hobby my uncle and I shared, this game seemed to drag on for far too long.
I watched the screen while rubbing my hands on shag carpet from a distant era. I found myself entranced not with the game on the old, bulky TV, but instead with my uncle himself. He slouched down into his favorite seat, a brown armchair with a torn leather exterior and broken wooden reclining lever. Regardless of these flaws, my uncle loved the chair and would rest there for the majority of the day. His jet-black wheelchair and trusty metallic cane stood close by him, essential parts of his aged body.
Long before I had become an idea, my uncle Gary was more beast than man. In his youthful years, he had a passion for life and all its activities. However, baseball caught his interest the most. He would hit the ball with his trusty bat and ran around the baseball diamond all day if allowed. Unfortunately, he could no longer do that.
Gary had suffered a stroke when I still wore diapers, so I only remember glimpses of sitting in unnaturally clean hospital chairs as my uncle began the hardest battle of his life. When he left that hospital he could no longer walk with a bounce in his step or talk with a certain charm in his voice. Worst of all, his favorite possession, his baseball bat, had seemingly transformed into a cane, a physical reminder of his new hindered life, leaving his heart in shambles, and his glory days behind him.
Or so I had naively thought.
A swing, a hit, a home run! The ancient TV screen flickered as the muscular, rough-looking batter swung his wooden bat, sending the baseball flying into the air. The ball disappeared from the screen and became a minuscule blip shining in the sky.
As the crowd cheered, I turned my attention from the bulky TV to my dear uncle Gary, and I witnessed something spectacular happen. His previously sunken, glossed-over eyes had a newfound glint in them and glowed with a blue as bright as a summer sky. He sat up in his chair as if he could leap out of it and run around the house. Gary became a completely different person in that moment, almost as though he had regressed in age by decades. A younger Gary shined; he was still in there.
While others in his life had brushed him off as a man out of his glory, to me, my uncle had become like a baseball. With the bat called life constantly beating him around, he had seemingly lost his original shape, but Gary stayed Gary, no matter how hard he got hit, and no matter how far he shined into the sky.